Sign up for our email newsletter, featuring exclusive original content


Weekly Roundup - 5/30/22

This week: The centerpiece of the Soviet Issue, a section devoted to reconsidering the Soviet Jewry Movement, is now online, featuring an introductory essay by Tova Benjamin and contributions from Anna Shternshis, Hadas Binyamini, Lawrence Bush, Emily Tamkin, Olesya Shayduk-Immerman, and Jonathan Dekel-Chen. Also from the Soviet Issue: an excerpt from Eugene Ostashevsky’s sonnet cycle about the siege of Leningrad, introduced by Claire Schwartz.

Plus, in the latest episode of our staff podcast, On the Nose, Dylan Saba speaks with Dana El Kurd and Fadi Quran about the implications of Israel’s killing of the Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. And from the newsletter, Isaac Scher reports on the lack of any independent investigation into Abu Akleh’s death, and David Klion interviews Tova Benjamin about the origins of the Soviet Jewry Movement section.

Introduction: The Soviet Jewry Movement, Revisited
At its root, the struggle over the fate of Soviet Jews was a struggle over where in the world Jews belonged.
Tova Benjamin
The Ambivalent Émigrés
Antisemitism was a fact of life for Soviet Jews, but it did not top their list of reasons to leave.
Anna Shternshis
Henry “Scoop” Jackson and the Jewish Cold Warriors
An alliance between Jewish activists and congressional neocons made Soviet Jewry a key issue in superpower relations—and reshaped American Jewish politics in the process.
Hadas Binyamini
How Jewish Currents Covered the Soviet Jewry Movement
Even once the magazine accepted the evidence of Soviet antisemitism, it continued to distrust the politics of the mainstream campaign.
Lawrence Bush
The Other Soviet Jewish Dissidents
A circle of activists known as pravozashchitniki, who advanced a universalist argument for Soviet human rights, have been largely erased from Jewish communal memory.
Emily Tamkin
The Hidden Joys of Soviet Jews
In compiling an oral history of Soviet Jewish experience, asking different questions yields surprising answers.
Olesya Shayduk-Immerman
The Best Place in the World for Soviet Jews
The Soviet Jewry Movement exposed a rift between Israel and the US that persists to this day.
Jonathan Dekel-Chen
Die Schreibblockade: Selections
“I have returned to the city of my dead. / It is the living who live there. I do not know them.”
Eugene Ostashevsky
The Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh

Jewish Currents fellow Dylan Saba speaks with political scientist Dana El Kurd and activist Fadi Quran about Israeli media strategy, shifting public opinion outside the region, and the discursive and strategic challenges faced by the Palestine solidarity movement.

“Israel Knows It Will Have Impunity”
Two weeks after Shireen Abu Akleh was killed—by Israeli soldiers, according to eyewitnesses—no independent body is investigating her death.
Isaac Scher
What the Popular History of the Soviet Jewry Movement Leaves Out

An interview with Tova Benjamin, the curator of the Jewish Currents Soviet Issue’s centerpiece section.

David Klion