Jewish Education and Its Outcomes: Knowledge and Interests among Jewish Summer Camp Participants in the Former Soviet Union

By Epstein, Alek D. | Sociological Papers, January 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Jewish Education and Its Outcomes: Knowledge and Interests among Jewish Summer Camp Participants in the Former Soviet Union


Epstein, Alek D., Sociological Papers


Abstract

The current research is based on two surveys conducted in 2011 and 2012 at nine youth camps organized for high school students' education and recreation by the Jewish Agency for Israel in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova. Among the campers who responded to our survey, over two-thirds have attended Jewish schools or clubs. However, the study has shown that most respondents had a very limited knowledge of general Jewish and especially Israeli history: only under a quarter (24.7%) came up with three post-biblical names of historical Jewish figures. Recalling three meaningful names in the history of the State of Israel proved to be even more challenging: nearly half of respondents could not recall a single name (47.6%) and only 22.8% stated three relevant names. Respondents also manifested poor familiarity with the history of Russian Jewry over the last two centuries, i.e. their own cultural heritage that apparently is not transferred from parents to children in their (usually ethnically-mixed) families.

Introduction

Experts and community leaders are often concerned about the future of post-Soviet Jewry - a national minority that is constantly diminishing due to emigration and demographic decline - advanced age composition and low birth rates (see, for example, Konstantinov, 2007). Every new census points to the shrinking numbers of the Jews living in post-Soviet states: according to the last Russian census of 2010, Jews merely occupy the 33rd place among the ethnic groups. While the 2002 census reported on nearly 230.000 Jews, in 2010 their number barely reached 157.000 (data retrieved from official websites of Russian government). In Ukraine, the latest census took place in 2001, showing that Jews held the 10th place among the ethnic groups (103.000 people), which means that the Jewish population decreased five times since the last Soviet census in 1989 (Ukrainian statistical office website). Obviously, the next census scheduled for 2013 will reflect the progressive downturn of the Ukrainian Jewish population. In Belarus, the latest census dates back to 2009, and about 13.ooo people there identified as Jews (although it was enough to rank the Jews as the 5th ethnic group behind Belarusians, Russians, Poles and Ukrainians). Thus, in all three of the post-Soviet Slavic states Jews turn out to be small and shrinking minorities, and their social and cultural survival as a distinct ethnic group is getting more and more difficult.

This is why Jewish education plays such a central role in Jewish survival, being the key both to overcoming the consequences of cultural assimilation during the Soviet era and to keeping the spark of Jewish community life today. The decline in the Jewish emigration to Israel, North America and Germany in the recent years has boosted the importance of the Jewish education in the post-Soviet countries, alongside with other community activities.

The current research is based on two surveys. The first one was conducted at five youth camps organized by the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) with support of American Jewish federations in the summer of 2011 in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova; the other one was carried out at four Jewish youth camps in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine in July 2012. I have visited seven out of nine camps included in the research - those in Minsk (2011 and 2012), in the village of Slavskoye in the Lvov region (2011 and 2012), in Kishinev (2011), in Saint-Petersburg (2012), and in Samara (2012). All the questionnaires in Kishinev, Lvov/Slavskoe and Minsk in 2011, as well as the questionnaires from all the four camps visited in 2012, were filled out in my presence. Questionnaires from Kiev and Khabarovsk were administered with the help of the Jewish Agency's representatives. The thorough study of the results from these camps proved that students answered the questions frankly, without any external pressure. A structured questionnaire for the participants was composed in 2004 under the direction of Dr. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Jewish Education and Its Outcomes: Knowledge and Interests among Jewish Summer Camp Participants in the Former Soviet Union
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.