chapter  3
The Jews: A Diaspora Within a Diaspora
ByZvi Gitelman
Pages 20

In the last half of the twentieth century, the Jewish diaspora has been shrinking and the Jewish population of the homeland growing. This chapter explores the emergence of what may be a new diaspora of ex-Soviet Jews within the larger Jewish diaspora. It suggests some implications of the existence of this new sub-diaspora for the larger diaspora and for Israel, as well as for the Jews remaining in the former Soviet Union. Jews emerged in the ancient Near East where the distinction between religion and ethnicity was largely unknown. "Jewish problem" could be solved by the assimilation of the Jews, meaning their acceptance by the societies in which they lived, but at the cost of their abandoning a distinct culture and identity. The Soviet Jewish diaspora will continue to mean different things to different people, playing a variety of changing roles in political, cultural, and economic arenas.