A Look Back at a Soviet Simchat Torah

An unlikely celebration from Moscow–40 years ago

I’m Getting Bat Mitzvahed on Birthright

A Tableteer explains why she’s taking the plunge, along with a dozen others on the bus

Orthodox Art Photographer Spy

The Russian immigrant Anna Shteynshleyger, a formerly observant Jew in the contemporary art world, creates lush, melancholy, Edenic works

Revealed

A new English-language translation of the short stories of Soviet writer Der Nister, or The Hidden One, brings his enigmatic Yiddish work to light

Keeping Score

In a new collection, One to Nothing, Russian-born photographer Irina Rozovsky portrays an unsettled Israel in struggle with itself

Odessa Story: Reading Isaac Babel in Ukraine

The Ukrainian Black Sea port has lost most of its Jews, but not the vestiges of the muddled, criminal city Isaac Babel imagined

Southwest Passage

Leaving the Soviet Union in 1989, my mother and I took the so-called Passage of Guilt through Italy, waiting for permission to enter America. Surviving a Southern European winter was the hard part.

La Dolce Vita

The Free World, David Bezmozgis’ novel about a family of Soviet émigrés stuck in Rome waiting for visas to North America, explores the joys—and costs—of newfound liberty

Purgatorio

As a child, writer David Bezmozgis was among the Soviet refugees who waited in a seaside Italian village for a visa to the U.S. or Canada. His novel The Free World explores the grittier side of life there.

Dissonance

Yigal Amir assassinated Yitzhak Rabin 15 years ago in an effort to derail the Oslo peace accords. Now his wife, a Russian émigré, is trying to turn him into a heroic Soviet-style political prisoner.

Home Stand

Tajikistan was home to thousands of Bukharan Jews, and conditions seemed right for it to stay that way. But the legacy of Soviet persecution and recent Central Asian ties to Iran have made Jewish life more difficult to maintain.

Midday: Bibi Won’t Apologize to Turkey

Plus Natalie getting married, and more in the news

Camp Fire

In his memoir, the famous refusenik remembered celebrating Hanukkah in the Soviet Gulag

Old Ways

Soviet Jews survived by gaming the system, so it’s no surprise some felt entitled to fraudulently claim reparations from Germany

Last Exit

In Gal Beckerman’s telling, the story of the Soviet Jewry movement becomes one of modern Jewish history’s great dramas

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.