Becoming Jews: The Petersburg Jewish University in the 1990s

Semion Goldin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The renaissance of Jewish activity in the last years of the Soviet Union manifested itself in the energetic creation of new structures and new ideologies. The history of the Petersburg Jewish University (PJU), an independent Jewish academic body that existed from 1989 to 1998, sheds light on the emergence of a renewed Jewish identity in the epoch of the late1980s-early 1990s. Late Soviet and post-Soviet Jewish activity inevitably was a continuation under new conditions of Soviet experiences and Soviet forms of life, side by side with the utopia of creating a new Jewish civilization and the vision of renewing of Jewish scholarly activities of the pre-1917 period. The successful professional careers in Judaic studies of some two dozen scholars, and the experience of hundreds of people connected to the university who acquired content for their nominal Jewishness, indicates the importance of the PJU project.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationBecoming Post- Communist
Subtitle of host publicationJews And The New Political Cultures Of Russia And Eastern Europe: Studies In Contemporary Jewry An Annual XXXIII
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9780197687215
ISBN (Print)9780197687215
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford University Press 2023. All rights reserved.


  • Jewish academic activities
  • Jewish community
  • Jewish identity
  • Post-soviet Jewry
  • Russia
  • Soviet Jewry
  • St. Petersburg
  • USSR


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