Staunton, October 26 – Aleksandr Boroda, the head of FEOR, says that “there is reason to think” that approximately a million Jews live in Russia, although only a few more than 200,000 are actively involved in Jewish communities. They are assimilating at “a colossal rate” but one that is less than in Europe.
His remarks come in the wake of a report by London’s Institute for Research on Jewish Policy that suggested the number of Jews in Europe today has declined by 60 percent since 1970 to what it was a millennium ago (interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=75973 and nazaccent.ru/content/34334-perepis-rossijskih-evreev-proveli-v-feor.html).
The FEOR head says that the situation in Russia is both similar and different from that in Europe. It is similar in that there has been a general decline in birthrates, something that is certain to continue as the population ages. But it is different in that there is neither “the strong growth of anti-Semistism” or loss of roots among all peoples that can be seen in Europe.
In Russia, the picture is different: More young people are recovering their roots and making these traditions “an inalienable part of their lives.” But at the same time, in Russia too, “the tempos of assimilation all the same are colossal, there are many mixed marriages, and far from all Russian Jews … identify themselves as part of the community.”
Because that is the case, Boroda concludes, “it would be a mistake” to think that all the problems of the past have been overcome. Instead, “one of our main tasks” even now is to achieve “significant changes in the situation” and attract to the organized community young people and especially young families.
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