The People of the Book inthe World of Books isaRussian bimonthly publication for serious readers with Jewish interests. Our English website includes only thesummaries of thepublished articles. Toaccess the complete text of them, please visit the Russian version of this website.


December 2009

This issue of the magazine includes:

• Problem: Are Jews Really Descended from Slavs?

This article analyzes the numerous writings of Russian-Jewish journalist Michael Dorfman, who now lives in New York. Like other “professional anti-Zionists,” Dorfman strongly exaggerates any problems of Israeli society and presents Israel as an almost fascist state. In order to support his position, he even promotes the notorious theory of Tel Aviv linguist Paul Wexler regarding the Slavic origins of East European Jewry, and fabricates his own unscientific arguments to prove that Ashkenazim have no historical connection to Israel. Here, the reviewer emphasizes that Dorfman’s arguments are similar to the “inventions” of radical Russian nationalists who are looking for a Slavic “ancestral home” in the Middle East.

Synopses: Two New Books on Jewish History

This review presents two new books recently published in Minsk and Kishinev that are dedicated to the history of Jews in the inter-war period, the first on the Soviet republic of Belorussia, and the second on Romanian-occupied Bessarabia. The reviewer notes that, while the two regions are geographically not far from each other, the problems discussed in the books are quite different. Under the Bolshevik dictatorship, Belorussian Jews had to struggle for the possibility of maintaining their distinct identity and culture. The Jewish political and cultural life in Bessarabia, in contrast, was very intensive and full of ideological battles.

Publishers and Publishing Projects: The Center for Studies on the History and Culture of East European Jews (Kiev)

The Center was established by a group of enthusiasts in the beginning of the 1990s with the aim of reviving academic Jewish studies in Ukraine. Now it works under the auspices of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. Brief information about the Center’s activities is followed by the complete bibliography of its publications.

• Jewish Calendar of Significant Dates: January–February 2010

Bibliography: 60 New Books