Russian Jews in the global city of Toronto: A pilot study of identity and social integration

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The community of former Soviet Jews in the Greater Toronto Area has considerably expanded over the last 15 years reflecting both immigration from the former Soviet Union (FSU) and re-migration of Russian Jews from Israel. Few Canadian studies of the resettlement experiences of Russian Jews focused on the issues of Jewish identity and its change upon migration. This exploratory ethnographic study included in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and observations of natural contexts of immigrants' lives with the goal of comparing some key aspects of social integration between direct arrivals from the FSU and secondary migrants from Israel. The narratives collected in this study refer to several domains: causes of migration to Canada, the challenges of occupational adjustment, perceived living standards and quality of life, the specific challenges faced by immigrant couples, youth and the elders, and transnational ties with other branches of the Russian Jewish diaspora. The findings point to some tangible differentials in the integration process between the two groups of immigrants, particularly in their labor market adjustments and family processes. Generally, ‘second lap' migrants from Israel are better equipped for western economic marketplace and have more social anchors within Canadian society than direct arrivals from the FSU.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)61-81
JournalEspace populations sociétés. Space populations societies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006


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