The Melting Pot: An International Conference on Russian-Jewish New York, April 4–6


NEW YORK, March 23, 2006 An international conference exploring the culture, politics, and history of the Russian-Jewish experience in New York will be held April 4–6 at the New York Public Library, sponsored by the Columbia University Libraries’ Bakhmeteff Archive of Russian & East European History and Culture, The International Center for Russian & East European Jewish Studies in Moscow, The UJA-Federation of New York, The Harriman Institute, and the New York Public Library.

Photo by Jonas Steengaard for Human Rights Watch

The conference will begin at 10 a.m. on April 4 in the auditorium of New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. Panels will focus on such topics as the search for new Russian-Jewish identities in New York, politics in an age of migration, Jewish publications in New York, and daily life and the phenomenon of immigrant adaptation. Featured panelists and speakers include Professors Marc Raeff and Michael Stanislawski of Columbia University, Professor Ziva Galili of Rutgers University, Professor Ben Nathans of Pennsylvania University, Doctor Oleg Budnitskii of the Institute of Russian History, Professor Vladimir Khazan of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and others.

The conference will conclude with a reception at Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library at 5 p.m. on April 6 to mark the opening of the exhibit “Russian Jews in New York from the Holdings at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library.” For more information on the conference program, please contact Tanya Chebotarev, curator of the Bahkmeteff Archive, at
tc241@columbia.edu or 212-854-3986.

The Bakhmeteff Archive of Russian & East European History and Culture, the second largest depository of Russian émigré materials outside Russia, was officially founded in 1951, and operates as a part of Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The goal of the Archive is to acquire, preserve, and make available for research, materials relating to the history and culture of Russia, the USSR, and the countries of Eastern Europe; communities of émigrés from these countries, especially in Western Europe and the United States; American relations with and views of Russia, the USSR, and the countries of Eastern Europe; and American and European scholarship relating to Russia, the USSR, and the countries of Eastern Europe. To learn more about the archive, see:   http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/indiv/rbml/collections/bakhmeteff/

The UJA-Federation of New York, the world’s largest local philanthropy, strengthens community and helps 1.4 million persons in New York City, Westchester County, and Long Island, as well as 3 million in Israel and 60 other countries. Funds raised by UJA-Federation sustain the activities of 100 health, human-service, educational, and community agencies. Every day, these community-based organizations provide a multitude of services that improve and enhance people’s lives. For more information, visit the UJA-Federation website at http://www.ujafedny.org.

The Harriman Institute is a leading center for the advancement of knowledge in the field of Russian and Eurasian studies through the research conducted by its faculty, students, fellows and visiting scholars and the training of scholars and professionals. Harriman Institute faculty and students seek to examine the varied and fascinating set of social, political, and cultural transformations taking place in formerly Communist countries of the region, drawing comparisons to transformations in other societies, looking into historical roots of today’s developments, and taking into account the full complexity of the interplay among politics, the economy, and culture. The Harriman Institute, through its programs, conferences, lectures, and publications, seeks to foster conversations across disciplines and between the academy and the wider world on these subjects. For more information, see: http://www.harrimaninstitute.org

The International Center for Russian & East European Jewish Studies was founded in Moscow in 2003 though the initiative and support of Leonid B. Nevzlin, a prominent public figure and philanthropist, who supports numerous educational projects in Russia, Israel and other countries. The Center’s objectives include studying the history and cultural heritage of the Russian and East European Jewry; propagating knowledge of the history and culture of the Russian and East European Jews; promoting the revival of the national identity of the Russian Jewry, based on absorption of the Jewish cultural heritage and historical traditions with respect to realities of the contemporary world; and advancing international collaboration in the field of East European Jewish studies. For more information on the Center, please see: http://crjs.ru/en/news/events.php/

The New York Public Library was created in 1895 with the consolidation of the private libraries of John Jacob Astor and James Lenox with the Samuel Jones Tilden Trust. The Library provides free and open access to its physical and electronic collections and information, as well as to its services. It comprises four research centers—the Humanities and Social Sciences Library; The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; and the Science, Industry and Business Library—and 85 Branch Libraries in Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx. Research and circulating collections combined total more than 50 million items, including materials for the visually impaired. In addition, each year the Library presents thousands of exhibitions and public programs, which include classes in technology, literacy, and English as a second language. The Library serves some 13 million patrons who come through its doors annually and another 13 million users internationally, who access collections and services through the NYPL website: http://www.nypl.org

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