New York and the Pull of Mother Russia
Limmud FSU Conference in New York is a Chance to Talk to Ex-USSR Jews Living There and to Hear of How They See Their Identity
"The Limmud FSU conference has about 700 guests, former USSR citizens.
We speak to some of the participants and hear their stories: Irina Rosenfeld, the 27-year-old singer, a Chozeret Bitshuva, who is not yet ready to give up the microphone. Back in Ukraine, she appeared before 52 million people and reached second place in the Ukrainian version of “A Star is Born.” In Israel that star has not quite been reborn yet. Oren Heimna, 46, a Yored from Israel, chairman of the local council – an organization of some 150 leaders of local Israeli communities in the New York area. He is a lawyer and specializes in Israeli businesses. Naftali Friedman was born in New York, to a father from Slovakia and a mother from Belgium. He wears a kippa and is teaching his five-and-a-half-year-old son, Avi, the words of Ma Nishtana in four languages no less – Hebrew, English, Russian and Yiddish. Natasha Leiner, 32, a management consultant, born in St. Petersburg, who landed in Los Angeles and now lives in New York.
Leonid Shapira, 65, has lived in Vilna for ten years, and emigrated to the USA in 1983."
About Jews in New York
Jewish Community in the Big Apple
Jews in New York City comprise approximately 13 percent of the city's population, making the Jewish community the largest in the world outside of Israel. As of 2014, 1.1 million Jews live in the five boroughs of New York City, and 2 million Jews live in New York State overall. Jews have immigrated to New York City since the first settlement in Dutch New Amsterdam in 1654, most notably at the end of the 19th century to the early 20th century, when the Jewish population rose from about 80,000 in 1880 to 1.5 million in 1920. The large Jewish population has led to a significant impact on the culture of New York City. After many decades of decline in the 20th century, the Jewish population of New York City has seen a sharp increase in the 21st century, owing to the high birth rate of the Hasidic and Orthodox communities.