Old Lives and New

by Edith Rogovin Frankel


“The stories that she has collected with such diligence, and presents here with such clarity and skill, begin in the Soviet Union and end in Israel and the United States, the two main destinations of those who left Communism. The motives of those about whom she writes are set out clearly, as are their experiences. One of the strengths of this book is its portrayal of individuals: their personal stories, struggles, dilemmas and achievements. Each story is different, and each has lessons in it to illuminate and to inspire.”

Sir Martin Gilbert


“Dr. Edith Rogovin Frankel has written a highly original and absorbing account of numerous interviews she conducted with emigrants (mainly Jews) from the Soviet Union. She spoke to them the first time shortly after they arrived in Israel and the United States in the late 1970s… and a second time twenty-five years later. There are poignant descriptions of the difficult lives of Jews in the Soviet Union who sought to observe the religious traditions of Judaism, and then there are moving descriptions of the difficulties in adjusting to conditions in new cultures, and of the joys of those émigrés—a high percentage—who succeeded, both professionally and socially… The book tells an inspiring story that deserves a wide readership.”

Abraham Ascher, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Graduate Center, City University of New York


“By tracing the lives of several families and individuals over some two decades, Edith Rogovin Frankel illustrates the complexities of immigration generally and skillfully explores several dimensions of the experiences of Soviet Jewish immigrants in Israel and the United States. The twists and turns of Soviet Jewish lives are portrayed well by someone who has a deep understanding of their cultures, old and new.”

Zvi Gitelman, professor of political science and Tisch Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan


Old Lives and New: Soviet Immigrants in Israel and America paints an incredibly sweeping and human portrait of Soviet Jewry over the past century. This immigrant group, which emerged out of the ruins of Communism, is captured through a series of individuals who tell the story from World War II and up through the trials and tribulations of immigrating and settling outside the Soviet Union at the end of the 20th century. The best history does more than give us facts and figures; it tells us how people lived. Edith Rogovin Frankel’s work does that and more, interweaving the stories of a number of Soviet Jewish families in a way that makes a whole community come to life.”

Gal Beckerman, author of When They Come for Us We’ll be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry