Author ORCID Identifier

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1315-0513.


The article is devoted to the reconstruction of the ways of adaptation of the Jews to the Soviet anti-religious experiments and the definition of forms of counteraction to these attacks during the 1920s and 1930s. There is insufficient research in the historiography of the struggle of Jews for the preservation of their religious worldview. The development of historiography shows a certain imbalance in the studies of the methods and extent of anti- church policy while ignoring the reaction of believers to the Bolshevik experiments. Based on archival documents of the Soviet secret services (not previously introduced into scientific circulation) and memoirs, it is shown that the interweaving of religious norms and the daily life of the Jews contributed to the preservation of the religious worldview and was an important internal motivation to oppose anti-religious values. In the 1920s, in the absence of total control, communities boldly dared to resist, opposing the idea of a day off on Sunday, sabotaging community registration, engaging in bureaucratic red tape that accompanied community interaction with the authorities on construction, renovation, or closure of synagogues. Attempts to resist control over the religious life of believers were responded by repressive actions of authorities and could not be long-lasting and large-scale. However, even the documents of the second half of the 1920s convey such resistance. In the 1930s, the closure of synagogues forced communities to adapt to new realities. In-home prayer meetings, which contributed to the preservation of religiosity, were held clandestinely in the 1930s. The so-called “migration” of synagogues began when the authorities closed a synagogue in one place, and the believers, renting a house, opened it in another place. The counteraction of the processes of secularization was the activity of Jewish preachers– maggids, who visited synagogues and delivered speeches about the need to preserve the religious worldview. Despite continuous control, authorities were unable to stop these actions in the 1930s. The system of spiritual education has undergone significant changes. Jewish worshippers were forced to adapt their religious rites to the realities of life. Adaptation practices and forms of struggle for the preservation of Judaism contributed to the preservation of the religious identity of the Jews in Soviet Ukraine in the 1930s.



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