Jew blows shofar at Kotel 390.
(photo credit: Baz Ratner/Reuters)
The million or so immigrants that came to Israel from the former Soviet Union
during the 1990s have sometimes been accused of having tenuous ties to Judaism,
but a recent survey shows they feel passionately about their religious
An overwhelming 93 percent of Israelis with a background in the
FSU said they regularly celebrated holidays like Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashana and
Passover, according to a poll released by a Jewish group on
The survey commissioned by Shorashim, an organization that
facilitates statesanctioned conversions for Russian-speaking Israelis to
Judaism, gauged the community’s relationship with religion.
Some 68% of
respondents identified as secular, 17% said they were traditional and 12% said
they were religious or ultra-Orthodox.
Marriage has been a troublesome
issue for Russianspeaking Israelis. Many are either not recognized as Jewish by
the state and therefore cannot get married in the rabbinate, or they oppose its
monopoly on conducting marriages and divorces. As a result, some 69% of
respondents said they tied the knot in civil ceremonies or outside the
Approximately 51% said they were open to the possibility of
undergoing official conversions to Judaism.
“These are hundreds of
thousands of Jews who under communism experienced spiritual oppression by the
communist regime,” Shalom Norman, an official with Shorashim, said.
main goal is to support the strengthening of the Jewish component in society in
Israel and ways of facilitating that for hundreds of thousands of
The survey conducted by Maagar Mochot sampled 501 adults aged 18
and over who identified as being from the FSU. The margin of error is 4.5%.