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But the Russian-speaking Jews, while paying tribute to the American Jewish community for helping them, expected more assistance from their hosts, and resented being lectured and patronized.Used to dependence upon the government in the FSU, many were stunned by the “tough love” attitude sometimes shown by the American Jewish organizational world, which helped support the newly arrived for several months and then expected them to stand on their own.Russian Jews are less likely than American Jews to identify Jewishly due to hostility, or on the basis of separation from other nations.The attitude of Russian Jews toward organized religion is one of “detached affiliation.” This means establishing and maintaining a comfortable distance from the synagogue but participating in some of its events and services.They settled in enclaves of major metro areas, either in the inner cities (South Brooklyn, NY; North East Philadelphia; .The regime claimed it was permitting this for the humanitarian reason of family reunification.
It began slowly returning in 1987 during Gorbachev’s “perestroika” and gradually increased, especially after Gorbachev strengthened contacts with President Reagan and European leaders, who pushed him to liberalize Soviet emigration policy. Over the next decade, a huge wave of new Russian-Jewish immigrants headed to American shores.
Exit visa requests were denied and many Jews who had already applied for them lost their jobs, creating the category of “refuseniks,” people refused the right to leave the country.