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What are your thoughts on the Jewish Autonomous Oblast?

June 09, 2008

Your website has been a major eye opener. My family hasn't been observate since my great-grandmother came to the US after the Holocaust, I feel a liitle left out of the loop when it comes to my "Jewishness." So my views have mainly been shaped through books which happen to be very pro-Israel. Anyway, that's not the issue, I was just wondering what are your thoughts on Jewish Autonomous Oblast?

Thank you for your letter. The Jewish Autonomous Oblast was not intended by Stalin to be truly autonomous in the sense that if Jews became the majority there they could do what they wanted. They were strictly confined to the ideals of Stalin's Communism and even the Jewish culture fostered by the Soviet government was not true Judaism, only an empty shell consisting of Yiddish language, theater and literature. Remember that Communist Russia was atheist and all Torah observance was outlawed.

Thus the Birobidzhan project could never have been considered a Jewish state and thus did not violate the laws of the Torah forbidding a Jewish state. This is all the more clear when we consider that even at its peak there was never a Jewish majority there.