Alienation and immigration experiences: Soviet Jews in the United States
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This study examined the alienation and immigration experiences of Russian Jewish immigrants. While they have achieved remarkable professional and economic success, Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union also experience alienation. Most studies have focused on new arrivals, who feel the shock of being transported to a new culture. This study differed from other in that its focus was on factors that contribute to high levels of alienation over the initial period of five years and more after arrival.;Two ethnic groups of former Soviets were compared in their relationship to the alienation experiences. The research methodology consisted of two parts: quantitative and qualitative. In the first part, the scale of alienation developed by Seeman then revised and used by Middleton (1963) and Kuo (1978), was administered to a sample population consisting of 60 former Soviets. Statistical significance was observed between alienation and ethnicity, income and education. Alienation and English proficiency were found to be close to statistical significance. The qualitative component, consisting of interviews with the Ashkenazim and Bukharans, shed further light on the nature of alienation experiences by the two groups.;The findings of this study indicate that ethnic identity and culture affect immigrants' perception of the dominant society and focus social work professionals on the various perspectives of diversity, most importantly, on the differences in value systems.
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