In Search of Milk and Honey: The Theater of “Soviet Jewish Statehood” (1934–49)

Ber Boris Kotlerman

In the mid-1930s, when the Soviet regime established Birobidzhan as the “Soviet Jewish state” with Yiddish as its official language, the local Yiddish theater assumed new prominence. In Search of Milk and Honey focuses on the theater’s role as the standard bearer and guiding spirit of this controversial exercise in nation building. The reconstruction of the ideological and cultural impulses underlying the theater’s repertoire not only reveals the circumstances of the social experiment conceived in Birobidzhan, but also presents Jewish culture in the USSR from another perspective.

In Search of Milk and Honey presents a comprehensive history and exhaustive analysis of the Birobidzhan State Yiddish Theater (BirGOSET) in its historical context. Kotlerman demonstrates that the history of BirGOSET is intricately related and intertwined with the history of the Birobidzhan state structure as a whole, and so can be viewed as a prism through which to look at the history of Birobidzhan. … The book will find an important place within the growing field of Yiddish theater scholarship.” Jeffrey Veidlinger, Department of History and Associate Director, Jewish Studies Program, Indiana University

This book is Volume 1 of the series New Approaches to Russian and East European Jewish Culture.

Book Reviews

Jahrbucher für Geschichte Osteuropas, Volume 2, no. 3, 2012: 30-31