Multiple Identities & Marginal Ties: The Experience of Russian Jewish Immigrant Youth in Toronto
This paper explores issues of identity, settlement, integration, and inter-generational relations within recently-arrived Russian Jewish families in Toronto, particularly with regard to youth aged 16 to 20. Special attention is devoted to the context and character of inter-generational adaptation between Russian Jewish youth and their parents, drawing upon four sources: a literature review; 1996 census statistics; focus groups that were held among newcomer youth and immigrant mothers of the Russian Jewish community of Toronto, and an interview with the Director of Immigrant Services of Jewish Immigrant Aid Services (JIAS). What emerges is a portrait of a remarkably complex ‘community,' comprising a multiplicity of identities and few attachments to either their new society or its established Jewish community. Sources reveal that male youth are more likely to experience greater migration adjustment difficulties than female youth. Factors accounting for this include gender differences in peer relationships; the more frequent absence of father figures; and differing cultural pressures and expectations of males and females.