In the Service of the Czar // Irena Vladimirsky

The St. Petersburg police chief, a Russian diplomat, and a comedian all sit down together at the Seder… It sounds like a joke, but Peter the Great may well have attended such a gathering, for Jews were surprisingly crucial in his court

The Master’s Spies // Yaakov Segal

One secret to Russia’s victory over hitherto undefeated Napoleon Bonaparte was superior military intelligence, thanks largely to a spy ring orchestrated by the founder of Lubavitch Hasidism, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi

The Red Napoleon // Asael Abelman

Born a Jew and murdered as one, but with precious little Jewish identity in between, Leon Trotsky was a driving force behind Russia’s Communist revolution. Though Lenin was its intellectual and military mastermind, Trotsky was his faithful henchman, equally convinced that mass violence was the key to its success

A Hidden Pearl // Yemima Hovav

Arguably once the most powerful woman in the Kremlin, Paulina Molotov remained faithful to Stalin even after he betrayed her. What fatal misstep exposed her long-concealed Jewishness?

Raisin the Iron Curtain // Zlata Zaretsky

Behind the Iron Curtain, cut off from the world and from Judaism, refuseniks fanned the forbidden flames of a cultural revival with dramas celebrating heroic legends of Jewish self-sacrifice

From the Archives

Jewish Democracy // Alex Vladman

The Russian Empire’s dramatic fall in 1917 was surprisingly good for the Jews, giving them civil rights, equality, and even autonomy. But anti-Semitism soon turned back the clock

Tale of a Trail

Kfar Giladi // Tamar Hayardeny

Portrait of a People

Portrait of Leo Tolstoy by Leonid Pasternak // Naomi Samuel