The relationship between religion and modernization has been examined largely in the context of Third World countries, where both religion and modernization processes are so salient to the Western observer, or in historical analyses of the emergence of the modern Western world. The Soviet Union, at once an important example of modernization and of a system which explicitly addressed the question of religion, has not been sufficiently analyzed, either as a case study of modernization or as a study in the relationship of religion and modernization. One reason for this may be the low salience of religion as a contemporary political or even social problem for the Soviets. Since Western analysts have always been attracted to the study of Soviet problems, they tend to focus on such issues as economic development, intellectual dissent, and nationality discontents, while treating religion, if at all, largely as a problem for the regime. However, it would seem that the Soviet case would hold considerable interest for those concerned with the general issue of modernization, and the specific question of the relationship of religion and modernization. After all, the USSR represents a historical case wherein millions of 281devout believers of a wide variety of faiths were intensively socialized to abandon religious practice and the religious Weltanschauung, and, at the same time, were involved in one of the most ambitious modernization undertakings in history. At least one major analytic question immediately presents itself: to what extent is the observed decline in the social power of religion in the USSR the result of coercion and indoctrination, and to what extend is it the direct and indirect consequence of modernization. This is an important case for those who would answer the question of the relative efficacy of official anti-religious efforts, on the one hand, and the seemingly unavoidable consequences of Western-type modernization, on the other. While the political limitations imposed on those who would try to answer this question in the Soviet context are formidable, it may be possible to approximate the beginnings of an answer by tracing the history of the religion-modernization relationship for various religions in the USSR, comparing it to cases wherein either the element of modernization or the element of deliberate attacks on religion is absent, and making some initial attempts to estimate the relative effectiveness of each factor. Another comparative consideration is relevant: what has been the history of the confrontation between a particular religion and modernization in non-Soviet contexts, and to what extent can we generalize about the relationship of a particular religion and modernization, irrespective of national context? Finally, to what extent is the specific nature of a religion relevant to its confrontation with modernization, and to what extent can religion be treated as a more or less uniform 282phenomenon, so that the relationship between religion and modernization will depend not on the nature of the particular religion, but on the nature of the particular variant of modernization—or on neither? I suspect that, in fact, the relationship between modernization and religion cannot be treated meaningfully without specifying both the characteristics of a specific religion as well as the features of a specific modernizing program and society. Therefore, this essay deals with a specific religion, Judaism, in a specific modernizing environment, the Soviet Union, while paying some attention to comparable phenomena—other religions in the USSR, and Judaism in other national settings. It also makes a very tentative attempt to assess the relative impact on Judaism of antireligious policies and of general modernizing processes, and to point to some post-modernizing phenomena affecting Judaism in the USSR.