There may have been a Jewish population in the Kabul region as well: The grandfather of Abū Ḥanīfa Noʿmān (founder of the Hanafite ) from Kabul named Zūṭā (Aramaic “little”; Schacht, p. Although no known source mentions a Jewish presence in Jahūḏān in the Middle Ages, the name itself indicates that Jews had founded it or had constituted a substantial part of its population at some point.

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Wolff (1795-1862), who seems to have undertaken a kind of census of Jews “in Toorke­staun,” stated their number to be “13,600 souls” (p. The first census of the Russian empire (1897) counted 11,463 adherents of Judaism in Central Asian territory under Russian sovereignty (Troĭnitskiĭ, p. It can be estimated that at least 9,500-10,000 of them were Central Asian Jews. In 1970, according to data from the Soviet census (, pp.

Data from various independent sources suggest that there were 6,000-6,500 Jews in the amirate of Bukhara, 4,000-4,500 of them in the city itself (Neymark, pp. 202, table 11; 223, table 13; 284, table 22; 295, table 24; 306, table 27; with somewhat misleading distribution among language groups), there were an estimated 40,000 Central Asian Jews in the USSR (corrected by about 15 percent for Central Asian Jewish native speakers of Russian).

110-11, table 12; 132-33, table 32), with linguistic distribution corrected by 20 percent for Central Asian Jews who were native speakers of Rus­sian, yield an estimate of about 40,000 Central Asian Jews in the USSR. Jews are known to have settled in Georgian area undoubtedly under Achaemenid domi­nation sometime after 539 B. It is stated repeatedly in the Book of Esther (composed in the early Parthian period, at least several decades before 78-77 B. As the sequence of the exiles mentioned is from Jerusalem eastward, “the rest of the exile” must include the Jews dwelling east of Media, that is, in the eastern part of greater Iran. 77), and Kazalinsk (founded in 1853; Dobrosmyslov, 1912a, p.

Taking into consideration different natural rates of increase in different countries and including descendants of Bukharan Jews to the third generation in Israel and Western countries, the es­timated total population of Bukharan Jews at the end of 1987 was 85,000, of whom about 45,000 were in the USSR, about 32,000 in Israel, and about 3,000 in all other countries combined. The first explicit evidence for the presence of Jews in Transoxania is a story about the sojourn at MRGWʾN (Marv) of an early 4th-century Babylonian (authority on Jewish religious law), a member of the religious academy in Pūmbědīṯā (Pērōz-Šāpūr, Anbār, in Mesopotamia), Šemūʾēl bar Bīsěnā (Babylonian Talmud, “ʿǍḇōdā Zārā,” 30b). 18), the last two situated in the Kazakh steppe, which came under Russian control in 1853.

The first was the status of (“conditions” of ʿOmar II, r. 1688) is to be interpreted as proof that no later than ca. 59) reported that a certain ʿOḇadyā “is appointed upon” the Jews there and called him (lay head of the community). Nevertheless, according to Nāṯān “the Babylonian” a bitter con­troversy took place in 296-305/909-16 between the exilarch ʿUÚqěḇā and the head of the Pūmbědīṯā acad­emy over revenues from Khorasan (Friedlaender, loc. The Jewish population there at the beginning of the 4th/10th century must have been sizable for such a controversy to have arisen. 323), there were “many Jews and few Christians” in the region in the 370s/980s. cit.) gave the number of Jews in Ḡazna as 80,000 and in Samar­kand as 50,000. 540/1145-46: The earliest burial date read so far is 1424 Seleucid era/1012-13 (Rapp, 1973, p. It is not certain whether the settlement of Jews in Varšād/Fīrūzkūh resulted from mass migration from Mandēš to Varšād or whether a Jewish commu­nity also continued in the former area. 228), surrounded “the environs of Balḵ.” Probably it was located near Bāb al-Yahūd (the Jews’ gate), mentioned by Eṣṭaḵrī (2nd ed., p. In addition to Bayhaqī’s story of a special tax on the Jews of Balḵ (see above), Nāṣer-e Ḵosrow also mentioned the Jews of the city in the 5th/11th century (p. Bīrūnī provided an exceptionally detailed systematic description of the Jewish calendar in his , pp. The poet must have been referring to some kind of destruction of the Jand Jewish community around the middle of the 6th/12th century.

99-101/717-20), which defined the rights of and restrictions on them. ʿOmar had forbidden both destruction of syn­agogues existing in Khorasan since pre-Islamic times and construction of new ones (Fischel, p. 130/747 the Jews (as well as the Zoroastrians and Christians) of Marv had been rec­ognized as , an autonomous fiscal entity with an administrative head responsible to the Muslim administration for payment of relevant taxes by the community. This title also appears in the inscription on a tombstone in the 11th-­13th-century Jewish cemetery near the village of Jām, close to the site of Fīrūzkūh in Ḡūr (Rapp, 1971, p. In the early 6th/12th century Mōšē Ebn ʿEḏrā quoted a conveyance that “[there are] in … These figures, fantastic as they are, attest to a contemporary belief that the Jewish population was quite numerous. As far as is known the majority of Jewish population centers in the region were situated south of the Oxus, extending as far as Ḡazna. The Jewish presence in Varšād probably ended soon after the destruction of the city by the Mongols in 619/1222: The last known burial inscription is dated in the year 1557 of the Seleucid era (A. 276f.), but there were others whose names Bīrūnī did not give. In the 4th/10th century a settlement named Yahūḏleq (Yahulïq), on the frontier between Farḡāna and Īlāq, is mentioned with­out further details (. About 400 years later an apparently iden­tical structure was attested in Samarkand: The late 12th-­century Jewish traveler Benjamin of Tudela (Hebrew text, p. Ḡazna about 40,000 Jews and in other inhabited places of Khorasan approx­imately the same number” (ed. The poet ʿOnṣorī reported that Jews were one of four religious commu­nities addressing praises to Sultan Maḥmūd Ḡaznavī (p. 4), which suggests that they formed a noticeable segment of the population in the early 5th/11th-century Ghaznavid state. It is likely, however, that he relied on one or more Jews from Kāṯ in one of the suburbs of which he was born. Finally, in the 4th/10th century Abū Dolaf mentioned a settlement named Bahī in what is today Xinjiang (Sinkiang): It was inhabited by Mus­lims, Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, and idolaters (listed in that order; Yāqūt, V, p. This Jewish settlement in a territory inhabited mainly by Turks appears to have been unique. The Ghaz­navid court poet Manūčehrī likened the singing of birds to utterances in Syriac and Hebrew (p. Furthermore, his report about the writings of his teacher Abuʾl-ʿAbbās Īrānšahrī, who must have been a resident of Kāṯ, suggests that the latter had there good informants on Christianity, Manicheism, and Judaism, but bad ones on Indian beliefs ( the legend of a Jewish sage who showed its residents how to work wood, to build big buildings, to tile their walls, and to build a leaden aqueduct (Vyatkin, p. Central Asian Jews undoubtedly participated in the activities of the Jewish Rādhānīya (Rāhdānīya) traders: One of their routes crossed Central Asia (Gil, p. This natural increase, about 40 percent in eleven years, is to be explained by normalization in the composition of the procreative age group and a general improvement in socioeconomic conditions. By the end of the 1960s there were also about 8,000 Central Asian Jews living in Israel (Tājer, pt. 105) and perhaps 1,000 (primarily emigrants from Palestine/Israel and their descendants) in other countries, mainly the United States and to a much lesser extent Canada, France, Venezuela, Argen­tina, and South Africa (in descending order). 85) contains an apparently reliable list of Jewish pilgrims to Jerusalem on Pentecost in the year 33 in sequence according to their native tongues (2:9-11), beginning with the group from farthest east, the “Par­thians.” The Medes and the Elamites are clearly distin­guished, though both groups also came from the Arsacid empire. In a fragment of his account of this journey he described with sadness the serious deviations from religious observances that he found in Bukhara (Yūsofov, pp. 174-75, for the Rabbi’s account of the disas­trous religious situation of the local Jewish community prior to his arrival). In the 1830s about 13 percent (300 families of about 1,500 persons, see Arandarenko, p. 1) of the Jewish population of Bukhara were (Wolff, 1835, p. In the mid-19th century the Jewish community of Bukhara was obliged to evaluate its members’ properties for the was collected four times each year, and the Muslim collector was required to slap the taxpayer twice on the cheek (at least for respected Jews, this gesture was merely symbolic; Charnyĭ, p. At the begin­ning of the 19th century the second largest concentrations of Central Asian Jews were at Šahr-e Sabz and Balḵ (Meyendorff, p. Some Jews were also living under the protection of Turkmen in Marv (Wolff, 1835, pp. In ṣafar 1259/March 1843 a piece of ground was sold to the Jewish community in Samar­kand (Amitin-Shapiro, 1931, pp.