The Tang-e Āzāo inscriptions, in Persian in Hebrew script dating from the beginning of the Islamic period (1064 Seleucid era/135/753-54; Henning) in the Ḡūr (Ḡōr) region of Afghanistan, suggest that Jews may also have been present in that area somewhat earlier (Henning). 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. It was first adopted by Russian travelers to Central Asia in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, then, apparently independently, by early 19th-century British and Indian travelers. The total of all Central Asian Jews at the end of the 19th century was probably between 16,000 and 17,000. Members of the group call themselves [Y]Isroʾel (refined style) or Yahūdī (official/neutral style); the latter term was also applied to them in official Persian (Tajik) and Chaghatay (Ùaḡatāy, Uzbek) terminology before the Russian conquest of Central Asia. There are no reliable statistics on Jews in Central Asia before the 19th century. In 1926, according to the Soviet census, the number of Central Asian Jews in the USSR was 18,698 (Lorimer, p. The first Soviet census after World War II, conducted in 1959, listed 25,990 Central Asian Jews who were native speakers of Tajik (, p. At a cautious estimate, about 10 percent of Central Asian Jews who abandoned the Jewish dialect of Tajik in favor of Russian (or Uzbek in a very few instances) must be added to this figure, bringing the estimate of all Central Asian Jews within the borders of the USSR to between 28,000 and 29,000. Such doubts may indicate that Jews had already been dwelling in Marv for several generations, long enough for a Babylonian to suspect that they lacked knowledge or rigor in fulfilling the relevant ritual requirements.
1237); this term refers to non-Muslim religious authorities, particularly Jewish rabbis (Barthold, I, p. 545, has offered no support for his doubts on this point). 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). 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. 130/747) introduced two elements that fundamentally affected Jews of the region throughout subsequent history. Two other inscriptions from there contain the honorific (head of the community; Rapp, 1971, p. The only available data on the number of Jews in the region immediately after the conquest are some unreliable 12th-century figures (see below). The remains of the Jewish cemetery near the village of Jām in the vicinity of Fīrūzkūh, the main town of the Varšād[a] (Varsād) area of Ḡūr, are evidence that there had been Jewish inhabitants in that area for at least 150 years before the Ghurid Qoṭb-al-Dīn Moḥammad Šansabānī founded Fīrūzkūh ca. At Balḵ there were Jewish settlers from at least as early as the 3rd/9th century, when Yāqūt mentioned Jahūḏānak (see above) as “[one] of Balḵ’s settlements.” It must have been a settlement within the limits of “the big wall,” which, according to Yaʿqūbī (, p. As for Ḵᵛārazm, aside from Ṭabarī’s mention of in Kāṯ at the time of the Arab invasion (see above), there is some circumstantial evidence for the 4th/10th century. Again, as in the Ghurid legend mentioned above, a Jew plays the role of 1915). 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. 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.