KABUL PDF Print E-mail

Possible contact: Moshe Gul, Seral, Hazor Gull, Kabul 1, Afghanistan [October 2000]

Synagogue: The synagogue is on the second floor of a building in Charshi Torabazein St.

"A large Medieval Jewish community was in Kabul. Al Idris (1099-1166) noted that the Jews of Kabul were separated from the larger Muslim community [Yehoshua-Raz, Ben Zion. "From the lost tribes in Afghanistan to the Mashhed Jewish Converts of Iran." 1992, p. 47. (Hebrew) They lived in ghetto either by choice or by pressure. Source: [January 2002]

"In the 'Dar el amman' museum in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, there is a black stone found in Kandahar, on which is written in Hebrew." Source [January 2002]

"The only practicing Jew left in Kabul, Afghanistan, Zibollon Sementa, says the ruling Taliban fundamentalist Muslim party lets him practice his faith in an unhindered fashion. What was left of the Jewish community fled in 1992." Source: Dateline World Jewry [July 2001]


http://www.jewish.com/news/afghan1213.shtml - link no longer available : "Ishak Levin, a Persian Jew in his 70s, and 42-year old Zebulon Simantov live in separate rooms of Kabul's synagogue and are said to be the country's last remaining Jews. The community once numbered as many as 40,000, but by the mid-20th century, about 5,000 remained. Most of them, however, left in the 1950s and 1960s after the creation of the State of Israel. The rest left shortly after the Soviet occupation in the late 1970s and early 1980s." "The Jewish community in Afghanistan was once a proud one, with 40,000 people, flourishing businesses and a distinctive Torah design. ... Afghanistan's last two Jews -- Ishaq Levin and Zebulon Simentov -- live at separate ends of the same decaying synagogue in the Afghan capital and are feuding, each claiming to be the rightful owner of the synagogue and its paraphernalia." Source:  [January 2002]


More than 10,000 Jews of Afghan descent now live in Israel. The second largest population of Afghan Jews is New York, with 200 families. They mostly live in Flushing, Jamaica and Queens. Rabbi Jacob Nasirov leads the Orthodox congregation of Anshei Shalom, the lone Afghan synagogue in the United States. Members have roots not only from Afghanistan, but also Yemen, Syria, Russia, Iraq, Morocco and Lebanon." Source: [September 2002]


UPDATE: "In 2002, there are two Jews in Afghanistan. Zebulon Simentov and Isaac Levy live at separate ends of the same decaying synagogue in Kabul. They say they are protecting the synagogue, but their biggest threat is each other. Each claims to be the rightful owner of the Torah and accuses the other of stealing it. This feud is so heated that both men spent time in Taliban jails for charges they brought against each other. Meanwhile, the Taliban confiscated the Torah. The elder Levy relies on charity to get by, while Simentov, 41, owns a store that sells carpets, jewelry and handicrafts. Both men say they get along with their Muslim neighbors. Simentov is content in Afghanistan, saying he will visit Israel, but return to Kabul. Levy would like to join his family in Israel, but says he has no money.

"The caretaker of Afghanistan's only functioning synagogue - and the country's second-last Jew - has died, officials said on Tuesday, after years of bitter feuding with the only other survivor of a once-thriving community.
Ishaq Levin, aged about 80, passed away, apparently of natural causes, about a week ago in his quarters in the small synagogue in the Afghan capital, said his 45-year-old Jewish neighbour, Zebulon Simentov." The two lived for years in quarters at separate ends of the same synagogue. [January 25, 2005]


[UPDATE] The Last Jew in Afghanistan [November 2016]

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 November 2016 22:59
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