ARMENIA - THE JEWISH COMMUNITY
Three distinct and unrelated populations of Jews have lived in Armenia in ancient, medieval, and modern periods. The fate of the earliest Jews arriving in Armenia by the 1st century BCE or 1st century CE is unknown. Much later, Jews arrived in other parts of Armenia, probably from Persia. By the mid-13th century CE, a thriving Jewish community was existed in Eghegis. However, no continuity appears between Armenian Jews of the Middle Ages and the Jews who settled in Armenia in the 19th and 20th centuries. The fate of the medieval Armenian Jews is a mystery.
JewishGen's ShtetlSeeker references border changes to locate a given town. Contemporary Jewish populations of Armenia descend primarily from Ashkenazic Jews with a smaller number of Mizrakhim. In the early 19th century, Jews from Poland and Persia began settling in Armenia's capital, Yerevan. In the 1920s, many European sector Soviet Union Jews resettled in Armenia. Additional Russian Jews arrived during and after World War II, bringing the Jewish population to about 5000 people. Between 1965 and 1972, Jewish population reached about 10,000, peaking in the second half of the 20th century. Today, considerably fewer Jews live in Armenia, perhaps as few as 1000, of whom perhaps about 500 live in Yerevan. Intermarriage between Jews and Armenians is very high. Most 20th-century Armenian Jews immigrated to Israel in the early 1990s when the Soviet Union collapsed.
Yerevan synagogue operates under a Chabad Lubavitch rabbi since 2002. In general, Armenia and Armenians have good relations with Jews and Israel. JewishGen's ShtetlSeeker references border changes to locate a given town. [February 2009]
Haruth [September 2002]
Sefardic Studies. The Lost Jews of Armenia [September 2002]
Also click on Armenia at WJC Communities website [September 2005]