History of the Jews in Mongolia

The history of the Jews in Mongolia starts with the 19th century trade routes between Siberian-Jewish merchants and the Mongolians. This resulted in some Jewish families entering Mongolia.


Before 1920, most Jews that arrived in Mongolia were of Russian background, and had fled the chaos of the Russian Civil War. Some were even elevated to Mongolian nobility as was the case of Zanzer who changed his name in honour of Zanabazar, the first Bogd Khan. The community was deported from the country after 1921. In 1925-6, a Russian-Jewish journalist came across a community of 50 newly settled families in a remote region of Outer Mongolia approximately 200 miles from the Manchurian border. In 1926, Ulaan Bator had a population of 600 Russian Jews who had attempted to leave Outer Mongolia, which was a Soviet satellite at the time.

After the breakup of the Soviet Union, a number of Jewish citizens left the country in search of better economic opportunities. Some left for Israel, which had a visa agreement with Mongolia.

Present day

Many Israeli tourists visit Mongolia each summer. Despite that, the Jewish population numbers less than 100. In 2003,. the Mongol-Jewish Cooperation was formed, and its website answers questions about subjects such as Judaism and Israel. The organization's head, Sumati Luvsandendev, has said, "there are enough fingers on two hands to count all Jews who live here."[1] The closest Jewish community with a rabbi is the Siberian city of Irkutsk, whose Chief Rabbi Aharon Wagner wants to maintain close contact with the neighboring Mongolian Jewish community.[2]

See also


  1. "The Jewish Community of Mongolia". The Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  2. http://www.fjc.ru/news/newsArticle.asp?aid=301928
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