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A major demographic event of the 1970s was large-scale Bu­kharan Jewish emigration from the USSR (see below). It is probable therefore that the pilgrims called Parthians were those who spoke the Parthian language as their native tongue, which means that they had to have been settled in a Parthian-speaking area for several generations.

A number of Babylonian Jewish religious authorities were engaged in the silk trade, and Marv stood on the Silk Road. The chief occupation of the Jews of Central Asia on the eve of the Russian conquest was dyeing yarn and cloth (Meyendorff, p.

Bar Bīsěnā’s journey may also have been undertaken in connection with the silk trade.

While he was in Marv he refused to drink alcoholic beverages, doubting their ritual cleanliness.

Bukharan Jews “Bukharan Jews” is the common appellation for the Jews of Central Asia whose native language is the Jewish dialect of Tajik.

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.

Despite a ban since the mid­-1920s, a pejorative derivative (member of a national [ethnic] minority). In 1832 an Anglican missionary of Jewish origin, J. 55, table 23), of whom 18,172 were dwelling in the Uzbek SSR (including Tajikistan; Amitin-Shapiro, 1933, pp. They were already outnumbered even there, however, by Ashkenazis (Jews of European origin, 19,611; ibid., p. Samarkand, with 7,740 Central Asian Jews, was the largest center of concentration (ibid., p. The low natural increase between 19 is to be explained by emigration begin­ning in the late 1920s and by a long-term lowering of the birthrate caused by the Great Terror and World War II (see below), when males of procreative age were sep­arated from women and many of them were killed.

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).

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.

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