Ukranian Jewish History



The first Jews arrived in Ukraine in the late 19th century.


They were fleeing pogroms in Russia and Poland. In 1881, the Russian government granted Ukrainian Jews the right to settle in the area around Kiev.


By 1900, there were about 50,000 Jews living in the city.





Ukraine was part of the Russian Empire until 1917 when it became independent.


In 1991, Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union.


Since then, Ukraine has been a republic within the Commonwealth of Independent States.








Ukranian Jewish History




1. Ukranian Jews were among the first Jewish communities in Europe. In fact, they were among the first European Jews.


The first known mention of Jews in Ukraine dates back to the year 988 AD. At that time, the territory was ruled by the Rus’ people.


However, the area was later conquered by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. After Poland became independent, the region was annexed by Russia.






2. The first Jew settlers arrived in the territory of modern day Ukraine around the year 1000. These early settlers came from the same region where the Khazars lived.


The Khazars were a Turkic people who converted to Judaism in the 8th century.





3. The earliest recorded name for the Ukrainian Jews was “Khazars”. The term “Ukrainians” was not used until the 17th century.




4. The first synagogue in Kiev was built in 1240.


The building still stands today and is located near the Dnieper River.






5. The first Jewish cemetery in Kiev was established in 1348.


The cemetery was destroyed during World War II.





6. The first Jewish printing press was set up in 1514.



The press was owned by Rabbi Jacob ben Moses Luria.






7. The first Jewish bookshop opened its doors in 1612.


The shop was called “The House of Books”.





8. The first Jewish school was founded in 1613.



The school was named after the famous rabbi, Isaac Luria.





9. The first Jewish hospital was established in 1618.


The hospital was called “The Hospital of the Holy Spirit”.





10. The first Jewish bank was established in 1620.


The bank was called “The Bank of Israel”.






11. The first Jewish newspaper was published in 1649.



The paper was called “The Jerusalem Post”.






12. The first Jewish theater was opened in 1654.


The theater was called “The Theater of the Nations”.





13. The first Jewish orphanage was established in 1660.



The orphanage was called “The Orphanage of the Holy Spirit’s Mercy”.





14. The first Jewish museum was opened in 1885.


The museum was called “The Museum of the History of the Jewish People”.