Monday, July 9, 2018

Jews That Once Lived in Afghanistan

Nadene Goldfoot
1895 in Khyber Pass-Afridi Tribe with rifles;  Pashtuns
Living in Afghanistan claiming to be descendants of King Saul's grandson; from his son, Jeremiah.  

Some of the Muslim inhabitants of Afghanistan believe their their heritage stemmed from the Israelites of the northern kingdom who were the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel. These people are today's Pashtuns.  


                                                        
First Crusaders entering Jerusalem 1095-1099
Massacring Jews in northern France  and Rhineland,
especially in Mainz, Worms, Speyer, Cologne, etc. and
in Prague, then Salonica, finally attacking Jerusalem in 1099.

Supposedly, Crusaders had gone there to take back Jerusalem from Muslims,
but killed Jews all the way through Europe in getting there. 

 Actual Jews, who take the name of their religion, Judaism, from the name of their main tribe, Judah, one of the 12 tribes of Jacob (aka:  Israel), had been in Afghanistan at least by the early medieval times (476 AD – 1492).  Little is known about them after the 12th century or 1100s CE.  That was before Islam began.   The Crusaders of Europe went to Jerusalem from 1095 – 1291 so that may have forced Jews to leave and find safer quarters more likely, but they wouldn't be the Jews that went to Afghanistan in the early days but could account for Jews entering shortly by 1095.   
                                                      
Barakzai Shah-King of Afghanistan and a Pashtun
a dynasty lasting from 1826 to 1973
Afghanistan lost territory to Persia and Russia 

By the time of 1992, remaining Jews still in Afghanistan are the descendants of a 19th century line from the Persian community who had been living there.  These would have been Jews from the time of Queen Esther who was married to King Ahashueros of which our holiday of Purim remembers This even most likely took place before 330 BCE.  Most spoke Judeo-Persian, and their religious rites were those of Persian Jewry, but they didn't study the Talmud of which are 2; one called the Babylonian Talmud which is considered to be the best, and the other called the Palestinian Talmud.  
                                                        
1961-Jews of Afghanistan

Evidently these Jews have lived in an insulated environment, untouched by modern influences and still lived in a medieval atmosphere, confined in their ghettos and forced to wear black turbans-something distinguishing them as Jews; or perhaps it was their choice, like our ultra orthodox wear black clothing and hats.  
                                                            
100 years ago there were about 40,000 Jews living in Afghanistan which included some wealthy merchants.  Many governmental repressional measures  after 1870 caused a reduction in the population along with the events in the mid-1930s with the rise of German anti-Semitism which spread all over the world.  Almost all  that lived here immigrated to Israel  when it announced its birth in 1948.  By 1990, only 50 remained and those most likely were elderly ladies like those who had remained in Egypt.  
                                                    

The last Jew left was Zevulun Simantov.  
                                                          

From Breshan Omarkel, a TV personality,  comes this report:  Jews have lived in Afghanistan for the past 2500 years.  They arrived in the area after the Babylonian exile and the Persian conquest. Seventy years ago, there were still about 5,000 Jews in Afghanistan. In 1951, when they were allowed to emigrate, most of them moved to Israel and the United States. TV Ashna's Breshan Omarkhel visited the only Afghan Synagogue in US, New York and has this report.

Nebuchadnezzar with his Babylonians had attacked Jerusalem in 597 BCE and again in 586 BCE, taking away Jews to Babylonia. Many Pashtos may have come from this exile as well.

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