Over the centuries of Moscow’s history, the Jewish community flourished and faltered depending on the Czars or political party in power.
In the 19th century, elite military schools led by “Cantonists” (Russian soldiers) saw many Jewish students in them. At other times (e.g. 1891) 30,000 Jewish citizens were expelled from Moscow, many of whom immigrated to the United States. Years later, the community recuperated and numbered roughly 400,000 people before the 2nd world war. Although the fate of the Jews in Moscow took a turn to the worse, many Russian Jews (roughly 500,000), remembered faithfully in Moscow today, fought in the Red Army against the Nazis courageously.
Post-war Jewish life was not always easy, and severely constricted at times, when being Jewish, learning and teaching Hebrew and visiting synagogue was banned by USSR government regulations. The Jewish people however struggled on and continued stoically for a more positive era to begin. Along with the changes to the country that came with the collapse of the USSR, Russia’s Jewish community benefited enormously. Today, Russian-Jewish culture is flourishing once again, and Moscow has become one of the most tolerant places in all of Europe for Jews.
Moscow is home to the largest Jewish community in Russia. It numbers around 250 thousand people, making this city a thriving focal point of Jewish life in the 21st century. Our tours offer you the opportunity to explore the vibrant life of Moscow’s Jewish community, visit one or all of the 6 local synagogues, kosher restaurants, schools, cultural centers and Jewish museums which are literally scattered around the city.