Community in Kazakhstan - World Jewish Congress

Today, approximately 2,500 Jews live in Kazakhstan, who are mostly Russian-speaking and identify with Russian culture. Approximately 2,000 are Bukharian and Tat (Mountain Jews). Almaty is the main Jewish center in the country. The Kazakh Jewish community is stable and organized, spread out to places such as Karaganda, Chimket, Astana, Semiplatinsk, Kokchetav, Dzhamboul, Aktyubinsk, Petropavlovsk, and several smaller villages. More than 20 Jewish organizations, both secular and religious, currently work to improve Jewish religious and cultural life.

The Kazakh affiliate of the World Jewish Congress is the Jewish National Organization of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

WJC Affiliate
Association of Jewish National Organizations of the Republic of Kazakhstan

+7 727 273 42 08 or +7 727 273 54 49
+7 727 258 34 59

President: Alexandr Baron

Jews are believed to have arrived at the territory of modern Kazakhstan in the Middle Ages as merchants travelling the Silk Road. A Jewish presence in the city of Turkestan dates back to the 15th century, as there is mention of an existing synagogue there. One of the first pieces of documentary evidence of the Ashkenazi Jewish community of Kazakhstan dates from 1825, when it was recorded that 12 individuals “of the Judaic faith” lived in the Semipalatinsk region.

In Soviet times, the legal Jewish institutional setting consisted of the functioning synagogues in Alma-Ata, Chimkent, Turkestan, and Kyzylorda. The Jewish population grew significantly in the 1930s and 1940s through migration from the former Pale of Settlement and mass evacuations in 1941–42, when over 100,000 Jews from the European part of the USSR were brought to Kazakhstan. The number of Jews living in Kazakhstan grew from 3,600 in 1936 to 19,200 in 1939 and to 28,000 in 1959.


The Jewish population of Kazakhstan is difficult to estimate. Hebrew University demographer Sergio DellaPergola estimated that the Jewish community of Kazakhstan numbered between 2,700 and 6,500 as of 2009 (the estimates of local Jewish organizations are substantially higher.) Today, about 2,000 Kazakh Jews are Bukharian and Juhuro Mountain Jews. There are synagogues and large Jewish communities in Almaty, where there are 1,000 Jews, and in Astana and Pavlodar. Smaller communities are in Karaganda, Chimkent, Semey, Kokchetav, Dzhambul, Uralsk, Aktyubinsk, and Petropavlovsk.

Religious and Cultural Life

There are synagogues in Almaty and in Chimkent, as well as a Jewish library in Almaty.

Jewish Education

There are more than 11 schools with some 650 students in 11 different communities.


The Jewish Agency for Israel sponsors a moadon (youth center) in several cities, the largest in Almaty. It is a popular hangout for Jewish teens and provides instruction in Jewish culture, history and Hebrew.

Relations with Israel

Israel and Kazakhstan have maintained full diplomatic relations since 1992.

Embassy of Israel
Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan
Asia Center, 11th floor
8 Auezov Street

Tel. +7 3272 507 215/8 Fax +7 3272 506 283


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