Bukharian (Farsi-speaking) Jews first appeared on the territory of today’s Tajikistan in the 17th-18th centuries. Ashkenazi Jews joined them in the 20th century – many of them refugees during the Holocaust years. In 1959, the Jewish population of Tajikistan was estimated at 13,400. This number dropped to 11,000 in 1989. The only institutional setting functioning in the Soviet period were the synagogues in Dushanbe and Khujand (then Leninabad).
Because of the general instability in the late 1980s and early 1990s (there was a civil war between 1992 and 1997), most of Tajikistan’s Jews have emigrated, primarily to Israel, but also to the United States and Russia.