Russian Jew in Israel

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

Jews in Russia can trace their historic roots back to over 1,500 years ago. At one time they made up the largest diaspora of Ashkenazi (European Jewish People) Jews in the world. Migrating northward from the areas around the Black Sea, the Jewish people established a presence in the region of Kiev (Ukraine-Russia) in the 10th century and in the Crimea in the 13th. Starting in 1772 and continuing to 1793 Russia gained lands from Poland. The areas they gained were occupied by large Jewish communities. This became known as, "Russia's enigmatic acquisition," and in the span of several decades Russia found itself governing a Jewish population estimated to be up to 800,000 making this the largest community of Jewish people in world at the time.
Throughout Russia's long history there have been several periods of anti-Semitic persecution. Currently there are some efforts in Russia to allow the Jews to have more religious freedom. However, most Jews in Russia are very skeptical and they want to leave Russia to live in Israel. Other issues also have given them cause to want to immigrate to Israel. These include the decline in economy, increase in crime and most significant is the deterioration of personal freedom in the 2020s. Russian Jews have been flooding into Israel partly because they feel they are looked down upon in Russia.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Russian Jewish immigrants feel right at home in Israel among their Russian speaking peers. The largest population of Russian immigrants live in the beautiful, coastline city of Ashdod in southern Israel. Walking down Ashdod's streets one will never know you are in Israel. The voices you hear are in Russian, the smells of food are Russian, and they are frequently drinking their favorite alcoholic beverage, vodka.
Russian Jews are proud of their Russian culture; however, they are mostly assimilated into Israel's society. Yet, no matter how long Russian Jews have lived in Israel they remain somewhat culturally separated. They like to be together and are very proud of their Russian language, music, literature, food and culture. All of these set them apart from other Israelis.
They often come with advanced education degrees and professional qualifications in the areas of medicine, science, education, and business. For this reason, they are a big asset to Israel's economy. They join the Israelis in every part of the society including the workplaces, the army, politics, schools, universities, and businesses. Those who aren't as fortunate, especially those who have trouble mastering Hebrew, have had to take low paying jobs in hotels or construction.
Their continuous immigration from Russia has impacted the enormous need for housing in Israel. New settlements are being developed in what was once defined as the Arab "West Bank" especially outside of Jerusalem. Some conservative Israeli Jews feel there should be restrictions on the number of Russian Jews being allowed in Israel.

There is a lack of Russian-speaking evangelists in Israel.
What Are Their Beliefs?

Russia has been a center of change from Orthodox Judaism to reform Judaism. The Russian Jews are basically Jewish by ethnic identify and have little understanding of their Jewish history according to the Hebrew Scriptures. Almost 75% of Russian Israeli immigrants are secular or Reformed Jews. They participate in major Jewish Holidays like Hanukkah or Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), but that is as far as they were willing to take it.
For some, coming to Israel opened a new spiritual life. They began to study the Torah, pray at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem and attend Sabbath services in the Synagogues. To paraphrase a quote from one of them, "When I first arrived in Israel I didn't know about Judaism and about Hanukkah, for example. But now I do, and I like it."

What Are Their Needs?

 Russian Jewish people have been through much suffering in their past due to persecution and political upheaval in Russia. Some have given up on God, and they put their hope in humanity instead of the Lord. They need to know that God sent Jesus to bless them with his saving grace. Several Messianic Jewish believers have said that they have found that the Russian Jews are one of the most open Jewish people to the gospel.

Prayer Points

Pray these Jewish believers will reach many Russian Jews in Israel with God's saving grace.
Pray that the social isolation of the Russian Jewish people in Israel will work in favor of allowing believers to develop friendships with them so they can be God's Witness.
Pray that the Russian Jewish people as they begin for the first time to read the Old Testament will draw close to God in knowing His love for them!Ask the Lord to use Israel as an incubator for a Russian Jewish movement to Christ.

Scripture Prayers for the Jew, Russian in Israel.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2007-12-05
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-12-09
People Name General Jew, Russian-speaking
People Name in Country Jew, Russian
Natural Name Russian Jew
Pronunciation RUSH-un joo
Alternate Names Russian; Russian Jew
Population this Country 714,000
Population all Countries 1,639,000
Total Countries 6
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 1  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 14
People ID 14600
ROP3 Code 108454
Country Israel
Region Africa, North and Middle East
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Country Israel
Region Africa, North and Middle East
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Map of Jew, Russian in Israel
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Religion Subdivision: Judaism
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 1.80 %)
2.00 %
Ethnic Religions
84.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
14.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Russian (714,000 speakers)
Language Code rus   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Russian (714,000 speakers)
Language Code rus   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Russian

Primary Language:  Russian

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1815-1993)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1821-1991)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1875-2016)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings Online Audio Scripture Talking Bibles
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video God's Story video God's Story
Film / Video Video / Animation Create International
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Russian Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Love letter to you from scripture Father's Love Letter
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels Bible Media Group/LUMO
Film / Video Magdalena video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video My Last Day video, anime Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Rivka video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children Jesus Film Project
Film / Video The Hope Video Mars Hill Media
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Bible for Children Bible for Children
General Biblical answers to your questions Got Questions Ministry
General Four Spiritual Laws Campus Crusade for Christ
General General Ministry Resources General / Other
General Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
General Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2023  Dimaris - Shutterstock  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source People Group location: Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Joshua Project  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.