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.
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.
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."
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.
* Scripture Prayers for the Jew, Russian in Israel.
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.
|Profile Source: Joshua Project|
|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|
|Population this Country||684,000|
|Population all Countries||1,600,000|
|Progress Scale||1 ●|
|Frontier People Group||No|
|GSEC||2 (per PeopleGroups.org)|
|Pioneer Workers Needed||14|
|Alternate Names||Russian; Russian Jew|
Primary Language: Russian
|Bible Translation ▲||Status (Years)|
|Bible-New Testament||Yes (1821-1991)|
|Possible Print Bibles|
|Forum Bible Agencies|
|National Bible Societies|
|World Bible Finder|
|Resource Type ▲||Resource Name|
|Audio Recordings||Audio Bible teaching (GRN)|
|Audio Recordings||Online New Testament - Central Asian (FCBH)|
|Audio Recordings||Online New Testament - Holy Synod (FCBH)|
|Audio Recordings||Online Scripture (Talking Bibles)|
|Audio Recordings||Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)|
|Film / Video||Father's Love Letter|
|Film / Video||God's Story Video|
|Film / Video||Indigitube.tv Video / Animation|
|Film / Video||Jesus Film: view in Russian|
|Film / Video||LUMO film of Gospels|
|Film / Video||Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)|
|Film / Video||My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)|
|Film / Video||Rivka (Jesus Film Project)|
|Film / Video||Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)|
|Film / Video||The Hope Video|
|General||Four Spiritual Laws|
|General||General Ministry Resources|
|General||Got Questions Ministry|
|General||Open-licensed Bible stories on mobile app|
|General||Walk with the Prophets and meet the Messiah|
|Primary Religion:||Ethnic Religions|
|Major Religion ▲||Percent|
|Christianity (Evangelical 1.80 %)||
|Other / Small||
|Christian Segments ▲||Percent|