TALLINN (Ger. Reval; Rus. Revel), capital of Estonia. Jews are mentioned in municipal documents from the 14th century. In 1561, when Tallinn was captured by the Swedes, Jewish settlement was prohibited and remained so until 1710, when the city was annexed by Russia. Although outside the *Pale of Settlement, Jewish merchants visited Tallinn and some even settled there, only to be expelled subsequently. In 1828 Jewish conscripts were brought there to be educated in a *Cantonist institution. These youths, as well as other Jewish soldiers stationed in Tallinn, founded the local Jewish community. There was a synagogue founded in 1856 as well as a Jewish cemetery. At that time there were about 60 families of Jewish soldiers in the city. After 1856 they were joined by other Jews permitted to reside outside the Pale of Settlement, and thus the Jewish population grew considerably. In 1897 it numbered 1,193 (2% of the total). The community continued to develop after the establishment of independent Estonia, numbering 1,929 in 1922, and 2,203 in 1934. By that time there was a network of Hebrew educational institutions from kindergarten to secondary school. With the annexation of Estonia to Soviet Russia in 1940, organized Jewish life came to an end (see *Estonia). In 1959, 3,717 Jews were registered in Tallinn (1.3%), of whom 25% declared Yiddish to be their mother tongue. In 1970 there were 3,754 Jews, dropping to around 1,000 in 2005 due to emigration mainly to Israel. In 2005 the Jewish community of Tallinn had a synagogue, community center, kindergarten, Sunday school, summer camp, and burial society. In September of 2005, ground was broken in Tallinn to build the first new synagogue in Estonia in almost a century
K. Yoktan, Di Geshikhte fun di Yidn in Estland (1927); N. Genss, Zur Geschichte der Juden in Eesti (1933); idem, Bibliografia judaica Eestis (1937).
[Yehuda Slutsky /
Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.