YEVPATORIYA


YEVPATORIYA (Eupatoria; in Jewish sources the Tatar name of the city Göslöw [Koslov] is also found), city on the western shore of the Crimean peninsula, Ukraine. A large Jewish community existed there under Tatar rule from the 15th to 18th centuries. The Russian conquest at the end of the 18th century caused much suffering to the Yevpatoriya community, many of whom fled to Turkey. At the time of the Russian annexation of Crimea there remained approximately 100 Karaite families and a few Rabbanites (Tatar-speaking *Krimchaks). During the 19th century the Karaite community in Yevpatoriya became the largest in Russia and the spiritual center of the Karaites. The chief Karaite ḥakham of Russia had his seat in Yevpatoriya. His status as leader of the community was recognized by the Russian government in 1837. A Hebrew Karaite press (Göslöw press) was established there in the 1830s and functioned until the 1860s. Abraham *Firkovich published the works of the early Karaites there. A school for cantors, headed by the Karaite Hebrew author Elijah *Kazaz, was established in 1894. There was a magnificent Karaite synagogue in Yevpatoriya, and the community had a museum and library containing many rare manuscripts and books. In 1897 the community numbered 1,592 Rabbanites (mainly of Lithuanian or Ukrainian origin) and 1,525 Karaites (together forming 18% of the total population). There were pogroms in Yevpatoriya in 1905. After the 1917 Revolution, the last Karaite ḥakham moved to Constantinople. The Jewish population (both Rabbanite and Karaite) numbered 2,409 in 1926 (10.6% of the total). Toward the end of the 1920s several Jewish agricultural settlements were established northeast of Yevpatoriya. After Crimea was occupied by the Germans, at the end of 1941, the Rabbanite Jews in Yevpatoriya were murdered, but the Karaites escaped, not being regarded as Jews.

[Yehuda Slutsky]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.