TASHKENT, capital of Tashkent district, Uzbekistan. Tashkent was conquered by the Russians in 1865. Previously there was a small community of Bukharan Jews living in a special quarter there. Russian rule improved the legal status of the Jews, and many Jews from neighboring *Bukhara consequently settled in Tashkent. Although Jews from European Russia were prohibited from settling in Tashkent under czarist rule, a small community of Russian Jews who belonged to categories permitted to settle outside the *Pale of Settlement was formed there during the second half of the 19th century. In 1897 there were 1,746 Jews in the region of Tashkent, most of whom lived in the town itself. On the eve of World War I about 3,000 Jews lived there and maintained Jewish educational and cultural institutions in which the language of instruction was Hebrew. A Tajiki-language Zionist newspaper, Raḥamim, was published. With the establishment of the Soviet regime, the Jewish cultural and religious institutions were gradually liquidated and the Zionist newspaper was replaced by a Communist one, Bairaki Huriet ("The Flag of Freedom"). During the 1920s and 1930s Tashkent became one of the centers to which active members of the Zionist Organization and members of the pioneering youth movements were exiled. During World War II Tashkent became one of the most important absorption centers for refugees from the German-occupied regions. Many remained in the town after the war, and a large Jewish settlement was thus created.
In the 1959 census 50,445 Jews were registered in Tashkent (5.5% of the total population), most of them newly arrived Ashkenazi Jews and a minority of old-time Bukharan Jews. There was one synagogue for Ashkenazim and two for Bukharans all in the same compound. In 1963 the organized baking of maẓẓot was prohibited, but Jews continued to bake them at home. The synagogue buildings were damaged in the 1966 earthquake in the area; the Bukharan Jews repaired their synagogue, while Ashkenazim moved to a new synagogue building. Tashkent Jews applied for exit permits to Israel, particularly from 1968. After the mass exodus of the 1990s only a few thousand Jews remained in Tashkent, which maintained an active community center as part of the general revival of Jewish life.
Voskhod, 5 (1885), 1413–14; 6 (1886), 450–1; A. Neimark, in: Ha-Asif, 5 (1889), 74–75; E. Tcherikower (ed.), In der Tkufe fun Revolutsye (1924), 356–66; A. Rudnitski, Shanah be-Rusyah (1945), 193–7; I. Ben-Zvi, Niddeḥei Yisrael, ed. by A. Reuveni (1965), 165–6, 175 (= The Exiled and the Redeemed, 1957).