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MOLDOVA (formerly Moldavia), independent democratic republic belonging to the CIS, which proclaimed its independence in May 1990. In 1979 it had 80,100 Jews and in 1989–65,800 (of whom 35,700 lived in Kishinev). Emigration in 1989 was 4,304 (3,702 from Kishinev). Immigration to Israel in 1990 amounted to 12,080 (7,578 from Kishinev); the corresponding figures the following year were 17,305 and 9,487. The estimated Jewish population at the end of 1991 was 28,500.

The first Jewish organizations in Moldova included the Moldova-Israel Friendship Association (established in November 1991), the Moldova-Israel Foreign Trade Association, and the Jewish Museum. The monthly Jewish newspaper Nashgolos began appearing in March 1990. In June of that year the paper printed an interview with Prime Minister Mircea Druk, who stated that he had never concealed his revulsion for antisemitism and stressed the need to normalize relations between Moldovans and Jews. The prime minister also came out in favor of education in Hebrew for Jews in the republic.

Moldovan Jews appeared to be concerned about their future. Not a single Jew was elected to the Supreme Soviet in 1990. A law was passed making knowledge of the Moldovian language mandatory: this created difficulties for the basically Russian-speaking Moldovan Jews. Intensive Jewish emigration was renewed in mid-1992 in the wake of fighting in Transnistria. Both the Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency began operating in Kishinev. Direct flights from Moldova to Israel started in January 1992.

At the end of 1993 there were an estimated 15,000 Jews in the Republic of Moldova, and by 2000 their number had dropped to 5,200. In an effort to revive Jewish life, a Chabadrun synagogue opened its doors to the community.

In March 1994 the old Jewish cemetery was desecrated in Kishinev. There were several instances of anti-Jewish violence.


U.O. Schmelz and S. DellaPergola in AJYB, 1995, 478; Supplement to the Monthly Bulletin of Statistics, 2, 1995, Jerusalem; M. Beizer and I. Klimenko, in Jews in Eastern Europe, 1 (24) 1995, 25–33; Antisemitism World Report 1995, London: Institute of Jewish Affairs, 167.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.