From Mount Ararat to Mount Sinai:

The Jews of Armenia

Thursday, September 5

USA 12:00 pm PT / 3:00 pm ET

UK 8:00 pm / France 09:00 pm / Israel 10:00 pm

The talk will last approximately 90 minutes

About this talk

The first contacts between Jews and Armenians date back to antiquity, and there is evidence of Jewish settlements in the Armenian Highlands dating as early as the 1st century BC. But there are traces of Jewish communities in various locations of Armenia, including the village of Yeghegis, which maintains a well-preserved Jewish cemetery, with tombstone inscriptions in Hebrew dating back to the 13th century.

Currently, the Jewish community of Armenia is estimated at around 500 – 2000 people, who mostly reside in the cities of Yerevan, Vanadzor, and Sevan. The majority consists of descendants of Ashkenazi Jews, who fled Eastern Europe and relocated here, finding a safe haven before and during World War II.

At present, Yerevan's Mordechai Navi Synagogue is home to the spiritual life of the country's Jewry, offering regular services as well as Hebrew classes to young people. Representatives of the community are actively involved in the cultural, public, and social life of the country. The community runs several organizations as well as the newspaper "Magen David", which enables the Jews of Armenia to learn about the recent developments in Armenia, Israel, and the Jewish world in general.

This is the story of a community that strives to celebrate Judaism beyond the fact of simply having Jewish roots.

About Lasha

Lasha Shakulashvili was born and raised in a family of ethnic Georgians, who only spoke Georgian at home. As a fifth generation Tbilisian, Lasha grew up in one of the most multicultural and multi-faith cities of the world and was surrounded by the Georgian, Russian and Yiddish-speaking vibrant communities of Georgia's Jewry. His childhood inspired him to earn a PhD degree in Jewish Studies.

Lasha has graduated from various academic programs at the Paideia - The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden (Isaac Bashevis Singer Fellow 2021/2022), Tel Aviv University and Inaugural Yiddish Program at the University of Oxford. He has previously worked for the Permanent Mission of Georgia to the United Nations and holds the European Union-supported prize on diversity reporting.

Currently, Lasha is a lecturer of Yiddish language and culture at the Tbilisi State University in Georgia and is undertaking research at the National Library of Israel. Apart from his native Georgian, Lasha speaks English, Russian, Yiddish, Latvian and Hebrew.

You will be asked to select one of these options:

General admission - $18

Supported admission - $9

Sponsor this talk  - $36

With your contribution, you will also be donating to the Yiddish Theater of Tbilisi, whose crew includes actors with Jewish, Georgian, and Armenian heritage.