There is archaeological evidence supporting the existence of Jews in Georgia as early as the first century C.E. According to Georgian sources, Jews arrived in Georgia in the 6th century. The Jews of Georgia referred to themselves as Ebraeli and spoke Georgian as their mother tounge. By the end of the 14th century, the Jews had become serfs and continued in this capacity for 500 years. In the 1860's, the Russians' abolished serfdom, and the Jews began to move to towns and cities where the developed communal life. At its peak, the Jewish population in Georgia was estimated to be about 100,000. By 1970, this population was reduced to about 43,000. Over the next ten years, about 70% of these Jews left for Israel. Today, the Jewish population is about 13,000.
Kutaisi is a community in central Georgia. The Jewish community is over 200 years old, and today it numbers about 1,000 persons. There are three synagogues which are still in use. The postally used card below is a landscape of Kutaisi from the early 1900's.
Encyclopedia Judaica, CD-Rom Edition, Keter Publishing
Copyright © 2005 Edward Victor