General Information of Tajikistan Jewish Organizations
The center for Jewish public and religious life in the state since the mid-1990s is the Religious Jewish Community of Tajikistan, created on the basis of the synagogue in Dushanbe (chairman since August 2005 Valery Davydov, rabbi since 1996 Mikhail Abdurakhmanov). The Religious Jewish Community of Tajikistan is part of the Central Asia rabbinate, the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, the World Congress of Bukharian Jews, and the World Congress of Russian Jewry. A new Jewish public society appeared in Tajikistan in 2003 – the Akhdut (Unity) organization, whose chairperson is G. S. Dzutseva.
2009 saw resolved the long-standing problem of the synagogue building in Dushanbe, which had intensified in June 2008 with the demolition of the old building. Following a number of meetings and consultations between EAJC President Alexander Mashkevich and President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, it was decided that a new building would be constructed. Famous banker and philanthropist, chairman of Orientbank, Khassan Asadullozoda, gave the community an old mansion in the town center as premises for the synagogue. Its opening ceremony took place on May 4, 2009. A representative delegation of the EAJC, leaders of Bukharian communities in Israel, the USA, Austria, and Russia, U.S. ambassador to Tajikistan Tracey Ann Jacobson, local businessmen, and journalists from the entire world were in attendance. However, in January 2010 it transpired that the community had not gone through re-registration at the Ministry of Culture, and its functioning was suspended.
The community receives charitable aid from the Tajikistan Foundation in New York, funding protection and beautification of the Jewish cemetery, and the community’s employees’ wages. In the past, sporadic support has been received from the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress and the Russian Congress of Bukharian Jews. Chesed Tiqva (Bishkek) has been helping out in Dushanbe since June 2004. The community’s activity is severely limited by a lack of financing. In the last three years, the Jewish community received $4,400 from the EAJC in financial aid, used for a Rosh Hashanah celebration on September 20, 2009, a seder ceremony at Pesach 2010, and purchasing matzos. Some of the money went towards material aid for the neediest members of the community, and towards keeping a soup kitchen by the synagogue for three months (June, July, August 2009).
Diplomatic relations between Tajikistan and Israel were established in1992. There is no embassy or consulate of Israel in Tajikistan. The post of Israeli ambassador to Tajikistan is occupied since 2010 by Shmuel Merom, who is also the ambassador to Armenia. There is a Sochnut repatriation office in Dushanbe, coordinated by O. Moldavskaya.
Anti-Semitic tendencies in the state are mainly generated by the opposition Islamist Islamic Renaissance Party (IRP) and the underground Islamist party Khizb-ut-Takhrir. During Operation Cast Lead, carried out by the IDF in the Gaza strip in January 2009, the IRP spoke out harshly against Israel several times. The party attempted to organize an anti-Israeli demonstration in Dushanbe, but met with the prohibition of the authorities.
The “turn” of the Tajik government towards Iran is notable as well. President E. Rahmon announced his support of Iran’s nuclear program, which he characterized as peaceful, after Iranian president M. Ahmadinejad’s visit in January 2010.