History of the Jews in Belarus
|Regions with significant populations|
| ||12,926 (2009)-70,000 (2014)|
| ||78,859 Belarusian immigrants to Israel (in the years 1989-2013)|
|Related ethnic groups|
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The history of the Jews in Belarus begins as early as the 8th century.
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Throughout several centuries the lands of modern Belarus and the
As early as the 8th century Jews lived in parts of the lands of modern Belarus. Beginning with that period they conducted the trade between Ruthenia, Lithuania, and the
The origin of Belarusian Jews has been the subject of much speculation. It is believed that they were made up of two distinct streams of Jewish immigration. The older and significantly smaller of the two entered the territory that would later become the
While the origin of these eastern Jews is not certain, historical evidence places Jewish refugees from Babylonia, Palestine, the Byzantine Empire and other Jewish refugees and settlers in the lands between the Baltic and Black Seas that would become part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The later and much larger stream of immigration originated in the 12th century and received an impetus from the persecution of the
The peculiar conditions that prevailed in Belarus compelled the first Jewish settlers to adopt a different mode of life from that followed by their western ethnic brethren. At that time there were no cities in the western sense of the word in Belarus, no
Some of the cities which later became the important centers of Jewish life in Belarus were at first mere villages.