While doing some research for one of my upcoming projects I came across an article written about the last documented Jew in Afghanistan. My curiosity kicked in and I ended up reading a string of articles about him and about the Jewish history of Afghanistan. So here is a little summery of what I found and if you are interested in reading deeply into this topic, the links to the articles I read can be found below.
Afghanistan was once home to a large community of Jews with a rich history going back even further than the 7th century. But due to the civil war that was raging in the country for more than 30 years and related migrations the number has come down gradually to a single digit number. Most of the Jews originally from Afghanistan migrated to outside countries such as Israel, USA and Europe and even today proudly presents themselves as Afghan Jews.
Today the only remaining Jew living in Afghanistan is Zablon Simintov who was born in Herat in 1959. He is a carpet trader, a restaurant owner and also the caretaker of the only functioning synagogue in Afghanistan located on Flower Street in Kabul.
When Zablon first came to Kabul he was welcomed by one other Jew named Isaak Levi and they both lived at the site of the synagogue in harmony. But as time passed by the air between the two got bitter and long story short (I’ll spare you the gruesome details) the two did not reconcile even until the death of Isaak in 2005. The spat between the two got so much attention that even a British play by the name of “The last two Jews of Kabul” was produced based on it.
Today Zablon solely keeps alive the traditions of the Jewish way of life in Afghanistan. He lives alone, prays alone and even has obtained permission and training to slaughter his own meat in line to kosher dietary laws. Zablon’s wife and two daughters currently lives in Israel and when asked why he does not move, he answers simply “What business do I have there?”. His answer shows the deep love he has for this country which he calls home and his undying ambition to keep the Jewish history alive in Afghanistan along with his passion to preserve his heritage for generation to come.
(Source- https://en.qantara.de/content/judaism-in-afghanistan-kabuls-one-remaining-jew, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zablon_Simintov, http://www.aish.com/jw/s/The-Jewish-History-of-Afghanistan.html, http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/132099/a-congregation-of-one )