may date back
2700 years. Today, there is but one: Zablon Simintov
, of Turkmen-Afghan descent, is a carpet trader and the caretaker of the only synagogue in Kabul
Zablon had a feud
with Ishaq Levin, the second-to-last Jew of Afghanistan.
The two, together (but in separate rooms), lived in the ruins of the last remaining synagogue in Kabul starting in or around 1998, but quickly had a falling out: Simintov suggested that Levin, then in his late 70s, move to Israel, to escape the bitter cold weather in Kabul. Levin took it as an affront, the two quarreled
, and each reported the other to the Taliban for various alleged wrongdoings. Each ended up imprisoned by the Taliban.
Ishaq died in 2005
. "I was glad when he died. I didn't speak to him for years. He tried to get me killed.
Last year, Zeblon transformed the ground floor of his synagogue
in to a commercial space
. Zeblon lives upstairs, in a small pink room. He slaughters his own chickens and sheep in keeping with kosher dietary laws. Normally, only a specially designated person can do this, but Simantov said
he got permission to do so from a rabbi in Uzbekistan because he's going it alone.
The majority of Jews of Afghan descent, including Zeblon's wife and children, now live in Israel, with the second largest population based in Queens
In other Afghan Jewry news:
A trove of medieval scrolls
, smuggled out of Afghanistan into the hands of London art dealers, could shed new light
on a once-vibrant Jewish heritage.
Former synagogues in Western Afghanistan, until recently disused, are being converted into schools
A recent essay: The story of the Afghan Jews is one of remarkable tolerance