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|Regions with significant populations|
Tarsan Jews, also referred to as Jewish Tarsans, are Tarsan citizens or their foreign descendants who are Jews, either by religion, ancestry, or both. Tarsan Jews, by their namesake, are Jews who live in, or are descendant from persons who did live in, Tarsas. Outside of Yisrael and Sydalon, Tarsas may have the oldest recorded continuously Jewish community in the world. At over one million ethnic Jews, it is also considered the largest Jewish diaspora.
- 1 History
- 2 Demographics
- 3 Religion
- 4 Contemporary politics
- 5 Contemporary culture
- 6 Notable Tarsan Jews
- 7 See also
Jewish settlement in modern-day Tarsas dates to the late antiquity, when a remnant of the Jews fled the Latin Empire in 70 CE after the Latin destruction of the Second Temple. The original remnant families traveled eastward to avoid Latin control; by the 280s they had arrived in now-Tarsas, then a collection of Hellene city-states.
The community struggled to survive amid an overwhelming pagan culture and being a small minority in a part of the world unused to Jews and Jewish customs. However, by the time written and physical communication was re-established with the Jewish homeland in the petty states of the Talmudic era of the 400-600s CE, proto-Tarsan Jewry were settled and thriving commercially.
In the 950s, the Tarsan Empire arose, and the Emperor of Tarsas granted the Jews special rights and privileges in exchange for helping fund his war effort against the Hashimid Caliphate as well as to provide loyal and capable advisors and bureaucrats for his service.
By the early 1000s, this relationship had led to the Tarsan-Yisraeli alliance, in which Tarsan forces conquered large swathes of Northern Scipia previously under Muslim control and assisted in the overthrow of Muslim rule in modern-day Yisrael, facilitating the establishment of the Greater Yisraeli Governorate over Yisrael, proto-Sydalon, and proto-Fakolana until the Sydalene Crusades of the 1230s.
In the 1300s and 1400s, Tarsan Jewish merchants and explorers helped the Tarsan Empire expand its borders and become enriched by the flourishing commercial trade of the Prama Straits.
Tarsan Decree of 1000
Considering the serious religious problem of residing in a deeply pagan and hedonistic society, the Tarsan Jewry corresponded with the Gadol HaDor (Jewish sage of the generation), Gershom ben Yehuda, who paskened (ruled) in c. 1000 CE that because of pikuach nefesh (the supreme Torah principle of the preservation of life that controls over all but a handful of other Torahic laws), Tarsan Jews may live and operate in the pagan Tarsan society and serve the pagan Emperor but that the local Jewish communities must build strong anti-assimilationist "fences" carefully without insulting their Tarsan neighbors. In response, local Tarsan Jewish communities ensured that Jews lived close to each other in self-segregated areas, and limited social interaction with non-Jewish Tarsans to business and court affairs as much as possible.
1324 Request from Maradi Jews
In 1324, the representatives of several Jewish communities located in modern-day Marad (then under the Husaynid Caliphate) sent messengers to the Chief Rabbi of Tarsas Osher ben Yechiel, asking for him to become their posek (Jewish legal decisor) and pledging to follow his religious rulings if he sent students from Tarsan yeshivas to head the pulpits in their synagogues and if he agreed to rule on various questions of Jewish law for them.
Chief Rabbi Osher agreed to their request, and Jews in Marad became tied to the chief Jewish authorities in Tarsas, creating a relationship that later historians would point to as the point proto-Maradi Jews became part of Tarsan Jewry.
Early modern era
Between 1500 and 1700 CE, the Jewish population doubled. Trade through the Straits and across North Scipia provided amble revenues to enrich the Jewish communities, some of whom had become ennobled by the Imperial Court for service to the crown. The late medieval and early modern eras saw the emergence of merchant banks which solidified ever-closer ties to the monarchy and the Jews. The Tarsan Empire, at its height between 1610-1850, relied in large part in generous Jewish loans to fund its wars and modernization projects.
Early modern innovations in ship and land travel shortened the trip between the Grand Duchy of Yisrael and later the Kingdom of Yisrael from 2-3 months by ship or 6-9 months by horse or carriage to 4 weeks by steamship or 4-6 days by train by the 1840s and 1850s.
In the Era of Great Nationalism, over 300,000 Tarsan Jews made aliyah to Yisrael between 1820 and 1920 in response to nationalistic calls for diasporic Jews to return and help strengthen Yisrael as a modern power.
Significant population centers
A plurality majority of Tarsan Jews (40%) reside in Tarsas proper. About 200,000 or half of the population lives in and around Civitas Tarsae in distinct ethno-religious Jewish neighborhoods. Another 70-90,000 live in Marvius, while about 25-30,000 live in the city of Inonesus on the Prama Straits. About 90-110,000 live in the southern desert cities of Neapolis and Tingi, where there are large mining concerns that have heavy Jewish involvement.
About 39% of ethnic Tarsan Jews live in Yisrael. There are large Tarsan Jewish communities throughout the country, with communities in every major city about 50,000 residents. A large Tarsan Jewish community in Yerushalayim is part of "Little Civitas Tarsae", an ethnic Tarsan neighbor in the inner suburbs of the capital city.
Observances and engagement
Notable Tarsan Jews
- Roth family (early 1700s - present): A prominent and increasingly global ethnic Tarsan Jewish social, business, and political elite family that currently lives in Yisrael. The Roths own the largest conglomerate in the country, the Roth Group, and have relatives who hold political power such as the current Mayor of Yerushalayim and high-profile bankers in the Belisarian Community.
- Binyomin Hanasi (1990 - present): A rising political and business icon in Tarsan society, he is the youngest elected deputy in the Grand Synod of Tarsas.