Jewish quarter (diaspora)

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An 1880 watercolour of the Roman Ghetto by Ettore Roesler Franz

In the Jewish diaspora, a Jewish quarter (also known as jewry, juiverie, Judengasse, Jewynstreet, Jewtown, or proto-ghetto)[1] is the area of a city traditionally inhabited by Jews. Jewish quarters, like the Jewish ghettos in Europe, were often the outgrowths of segregated ghettos instituted by the surrounding Christian authorities. A Yiddish term for a Jewish quarter or neighborhood is "Di yiddishe gas" (Yiddish: די ייִדישע גאַס ), or "The Jewish quarter."[2] While in Ladino, they are known as maalé yahudí, meaning "The Jewish quarter".

Many European and Near Eastern cities once had a historical Jewish quarter and some still have it. The history of the Jews in Iraq is documented from the time of the Babylonian captivity c 586 BC. Iraqi Jews constitute one of the world's oldest and most historically significant Jewish communities.

Jewish quarters in Europe existed for a number of reasons. In some cases, Christian authorities wished to segregate Jews from the Christian population so that Christians would not be "contaminated" by them[citation needed] or so as to put psychological pressure on Jews to convert to Christianity. From the Jewish point of view, concentration of Jews within a limited area offered a level of protection from outside influences or mob violence. In many cases, residents had their own justice system. When political authorities designated an area where Jews were required by law to live, such areas were commonly referred to as ghettos, and were usually coupled with many other disabilities and indignities. The areas chosen usually consisted of the most undesirable areas of a city. In the 19th century, Jewish ghettos were progressively abolished, and their walls taken down, though some areas of Jewish concentration continued and continue to exist. In some cities, Jewish quarters refer to areas which historically had concentrations of Jews. For example, many maps of Spanish towns mark a "Jewish Quarter", though Spain hasn't had a significant Jewish population for over 500 years.

However, in the course of World War II, Nazi Germany reestablished Jewish ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europe (which they called Jewish quarters) for the purpose of segregation, persecution, terror, and exploitation of Jews, mostly in Eastern Europe. According to USHMM archives, "The Germans established at least 1,000 ghettos in German-occupied and annexed Poland and the Soviet Union alone."[3]


Jewish Quarter of Třebíč, Czech Republic
The entrance, called the "Port de la Calandre", to the Jewish Quarter in Avignon, France
Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of Troyes, France
Jewish cemetery of Legnica, Poland
Czech Republic
United Kingdom


Artifacts from the Jewish Quarter, Casablanca, Morocco
  • Cairo — Harat Al-Yahud Al-Qara’In and Harat Al-Yahud


  • Damascus – Harat Al Yehud, a recently restored tourist destination popular among Europeans before the outbreak of the Syrian civil war where vacationers can stay in the neighborhood and beautified former homes of the completely vanished ancient Jewish community.[8]


  • Caracas — San Bernardino, Los Chorros, Altamira, Los Caobos and Sebucán
United States

Other regions

In the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa there are a number of neighborhoods or small towns, generally in large cities or outlying communities of such, which are home to large concentrations of Jewish residents, much in the manner of old-world Jewish quarters or other ethnic enclaves, though without exclusive Jewish population.


  1. ^ Dik Van Arkel (2009). The Drawing of the Mark of Cain: A Socio-historical Analysis of the Growth of Anti-Jewish Stereotypes. Amsterdam University Press. p. 298. ISBN 978-90-8964-041-3.
  2. ^ "The Virtual Jewish History Tour – Vilnius". Retrieved 10 October 2012.
  3. ^ "Enciclopedia del Holocausto".
  4. ^ reports, Property Editor Tommy Barker (29 October 2021). "€285k home in Cork's Jewish quarter has chutzpah in spades". Irish Examiner. {{cite web}}: |first= has generic name (help)
  5. ^ "Jewtown – Simon Lewis".
  6. ^ "MUHBA El Call".
  7. ^ "Iraq's Kurdish Jews Cautiously Return to Homeland".
  8. ^ "Jewish Quarter of Damascus blooms again". The Jerusalem Post |
  9. ^ "Rockland County". Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  10. ^ "New York State". Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  11. ^ Doris, Tony. "NEW: Demographic study reveals Palm Beach County's Jewish community bucks national trend". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 3 June 2021.

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