Introduction / History
Jews represent the oldest monotheistic religion of modern times. Because of the uniqueness of their history and culture, all Jews have a strong sense of identity. Persecution of and discrimination against the Jews have been the historical reasons for their migrations and settlements around the world.
The Jews of Europe arrived on the continent at least 2,000 years ago during the early days of the Roman Empire. Since then, they have been a significant influence in the history and culture of Europe. Much of what is considered "Jewish" today finds its roots among the European Jews.
One of the unique features among European Jews is the distinction between the Ashkenazic Jews and the Sephardic Jews. The word Ashkenaz is derived from a biblical word for the larger Germanic region of Europe. Therefore, Ashkenazim Jews are those whose ancestry is linked to that area. This group traditionally speaks the Yiddish language, which is a German dialect that has Hebrew and Slavic elements. There are two basic Yiddish languages, one is called "Western" and the other is called, "Eastern." The latter developed in Eastern Europe and Russia.
Where are they located?
Eastern Yiddish speakers are all over central and eastern Europe, including tiny Latvia.
What are their lives like?
In Latvia, Jewish people look and dress like everyone else, so people often don't know they are Jewish. Jewish people don't regularly face anti-Semitic behavior, but few of them hold political power. Like the people of the other two Baltic States, (Lithuania and Estonia) Latvian Jewish people use Russian as a trade language.
What are their beliefs?
This Jewish community in Latvia tends to not be very religious. They celebrate Jewish holidays together as families and in their synagogues. Judaism provides them with more of a sense of identity than a way to fill a spiritual need.
What are their needs?
The Eastern Yiddish speakers in Latvia need spiritual hunger to seek and find their messiah.
* Pray for Latvian believers to reach out to the Jewish community in love.
* Pray for a spiritual hunger among Yiddish speaking Jews that they will seek and find their messiah.
* Pray for Yiddish speaking rabbis to emerge who will disciple others in the ways of Yeshua, Jesus.
Text source: Keith Carey