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Jew, Latvian in Latvia

Jew, Latvian

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Jew, Latvian in Latvia map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
5,300 Latvian, Standard Ethnic Religions 0.00 % 0.00 %   

Jew, Latvian in Latvia

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Introduction / History
Jews have lived in Latvia for centuries. Before World War I, Jews played a major role in the development of the country's industries, commerce, and banking. Discrimination by the government, however, brought ruin to many Jews in the country. The majority were forced into small trade in the suburbs of Riga and in the provincial towns.

Local Latvians began to persecute the Jews immediately after the German invasion of 1940. By the time World War II was over, more than 90% of Latvia's Jewish population had been exterminated in the Holocaust. Today, Latvia's Jewish population consists of the descendants of Jews who came to Latvia after the war from various parts of the Soviet Union.

What are their lives like?
The family structure of Latvian Jews is monogamous (one wife, one husband), and the line of descent is matrilineal (lineage traced through the female). All marriages in Latvia are official civil ceremonies. A couple who wishes to have a religious ceremony in the synagogue is required to have an official civil ceremony afterward.

In the past, Jews in Latvia were particularly active in various industries such as timber, beer brewing, tobacco, hides, textiles, canned foods, and flour milling. About half of the Jews were engaged in commerce, the great majority in medium or small sized trades. There were no Jews in government positions, but today Latvia may still have one Jewish member of parliament.

Because the majority of Jews in Latvia are from other former Soviet nations, Russian is the primary language spoken. Bread and boiled potatoes are the staples of their diet. They also eat apples, beef, cheese, and cucumbers, when available.

Latvian Jews wear typical European clothing, although the style of the clothing might already be dated. The majority of the Jews in Latvia live in apartments built with bricks and cement. However, the quality of the building materials varies. The Latvian Jew are permitted to own property.

Today, the Latvian Society for Jewish Culture is the leading communal organization in Latvia. There is a Jewish school in Riga with 500 children who are learning Hebrew and Yiddish. The Jewish community also runs a children's theater and choir. A Jewish hospital is also in operation.

What are their beliefs?
During the era of Soviet rule, expression of religion was harshly repressed. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, religious freedom was reestablished.

As a whole, Jews in Latvia today do not observe the religious tenets of their Jewish faith, but there is a movement active in promoting the observances of Judaism. This Chabad movement has established the Lubavitcher sect, a very traditional branch of Hasidic Judaism that stresses outreach to other Jews. This sect follows and observes the teachings of a particular rabbi and his sons after him. They have once again begun to observe Jewish festivals and traditions. For example, they have begun to hold bar mitzvahs for teenage boys. Often, a bar mitzvah marks the first time that a young man and his family have ever entered a synagogue.

What are their needs?
The majority of Latvian Jews today are not able to enjoy full civil rights, having lived in Latvia for only a few decades. There have been a number of incidents of anti-Semitism against the Jews, including acts of violence.

Religious freedom has brought many people of Latvia into the churches. Evangelical denominations are rapidly growing. However, the Latvian Jew have remained largely untouched by the revival of Christianity. Even so, there is a small, but thriving, group of Messianic Jews in Riga.

Prayer Points
* Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers to the Jews of Latvia.
* Ask God to anoint the Gospel as it goes forth via radio in their area.
* Pray that God will give the Messianic Jews of Riga boldness to share the Gospel with their own people.
* Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
* Ask the Lord to save key leaders among Latvian Jews who will boldly declare the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
* Pray for a vigorous Latvian Jew church, to the glory of God's name!

View Jew, Latvian in all countries.

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2007-02-22
Global Prayer Digest: 2018-03-26
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Country: Latvia
Continent: Europe
Region: Europe, Eastern and Eurasia
10/40 Window: No
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Country Map:Political map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Jew, Latvian
People Name General: Jew, Latvian Speaking
ROP3 Code: 115646
Joshua Project People ID: 19237
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 5,300
Population all Countries: 5,300
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Jews
People Cluster: Jews
People Name General: Jew, Latvian Speaking
Ethnic Code: CMT35
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Latvian, Standard
Language Code (ISO): lvs    Ethnologue Listing
Secondary Languages:
Yiddish, Eastern (Unknown)
Total Languages: 2
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.00 %(Evangelical: 0.00 %)
Ethnic Religions85.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious15.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1637-1994
New Testament:
Complete Bible: 1689-2008
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio RecordingsFather's Love Letter
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament (FCBH)
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project ...
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Latvian, Standard
Film / VideoMy Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / VideoStory of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
GeneralFour Spiritual Laws
GeneralGod's Simple Plan
GeneralGot Questions Ministry
Text / Printed MatterBible: Latviešu Jaunā Derība
Text / Printed MatterBible: Revised Latvian Bible
Text / Printed MatterCartoon Gospel tract
Text / Printed MatterJesus Messiah comic book
Text / Printed MatterWorld Missionary Press Booklets
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Jew, Latvian in Latvia

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Jews     Europe, Eastern and Eurasia    
      Jew, Latvian Speaking Latvia    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Jew, Latvian in Latvia          
      Religion Language  
      Ethnic Religions     Latvian, Standard  
    All Religions                              

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