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TARTU (Ger. and Swed. Dorpat ; Rus. Yuryev ), city in E. Estonia. A small Jewish community was founded there by demobilized soldiers from the army of *Nicholas i in the 1860s. A synagogue was erected in 1876. The community numbered 1,774 (4% of the total population) in 1897, 1,115 in 1922, and 920 in 1934. There were both Jewish elementary and secondary schools in the city. Jews studied at the University of Tartu from the 1840s; there were 235 Jewish students in 1886 (14.8% of the total number of students). With the Russification of the university and the introduction of a *numerus clausus, the number of Jewish students was reduced, and a further reduction occurred after the establishment of independent Estonia following World War i; from 188 Jewish university students in 1926 their number decreased to 96 in 1934. In 1934 a seminary for Jewish studies was opened at the university under the guidance of the scholar L. Gulkowitsch. He was succeeded by the scholar and educator M.J. Nadel (1893–1936) and by the Hebrew author H.J. Port (1892–1940). The Association for the Study of Jewish History and Literature, founded in 1884, held an important place in the life of the Jewish students. Among the association's first members were Jacob *Bernstein-Kogan (Cohan) and A. Broide; it became a center particularly for the national minded and Zionist students. When Estonia was incorporated in the Soviet Union in 1940, Jewish communal life in Tartu was brought to an end. After the German occupation in 1941 the Jews who did not succeed in escaping from Tartu were murdered.

Some 200 Jews returned to Tartu from the Soviet Union, later joined by Russian-born Jews. In 1967, many of them immigrated to Israel. The city has a Jewish community center.


K. Jokton, Di Geshikhte fun di Yidn in Estland (1927), 25–57. J. Bernstein-Cohen, in: Sefer Bernstein-Cohen (1946), 84–91.

[Yehuda Slutsky /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]

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Tartu (tär´tōō), Ger. and Swed. Dorpat, city (1994 pop. 105,844), E Estonia, a port on the Ema River. The second largest city of Estonia, it is an important industrial and cultural center and a rail junction. Food processing, metalworking, printing and publishing, and the production of leather footwear and agricultural machinery are the leading industries. Tartu's university was founded in 1632 by Gustavus II of Sweden, suppressed in 1656, and reopened in 1802. The city was founded in 1030 as Yurev by Yaroslav the Wise of Kiev. Named Dorpat after its capture by the Livonian Knights in 1224, it developed as a trade center of the Hanseatic League. After the dissolution (1561) of the Livonian Order, the city was contested by Poland, Sweden, and Russia. Gustavus II secured its formal cession in 1629 after a Polish-Swedish war. Captured by Peter I in 1704, during the Northern War, it was ceded to Russia by the Treaty of Nystad in 1721. The name Yurev was revived in 1893, only to be changed (1918) to Tartu when Estonia became independent. In 1920, Soviet peace treaties with Estonia and Finland were signed in the city. Tartu is built around a hill topped by an old fortified castle and a restored 13th-century cathedral (the site of the present university library). The rest of the city dates mostly from the 18th and 19th cent.

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Tartus (tärtōōs´), town (1995 est. pop. 130,000), W Syria, a port on the Mediterranean Sea. Olive oil is pressed, and petroleum, phosphates, fish, and agricultural produce are shipped. The town is the terminus of an Iraqi oil pipeline. Tartus occupies the ancient site of Antaradus. In AD 346 it was rebuilt by Constantine and came to be known, for a time, as Constantia. The town was in Byzantine hands from 968 until 1099, when it was occupied by Crusaders, who also held the town from 1102 to 1291 and renamed it Tartosa. It became famous for the manufacture of camlets, heavy cloths made from camel or goat hair. In 1183 the Knights Templars moved there and fortified the harbor. Tartus is the site of the earliest chapel dedicated to Mary; a cathedral was built around the chapel in the 12th–13th cent.