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Kishinev is the political, administrative, industrial, scientific and cultural center of the Republic of Moldova. The word Kishinev means “a spring". According to other sources, kishlak nou is of Tatar origin and means “a new settlement”. The land on which modern Kishinev is situated was first mentioned in the gift deed written by Stephan the Great in 1466. This year is considered to be the date of founding the settlement that later became known as "Kishinev". From the 16th century to 1812, Kishinev as part of the Moldavian principality was under Turkey's power. Twice during this period it was burned and destroyed. However, after the unification with Russia and thanks to its advantageous geographic position on the trade route from Iasi to Bendery and the Crimea, the population and the territory of the city increased.
The population of modern Kishinev numbers about 800,000 representing 40 ethnicities.
First mentioning of Jews as Kishinev residents refers to the beginning of the 18th century. According to the census of 1897, the Jewish population of Kishinev was more than 50,000 people, i.e. as high as 46% of the total city population.
In 1903, Kishinev suffered the notorious "Kishinev Pogrom" when 49 Jewish people were killed or died of wounds and approximately 500 were injured. The Pogrom was probably the most significant event in Moldova's Jewish history, foreshadowing further persecutions of its Jews that culminated in the Holocaust several decades later. However, the Pogrom was also a decisive turning point for the Jewish community, helping them to realize the need for a national independence and a Jewish state. News of this pogrom spread throughout the world and it also became the topic of Bialik's famous poem "Al Hash'kita" ("On the Slaughter").
Before World War II there were 77 synagogues and about 70,000 Jews in Kishinev. 53,000 perished during the Holocaust. In the present time about 15,000 Jews and Jewish family members reside in Kishinev.
Besides all-republican organizations, in Kishinev are active such organizations as the Association of Jewish Organizations and Jewish Communities of Moldova, JCC "KEDEM" , the "Hesed Yehuda" Welfare Center, Jewish Community Center/Jewish Library, Jewish school #15, Teodore Herzl Jewish Lyceum, Jewish kindergarten, Chabad Liubavitch synagogue, Yeshiva Agudath Israel, Hillel Students' Club, TV and Broadcast programs.
The development and strengthening of the Jewish Community of Moldova during the last years revealed the need of creation of a “home” where each and everyone will find a niche for spiritual, cultural, educational development, answers to questions, activities based on interest and social protection. The idea of the Jewish Campus in Kishinev is to unite, under the same roof, the key community Jewish organizations in order to optimize the effectiveness of their activities. Due to the support of major sponsors Irwin and Joan Jacobs (USA), UJA Federation of Greater Toronto(www.jewishtoronto.net) Claims Conference, Posner family (USA) and JDC this idea was implemented.
On September 13, 2005 the Kishinev Jacobs Jewish Campus opened its doors in front of the members of the Jewish Community and guests that came to share this special event. The event gathered together the main sponsors of the project, JDC board members, Diplomatic Corps, representatives of Moldova Jewish organizations, etc.
The Kishinev Jacobs Jewish Campus is designed to provide welfare, community and religious services to children, youngsters, middle-aged and elderly, under the same roof. It is situated in the heart of the city and has 3,000 sq. m ready now to serve and satisfy the needs of the members of Moldova Jewish Community.
Kishinev Jacobs Jewish Campus is standing on the place of the “Woodcutters’ synagogue”. The synagogue was built yet in 1830’s. During the Soviet times in the building there were situated offices, chemical laboratory, and garages.