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Far-Eastern province of the former Soviet Union, north of Manchukuo, bordering the Amur River. The region was set aside by the Soviet government for Jewish colonization on March 28, 1928. On May 7, 1934, Birobidjan was officially declared an autonomous Jewish region. Yiddish was to be the official language of the area in all educational, cultural, and legal institutions. Jewish communists and communist sympathizers around the world hailed the project as a great Soviet contribution to the solution of the Jewish problem. However, the experiment proved unsuccessful. In contrast to Israel, this desolate region held no national appeal to the masses of Jews. Information about Jewish life in Birobidjan is currently difficult to obtain. However, it is estimated that of the 40,000 original settlers, about 4,200 Jews remain, a small minority of the total population. After World War II, no effort was made to reestablish a Jewish autonomous region in Birobidjan. The Yiddish schools have been eliminated and only one synagogue remains, without a rabbi.

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