“Scattered Among The Nations” by Bryan Schwartz— The World’s Most Isolated Jewish Communities

scattered among the nations

Schwartz, Bryan. “Scattered Among The Nations”, (with contributions from Jay Sand and Sandy Carter), Weldon Owen, 2015.

The World’s Most Isolated Jewish Communities

Amos Lassen

If you have ever wondered where the most isolated Jewish communities are located, you now have the answers. According to Bryan Schwartz’s studies and research they are in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Former Soviet Union and the margins of Europe.  Some two thousand years ago, a shipwreck left seven Jewish couples stranded India’s Konkan Coast, south of Bombay. They ended up staying and building a community. They founded Bene Israel that to this day is still located India’s Maharasthra Province. Remembering back to your religious school days, we are reminded of the lost tribes of Israel and can only wonder if……..


The authors traveled Jews in thirty countries and five continents to find family stories that go way back. They bring us a book of sixteen chapters that feature photographs and stories of the world’s most isolated Jewish communities, from such places as the hills of northeastern India, on the border of Myanmar, sub-Saharan Africa, in Ghana, on the border of Ivory Coast, the last Jewish villages in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Jews at the heart of the Amazon, Marranos coming out of hiding in Portugal and Mexico and Jewish gauchos and ostrich barons, in the Argentine pampas and the South African veld.


There are over 500 full color photographs and illustrations that accompany these stories and the book took some sixteen years to research and write. This is a very rich visual documentation of the planet’s most isolated and unusual Jewish communities. But even more than that, “it is a testament to the power of the Jewish people, and the connection that binds such different groups into one great tribe”.


We are reminded that we are one nation wherever we may live and this is wonderful documentation of the various places we have lived and kept Judaism alive.


This book is just as much about how our own Jewish community as it is about others and that we have endured regardless of where we are.