AZOV (Turkish, Azak):
By: Herman Rosenthal
A town in the government of Ekaterinoslav, Russia, on the left bank of the Don, about twenty-four miles from Rostov and five miles from the sea. In ancient times it was an important business center, belonging to Greece and known under the name of "Tanais." The Pontic king Mithridates conquered it in 115
Jews have lived in Azov since they began to settle in the Crimea and in the neighboring provinces, probably in the first century
Azov is mentioned in an epigraph on the first page of a Pentateuch written in Azak, stating that one Shabbethai, son of Isaac, during his illness, on the twenty-ninth of Marḥeshwan, 5035 , presented this Bible (twenty-four books) to the "Karaite Synagogue in Kirim" (D. Chwolson, "Yevreiskie Nadpisi," p. 217, St. Petersburg, 1884). Another epigraph, written on a board in the Karaite synagogue in Theodosia in 1404, relates to Isaac, son of Moses, and Sarah, daughter of Moses, and to the mother of their mother, Kellah of Azak (Azov), who "have put up this board in the synagogue of the community of Kaffa, the community of the Karaites" (ib. p. 209).
Of the 25,488 inhabitants in 1892, about 600 were Jews, who had a synagogue and a Talmud Torah.
- Entziklopedicheski Slovar, i. St. Petersburg, 1891; G. Barbaro, Viaggi Fatti da Vinetia Alla Tana, in Persia, etc., Venice, 1543, passim; Kostomarov, Ocherk Torgovli Moskovskavo Gosudarstva 16 i 17, Vyekov, pp. 13-14, St. Petersburg, 1889.