Kareli Jewish Cemetery
Kareli is a town in Shida Kartli, Georgia, located on the right bank of the Mtkvari River. Kareli was first recorded as a village in documents from 1715 and was a property of the Tsitsishvili noble family. In 1981, it received town status under the Soviet government. Since 1939, it has been the administrative centre of the Kareli district. According to Eldar Mamistvalishvili, Jews lived in Kareli for a long time, however, there is scarce recorded information about their life and occupations until the 19th century. Zakaria Chichinadze stated that Jews moved from Zovreti to Kareli in the 16th century. At the beginning of the 20th century about 400 Jews lived in Kareli, they had a synagogue and a Hakham (rabbi). In the 20th century, the migration of the Jews of Kareli to Gori and to Tbilisi, and later to Israel, led to the almost complete disappearance of Kareli’s Jewish community.
There were two Synagogues in Kareli. The first synagogue was built in the 19th century and was rebuilt in 1990 after the fire. Today the synagogue is no longer active. The second synagogue was built in 1902 by Rabbi Abram Tsitsuashvili. It suffered some damaged following an earthquake in 1940, after which it was rebuilt and used as a matzah bakery. The Jewish cemetery in Kareli dates to the 19th century and was active until the second half of the 20th century, before the period of Aliyah (Jewish immigration to Israel). While most burials in the Kareli Jewish cemetery date to the 1970’s, the earliest legible tombstone is from 1906, and the most recent tombstone is from 1998.