Members: Fewer than 1,000
The largest Jewish community: Oslo
The Jewish community in Norway is relatively small, numbering just 1,500, and is described by some as “the northernmost Jewish community in the world”. As is common in most Scandinavian countries, the Jewish community in Norway is concentrated mostly in the capital, Oslo. However there is a significant Jewish community in Trondheim too, home to the “northernmost synagogue in the world” which sits just 500 kilometers from the Arctic Circle.
For many years, Jews were forbidden from living in Norway, so country’s Jewish history is quite limited. A small number of Jews were allowed to enter Norway after the expulsion from Spain however, allowing for a small population to develop, and in 1687 the country passed a law that Jews were banned from Norway but those that were caught were jailed or deported. The ban remained until 1851. After many attempts by a Norwegian politician and a number of local activists, the ban on immigration of Jews to Norway was lifted and Jews there even received status equal to that of Christians.
The first Jewish community in Norway was established in Oslo in 1892, and grew steadily up until World War II. Jewish refugees entered country and the Jewish community grew to number 2,100 in the 1930s. During the Holocaust, however, most of the Jews were sent to concentration camps and those who managed escaped to Sweden or elsewhere. In 1946, due to the toll of the Holocaust, there were just 559 Jews living in Norway.
In Norway today there are two synagogues: one in Oslo and one in Trondheim. In Oslo there is even a Jewish community center which includes a Jewish preschool, a Heder and even a small Kosher market. There’s also a Chabad representative in Norway.