At the present time, it is known that Eastern European Jews have a significant Eastern Mediterranean element which manifests itself in a close relationship with Kurdish, Armenian, Palestinian Arab, Lebanese, Syrian, and Anatolian Turkish peoples.
And in a religious sense Armenian's and Jews share a common ancestry, based on Noah. The Armenian people are descended from Noah's son Japheth, while the tribes of the Hebrew kingdom are descendents of Noah's sons Shem and Ham.
There are direct links between the races, first recorded by Movses Khorenatsi in his History of Armenia. In his history he writes that during Nabukhadnezzar's reign, when he fought against the king of Egypt and Joachim, the king of Jerusalem, King Hratchia (descended from Haik), gave him an army for which service and assistance he received a great number of Hebrew salves whom he settled in different parts of the country. Before Nabukhadnezzar's reign, the Assyrian King Sanassar had killed the king of Israel Osee, in 739 BCE, and demolishing Samaria, had sent ten tribes beyond the Euphrates to Southern Armenia. Among the Jews taken captive by Hratchia, there was a man by the name of Kh'mbat or Smbat-Bagrat, the progenitor of the Bagratuni dynasty in Armenia. Hratchia appointed Smbat to very important positions.
Khorenatsi wrote, "Bagratunis come from Smbat. Some say they come from Haik, but this is wrong. The Bagratunis only gave the name Smbat to their sons. It is a Hebrew name and is actually Kh'mbat. Smbat is the beginnning of the dynasty that eventually rules Kars, Ani and Georgia.
The original data on the Jewish settlements in Transcaucasia are related to the 4th – 3rd cc. B.C.
In the first century BCE, Tigran the Great resettled some 10,000 Jews in Armenia following his retreat from Palestine. The Byzantine historian Faustus wrote that the number of Jews who converted to Christianity in the 4th century numbered 40,000.
More specific data, however, on the Jews residing the Old Armenia, are lacking. It is nonetheless possible that in the remote ages there was a certain number of Jews in Eastern Armenia, which is incidentally corroborated by a recently discovered archeological evidence of a Jewish cemetery in Eghegnadzor (currently under investigation).
After the Russo-Persian war in the 19th c. and the annexation of Armenia by Russia, a Jewish community resettled to Armenia from the region of Urmia, Salmast and Khoy (Northern Iran). Those were mainly members of the Kurdish Jewish subethnic group, the so-called Kurdish Jews, speaking the Assyrian language.
The Kurdish Jews that settled in Yerevan, counted 924 by the census of 1897. By that time there was a synagogue in Yerevan. Later the community relocated to Georgia.
The most recent wave arrived during the World War II, as Armenia offered a safe haven for those driven away from the Nazi-occupied parts of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine.
Currently Jews make up a very small portion of the population, no more than a thousand. Many immigrated to Israel after the breakup of the Soviet Union. After seven decades under Soviet rule, the remaining are coming forward to assert their Jewish identity. Recently, a cultural center and a Sunday school were opened to provide a place to teach the history of Judaism and Hebrew. Almost two hundred students, half of whom are adults, are now enrolled in the school. Two synagogues are known to exist, one in Yerevan, and the other in Giumri. The one in Yerevan conducts services.