Cherkasy (Ukrainian: Черкаси, transliterated: Čerkasy, pronounced [tʃerˈkɑsɪ]) or Cherkassy (Russian: Черкасcы), is a city in central Ukraine. It is the capital of the Cherkasy Oblast.

There have been Jews in Cherkassy for almost 500 years. Jews settled in the city in the 16th century. However it is known that Jews were in the city previously, from 1487-8, and from 1500. In 1581, Jewish wine merchants were beaten and robbed by Cossacks. In the days of the Decrees of 1647-8 – the Chmelnitsky massacres, Jews fled from the city.

The massacres began in June 1648. As the Cossack leader approached the city, in 1664, the local population murdered the Jews and the Poles. After this, no Jews lived in the city until the end of the 17th century.

Cherkassy. Postcard at the beginning of XX century
Cherkassy. Postcard at the beginning of XX century

The Jewish community re-appeared in the city at the beginning of the 18th century but suffered greatly from Haidamak attacks. Zhelezniak’s forces captured the city in the second half of May 1768. They killed many of the Jews and expelled the rest of them. This caused a huge drop in the Jewish population. However, the Jews did own property in the city.