"Jews began to settle in Birzh in the 16th or at the beginning of the 17th century. Tradition maintains that they came as a result of an invitation from Prince Christopher Radzivil (1547-1603) who wanted to promote local economic development. First a group of "Karaites" settled in Birzh and only later, in the middle of the century, also "Rabbinic" Jews settled there. The prince promised to protect them from their Christian neighbors, but in 1662 the Protestant liberal Prince Boguslav Radzivil, who was generally kind to Jews, submitted to the demands of the Catholic residents of the town and the Jews were expelled.
The "Karaite" community in Birzh was first mentioned in a letter of Khaham (Rabbi) Zerakh ben Nathan in 1625 in connection with a fire that harmed the town. It was a very poor community.
A list from 1669 shows that taxes paid by the Karaites were a third less than those paid in previous years, as a result of the decline in their economic situation. The Karaites lived in specific streets and had their own synagogue and cemetery. The Karaites, like the Jews, suffered from persecution by the rulers and their Christian neighbors. In the 18th century the presence of the Karaite community came to an end and their synagogue was passed on to the rabbinic Jews."