New milestone: Two decades since founding of World Congress of Mountain Jews

The seminar held ahead of High Holy Days was dedicated to studying of community's heritage and preservation of the local Jewish language Johari.

 Gabriel German Zakharev in Moscow. (photo credit: ELI ITKIN)
Gabriel German Zakharev in Moscow.
(photo credit: ELI ITKIN)

The Caucasian community around the world celebrated two decades of the foundation of the World Congress of Mountain Jews in a seminar and ceremony in preparation for the High Holy Days.

The events took place at the same time in Israel, New York, Moscow, Baku, and Krasnaya Sloboda in Azerbaijan. The founding day of the foundation was dedicated to the study of the community's heritage and the preservation project of the local Jewish language Johari.

At the end of the seminar day, there were meetings of encouragement and ceremonies for the distribution of prizes and scholarships to the members of the community by the Rabbis of the community Yaniv Naftalev and Zamir Isaev, the rabbi of the Georgian community in Baku.

During Hadera's seminar day commemorating the event, Rabbi Naftalev noted that he felt great satisfaction from the renewed flourishing of the culture and community life of the mountain Jews. 

At a rally held at the new community center in Moscow, Gabriel German Zakharev said that even in difficult times, the Jews of the Caucasus continued to live Torah and mitzvot without assimilation, out of the greatness of mind, deep faith and perseverance.

 Rabbi Yaniv Naftalev. (credit: ELI ITKIN) Rabbi Yaniv Naftalev. (credit: ELI ITKIN)

Mountain Jewry

The Jewish Stamagi community, founded by Zakharev's family, has helped a lot in preserving the heritage of Mountain Jewry.

"We will continue to help deepen, nurture and preserve the heritage of Mountain Jewry," said German Zakharev to those present.

"We will continue to help deepen, nurture and preserve the heritage of Caucasus Jewry."

Gabriel German Zakharev

In addition to the language courses available to the general public, "the Russian Academy has approved bachelor's degrees in any subject to do a master's degree in the heritage of Caucasian Jewry and the Johari language," according to him.

The Congress announced that it is proud of the Museum of the History and Heritage of the Jews of the Caucasus, as well, which will soon be inaugurated in the Jewish town of Kirmizi Kasba in Azerbaijan.

About 1,200 members of the community currently live in the town, which will become home to the museum that will, in turn, include exhibits collected from all over the Caucasus, telling the story of the ancient community.