THE MOUNTAIN JEWS History. Ethnography. Culture
Compiler & editor V. Dymshits
Editorial manager Y. Begun
Foreword by M. Chlenov
There is no single opinion on the origin of the Mountain Jews community. Yet they, themselves, zealously keep the legend that they are the descendants of the Biblical "lost ten tribes of Israel". The language, some traits of social culture and religious rituals bring the Mountain Jews community close to Jewish communities of the Iran and Middle Asia which are branches of the ancient Babylonian exile, dating back to the destruction of the First Temple.
Traditionally many of the Mountain Jews communities take up their residence in towns and mountain villages situated in the Eastern Caucasus (North Azerbaijan and Dagestan).
Since the collapse ofthe USSR in consequence of mass emigration communities of Mountain Jews have arisen in the USA and Germany, in big Russian cities. The largest community ofthe Mountain Jews emerged lately in State of Israel, a historical Homeland of the Jews - the country, which holiness was highly honored by the Mountain Jews during centuries.
Prof. M. Chlenov, a renown academic ethnographer, writes about the Mountain Jews: "In last years they became a part of urban life in the cities, where before only a few of them could be seen — in Moscow and Petersburg, in Tel Aviv and Vienna... People often mix them up with some others. For Muscovites they are 'azers', a part of large mass Caucasian emigrants. For Germans and Austrians they are Turks, which are now ordinary to the middle-German landscape. In Israel the Mountain Jews are somewhere in the middle between 'russim' — many hundred thousands emigrants from former Soviet Union, and 'sfardim' — huge masses of emigrants from Arab countries. And one can very often hear questions: Who are they, these Mountain Jews?"
This book gives answers to such questions. It based on the translation from Hebrew ofthe monography "The Jews of Eastern Caucasus" by Prof. M. Altshuler, of Jerusalem University. The translation was adapted to be suitable for this publication and it was added by several other sources, including ones written by the editor V. Dymshits. The book consists of 8 sections and 31 chapters.
1.Socio-Political History of Mountain Jews
3.Demographic Processes and Settlement Pattern
4.Religious Life and Customs
5.Community, Genus, Family
8.Mountain Jews and Land of Israel