The last day we had the unique opportunity to visit the village Mudju Haftaran and its last Jew- the living momument of what Gorsky Jewish life used to be. In the 19th Centruy Jews started to settle Mudju Haftaran making it an etirely Jewish village. They spoke Tatzki (Gorsky Jewish language that orginated from the Iranian language). In the 1950s the Jews had started to leave the village and in the 70s they moved to into different parts of the world. Their village remained until today.
We had the tremdeous honor to meet Meir, the only Jew who didn't leave. Below is a movie about the Gorsky Jewish life in Mudju Haftaran and Meir's peronal story.
Here we took a picture in Shamakhi, an ancient Azerbaijan city. Some went even more south and visited Vartashen (Oğuz ).
Our wonderful trip is coming to an end; we can't believe it's already time to return home!
Nervertheless, we are exited to go back to New York and see all of you again!
After a crazy week of touring and exploring, Shabbat was exactly what we needed.
Friday night we went to the Gorsky Synagoge in Baku, Saturday morning for Shacharit we visited the Georgian Synagoge and for Mincha we were at the Ashenazi Shul.
Wherever we went we mentioned that we are a group of Gorsky Jews from New York and expressed our appreciation to the local Jews in Baku for being so welcoming and treating us so warmly. No matter where we are all from, which languages we speak, how we look and how for how long we are already exiled, we are brothers and sisters and form one Jewish nation together. In Baku we were able to feel this unity and closeness very deeply.
During Shabbat almost all of our Leadership Fellowship participants gave Divrei Torah (short Torah speeches). Many mentioned that they didn't have any Jewish friends before they became part of the program. Now they have build strong friendships with each other and are very thankful that they have been given th...
This is Yanar Dag -- meaning "burning mountainside", or also called "eternal flame” is a hill with natural gas burning on its slope from ancient times, located 25 km to the north from Baku, in Mehemmedi village. Tall flames dance restlessly across a 10-meter stretch of hillside, making a hot day even hotter.
Then we continued to our next trip destination- the Gobustan State Reserve, located west of the settlement of Gobustan, about 40 miles southwest of the centre of Baku. It was established in 1966 when the region was declared as a national historical landmark of Azerbaijan in an attempt to preserve the ancient carvings, mud volcanoes and gas-stones in the region.
Gobustan State Reserve is very rich in archeological monuments, the reserve has more than 6,000 rock carvings, which show primitive people, camel caravans, pictures of sun and stars and many more on the average dating back to 5,000-20,000 years. The Gobustan State Reserve is UNESCO World Heritage.
Today we visited Quba, a peaceful country town famous for its apple orchards and carpet making, located in the foothills of Great Caucasus.
Quba has been inhabited by Jews since the 13th century. In 1742, the Khan of Quba gave the Jews, who were being persecuted by Islamic fundamentalists, permission to settle opposite his town. The settlement was organized without fear of discrimination, retribution, or clashes with neighboring towns and states.
The flourishing community of 18,000 people became known as Yevreskaya Sloboda or Jewish settlement, but was renamed as Krasnaya Sloboda when the Bolsheviks came to power. The town experienced many hardships during the Soviet time. The communists closed eleven synagogues and exiled rabbis to Siberia. However, Jews were shielded here from the horrors of Nazi-occupied Europe when World War II was breaking out. Today, seven synagogues have been preserved. They are all built of bricks, and the larger ones are decorated with onion domes (second pict...
Our Leadership Fellowship team travels to Baku, exploring Gorsky roots in the land of fire.
Leadership Fellowship is a RAJE/ Beit Juhuro organized, elite program, uniquely designed for Gorsky-Kavkazi Jewish students and young professionals between the ages of 18 and 30 enabling them to explore and experience their Gorsky Jewish identity and develop their own unique leadership potential. After 20 weekly sessions that took place from November 2018- May 30th 2019, the graduates are rewarded with free trip to Baku.
The weather is great, everyone is exited, we are ready to rock Baku!
Here are is Leadership Fellowship group chilling in the park outside this funky, modern Flame Tower buildings next to the Sehindler Xyabani mosque, enjoying the Azeri atmosphere after. The towers were build by the famous Iraqi-British female architect named Zaha Hadid, and it’s very futuristic-looking!
After a long day we enjoyed Azerbaijani food in a traditional ambiance at the new kosher restaurant called 7/40....
May at Beit Juhuro was full of meaningful events. One of them was the commemoration the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, followed by candle lighting and saying Tehillim together. Another powerful moment was when our Beit Juhuro, Leadership Fellowship students Albert Israilov and Sabina Agamiyev, visited Yura Prizov, who miraculously survived the German occupation in the Caucasus and had the chance to conduct an interview with him. The interview and Yura Prizovs miraculous story can be found on our Facebook page.
On Lag Baomer, the Yorzeit of Shimon Bar Yochai, Beit Juhuro hosted almost 200 people for the celebration. Some of the high lights were the Kabbalistic canlde lighting ceremony, a big Barbecue, music, presents for our little ones and face painting. We are incredibly proud of our Leadership Fellowship participants who planned and realized the whole event, from wrapping presents to marinating and grilling meat till 3 o'clock in the morning. They truly proved themselves t...