Introduction / History
The Mountain Jews have inhabited the North Caucasus region since the 5th century. The Mountain Jews community originated from Ancient Persia and their language, Juhuri is an ancient Southwest Iranian language and a Persian dialect which uses many elements of Ancient Hebrew.
Where Are they Located?
By early 17th century, Mountain Jews formed many small settlements throughout the mountain valleys of Dagestan. During the 18th–19th century, they resettled from the highlands to the coastal lowlands but carried the name "Mountain Jews" with them. By 1926, more than 85% of Mountain Jews in Dagestan were already classed as urban. Mountain Jews were mainly concentrated in the cities of Makhachkala, Buynaksk, Derbent, Nalchik and Grozny in North Caucasus. With changing economic and political realities following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, many Mountain Jews permanently left their hometowns in the Caucasus and relocated to Moscow or abroad. The community has been particularly affected by First Chechen War that saw high incidence of kidnappings and violence at the hands of militants against the local Jewish community. Today, a notable number of Mountain Jews reside in Israel and United States.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Mountain Jews live in the mountainous Caucasus area of Russia, where they have lived peacefully with their Muslim neighbors for many years. Their culture contains a mixture of Caucasus and Jewish elements and their language, which is in danger of being lost, is a dialect of ancient Iranian that integrates Hebrew elements. The Mountain Jews celebrate Jewish holidays and the Sabbath, and the synagogue is the center of Jewish community. They have their own traditional music, dances and foods, which portrays the mix of Caucasian and Jewish culture. These traditions are what bind the Mountain Jews together as they seek to preserve their culture and religion.
* Pray that the Mountain Jews would know that Jesus is the True Messiah and Savior of the world.
* Ask the Lord to soften the hearts of the Jews towards Christians so that they might hear and receive the message of Jesus Christ.
* Ask God to preserve the culture and language of the Mountain Jews so that this people will worship the One True God together.
* Pray that God will use the Mountain Jews' friendly relations with their Muslim neighbors for His good purposes so that ultimately both peoples will together worship, serve, and share Christ.
* Pray that God would open the hearts of the Mountain Jews to Christians and to the Good News of Jesus.
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