Mountain Jewish in United States

Main Language
Largest Religion
Ethnic Religions (Judaism)
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Tat People of the Caucasus Region possibly hold both the most complex ethnic history and the most complex present-day changing dynamic of the 45 people groups of the North Caucasus. Most experts conclude that the Jewish Tat (also known as Mountain Jews) and the Muslim Tat come from ancient separate origins, but over many centuries, both function from the same Tat language. The Tat language is from the Persian family of languages originally spoken in southwest Persia (Iran). The Judeo Tat dialect is based on the Tat language with many Hebrew-Jewish words mixed in. Tat Jews/Mountain Jews assert they were originally Jews from the 10 northern tribes who were settled in the Assyrian Empire and eventually began using the local language of the region where they lived. Muslim Tats hail originally from the same region and were also part of a northward migration—or military resettlement by the Persian Empire—into the Caucasus Region, starting in the early A.D. era. The situation was further complicated when the Soviets lumped these two groups (Muslim and Jewish) together because of their commonly shared language.

Where Are they Located?

At the peak in the mid-20th Century there may have been at least 50,000 Tat Jews in Dagestan and 40,000 in Azerbaijan. Massive emigration to Israel by Tat Jews from both countries picked up pace in the 1980s and 90s—leaving present estimates of Jewish Tat populations in the eastern Caucasus at such a low level one wonders if they still live there. You are more likely to find them in Azerbaijan or Israel. One fourth of them live in Brooklyn, New York, and about half now live in Israel. There are also smaller numbers in Canada.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Mountain Jews have a traditional family structure. Males were the heads of their patrilineal (descent traced through the males) extended families. The parents of the groom sent a matchmaker to the parents of the bride, and both dowry and bride-price had to be settled before the engagement. Now, a pattern of separate nuclear families is becoming predominant, especially in Canada and the United States. Whenever possible, they marry members of their own community.

What Are Their Beliefs?

For religious Jews, God is the Supreme Being, the Creator of the universe, and the ultimate judge of human affairs. Beyond this, the religious beliefs of the Jewish communities vary greatly. Orthodox Jews generally follow the traditional religious beliefs and practices found in the Jewish literature that interprets Scripture regarding ethical, religious, civil, and criminal matters. Reform Jews do not believe that God reveals the Jewish Law. They are not restricted to kosher foods. They neither wear the skullcap (yarmulke) when praying nor use Hebrew in prayer. All religious Jews believe in the coming of a Messianic Age, but only the Orthodox Jews look for a personal Messiah. Many Jewish people keep cultural Judaism, but they have rejected the spiritual elements taught in the Old Testament. They might take part in cultural events and even religious ceremonies, but they are secular or New Age in their spiritual lives.

What Are Their Needs?

Each Jewish community in the United States needs to be introduced to Jesus, their Messiah. There is a great need for faithful intercession for the Jews if they are to come to an understanding of the gospel and a saving knowledge of Christ.

Prayer Points

Pray for a complete and accurate Bible translation into the Tat language. Pray for a spiritual hunger among the many Jewish Tats in the United States who view their "Jewishness" as an ethnic identity but with no religious belief. Pray that Jewish people in North America will understand that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah. Pray that Christian materials will be translated accurately and distributed widely to Jewish Tat speakers in the United States.

Scripture Prayers for the Jewish Tat, Mountain Jewish in United States.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Jewish Tat, Mountain Jewish
People Name in Country Jewish Tat, Mountain Jewish
Natural Name Mountain Jewish
Pronunciation MOUN-ten joo
Alternate Names Bik; Caucasian Mountain Jew; Jewish; Judeo-Tatic; Juhuri; Mountain Jews; Tat
Population this Country 10,000
Population all Countries 105,000
Total Countries 4
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 10839
ROP3 Code 116827
ROP25 Code 303368
ROP25 Name Jewish
Country United States
Region America, North and Caribbean
Continent North America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Country United States
Region America, North and Caribbean
Continent North America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked

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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions (Judaism)
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
100.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Judeo-Tat (10,000 speakers)
Language Code jdt   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Judeo-Tat (10,000 speakers)
Language Code jdt   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Judeo-Tat

Primary Language:  Judeo-Tat

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (2011)
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Judeo-Tat Jesus Film Project
General Scripture Earth Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Photo Source Adam Jones - Flickr  Creative Commons 
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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