Yad L'Achim Campaign Gives Caucasus Jews Spiritual Boost

The cover page of a 102-year-old copy of a Caucasi (Enlarge)

Caucasus Jews, known as “Mountain Jews,” are enjoying an unprecedented spiritual revival in Israel, thanks to a new program launched by Yad L'Achim.


The approximately 80,000 Jews who immigrated from Azerbaijan and Dagestan have had to overcome many hurdles in Israel that left their community weakened spiritually.


Recognizing the problem, the heads of the community have been working in conjunction with Yad L'Achim to rehabilitate the spiritual foundations of this proud, committed group.


Yad L'Achim chairman Harav Shalom Dov Lifschitz convened an emergency meeting of the community's leaders this summer to discuss how to turn the situation around. After sessions that stretched on late into the night, it was decided to launch a campaign to register the Caucasus children in chareidi schools and to publish a siddur that is translated into Caucasian.


In the wake of that meeting, Yad L'Achim volunteers ran a registration drive this summer, going door to door to provide information to parents on how sign their children up at chareidi schools.


At the same time, Yad L'Achim spent weeks searching for a copy of a siddur that survived the trip from the Caucasus. The effort was crowned with success as a siddur was found and then re-typeset and edited.


After two months of painstaking work, Yad L'Achim's publications department last week issued a beautifully bound siddur with Caucasian translation and had it distributed to communities around the country.


Noting the enthusiastic feedback the siddur generated, Rav Lifschitz said that it was serving as an incentive for Caucasus Jews to come to shul and to grow spiritually.


He added that it is important to duplicate these efforts on behalf of other communities and exiles that have gathered in the Holy Land.

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