The project is devoted to the study of the Mountain Jews’ community of Pyatigorsk and the identification of its structure in diachrony and in synchrony by the use of methods of economic anthropology, sociolinguistics, ethnography. This community was founded in the late Soviet period and over the past 30–40 years has become the largest Jewish community in the North Caucasus region. For example, in 2016 the city was given the informal status of Mountain Jews’ capital in Russia and Transcaucasia. Its uniqueness is that a new Jewish community with its own special characteristics in the context of the disappearance of many diaspora communities. In modern times this center of Mountain Jewish consolidation is being constructed, which is competing with historically older compact settlements of Mountain Jews in the region (Derbent in Dagestan and Kuba / Krasnaya Sloboda in Azerbaijan) for the symbolic status of “Caucasian Jerusalem”.
The Mountain Jewish community of Pyatigorsk is a complexly organized community with a new urban combined identity of the places of “exodus” (the local origin of ancestors), traditional forms of professional employment, and language activity. It is planned to conduct a series of expedition to Pyatigorsk and other places in Russia and Israel, in order to dynamically study the process of formation of a local Jewish community, its members identities, social and economic organization. According to the results of the project will be prepared a collective monograph in Russian.
Head of the project:
Prof. Mikhail Chlenov, Academy named after Maimonid (Russian State University named after A.N. Kosygina, Moscow)
Dr. Anna Kushkova, researcher at the Interdepartmental Center “Petersburg Judaica” (European University at St. Petersburg)
Vladimir Kolesov, independent researcher (Krasnodar)
Arusyak Agababyan, independent researcher (Krasnodar)
In the picture: synagogue in Pyatigorsk, Stavropol region, 2021.