Tuesday, January 24, 2017

KAVKAZI JEWS AND PURIM

I once posted about the name hannukah among Karaites here. It turns out that purim was similarly utilized as a surname among the Jews of Sukhumi, the Capital of Abkhazia in the Caucasus:
>>Unlike Derbent, the Jewish population of the Abkhazia capital is not large, about 3.5 thousand people, according to the 1989 census, and had appeared there relatively recently. In 1985, most of them were Georgian Jews; there were also Ashkenazi, Mountain Jews from Vartashen (six families) and Krymchaks. There is little known about the history of the Sukhumi Jews and I haven’t encountered any related studies. The relative literature only mentions the existence of a small Jewish community in Sukhumi. I visited the so called “old” Jewish cemetery. According to Sukhumi Jews, it is the chronologically first Jewish cemetery in the town.
Considering the scarce information available about the Krymchaks, in general, and the almost complete absence of any information about the Sukhumi Krymchaks, in particular, I believe that the cited below list of Krymchak surnames found on the epitaphs of the Sukhumi cemetery might be rather interesting (in parenthesis are the dates of burial or decease):
...........
Purim (1959, 1976)
<<
Source:
http://eajc.org/page34/news23479.html
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Parenthetically, In Derbent the Jews celebrated two days of Purim, as is recorded in Rabbi Yosef Schwartz's Tevuot Haaretz:
טרבנת (ירושלמי מגילה פרק ד' [הלכה ה'] רבי שמעון ספרא דטרבנת). עד היום עיר גדולה בשפת ים כספי המערבית ושם בנינים גדולים חומות ובריח מימי קדם, ואומרים שהם מזמן אלכסנדר מוקדון (וקוראים המגילה (מגילת אסתר) בי"ד ובט"ו). בשנת תר"ב חפרו בה מצד חרבה אחת ומצאו בארץ מנעול רגל בן אדם, ישן ובלוי שארכו יותר משלשה רביעית אמה (ובו נדע ערך גדלות בני האנשים בימים ההם).
See here

Rabbi Schwartz, it should be pointed out, is most likely conflating two very different town with similar names. While it is true, that in Derbent, the Jews read the Megillah on the 14th and the 15th, the Ammora mentioned in the Jerusalem Talmud most likely refers to a native of this town in the Galilee.

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