The Mountain Jews of Azerbaijan

Thanks to Tim Dee for directing me, via his Twitter feed, to a piece by Joshua Cohen on the Mountain Jews of Azerbaijan, extracted by Tablet Magazine from Cohen’s new book of essays, Attention, which Fitzcarraldo Editions will publish on August 14. It’s educational, entertaining and — as Tim Dee says — in places  exhausting. (Cohen, who lived and worked for half a dozen years as a journalist in Eastern Europe, is not a writer to waste research: “Both Nisanov and Iliev were born in the most venerable of the Mountain Jewish auls, Quba. Pronounced Guba. Actually, they’re from a Jewish enclave located just outside Quba, which in Azeri is called Qırmızı Qəsəbə, and in Russian is called Yevreiskaya Sloboda (Jewish Town), though under the Soviet period its name was changed to Krasnaya Sloboda (Red Town).”) Don’t try to read it on a phone.

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