JEWS or TAT
(Own name: Djohur or Chufut)
Caucasian people who live primarily in the urban centers of Dagestan
and Kabardino-Balkaria Since the 1950s two thirds of all Jews
have emigrated, nearly all to Israel. The wave of emigration has
accelerated since the borders were opened in 1991. The name Tat
derives from the language spoken, and Soviet and Russian statistics
regularly enumerated both Jewish and Muslim Tat in one group.
The designation Mountain Jews derives from the fact that they,
contrary to the other Jews, live among the mountaineers of the
Caucasus. The names Djuhur and Chufut are two local varieties,
Western and Eastern respectively, probably derived-through Turkish
- from an Arab version of Jahud, i.e. Jew, or from an Iranian
word for people of different faith.
Mountain Jews probably descend From Jews who immigrated or were
transferred to the region from Persia in the fifth or sixth centuries
with the objective of forming military colonies and defending
the Transcaucasus against raids of nomads from the North.
They assimilated linguistically to Tat, a southwestern Iranian
language. Many assimilated with the ruling Islamic classes in
the North Caucasus. Others retained their religion, and until
the Russian conquest contact with other Persian Jews was regular.
Djuhur adapted themselves in many aspects to the cultures of their
environment and were an integral part of Caucasian life.
This information is taken from "The North Caucasus: Minorities
at a Crossroads" written by Helen Krag and Larsh Funch.