Vizit of Rafael Nektalov to Baku


Being in Baku, at the invitation of the Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan, Rafael Nektalov, editor-in-chief of The Bukharian Times, coordinator of the Congress of Bukharian Jews of the USA and Canada, visited the establishment founded by Levi Leviev in the capital of the country in September 2002, with the support of the Or-Avner Foundation, Jewish school “Or-Avner” (in 2010 it received an official license).

– I have previously visited this amazing school, where children of Mountain, European and Georgian Jews of Baku study, and, as a Bukharian Jew, it is especially pleasant that it was created with the active assistance of the President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev by the President of the World Congress of Bukharian Jews Levi Leviev and named in honor of his father, Rabbi Avner Leviev, – said R.B. Nektalov to the author of these lines. – Soon she will turn 20 years old, which will coincide with the centenary of the country’s President Heydar Aliyev.
When I was in Baku in 2021, on the days of the celebration of the first anniversary of the victory of the Azerbaijani people in the Patriotic War against the Armenian invaders, along with the presence of the flags of Turkey and Pakistan in the city, Mountain Jews took to the streets with the flag of Israel and beat the shofar.
Despite the absence of an Azerbaijani embassy in Israel, there are serious economic and cultural ties between the two countries. At present, a tourist office has been opened in Tel Aviv, which has given impetus to the development of tourism relations between Azerbaijan and Israel.
The number of Israeli citizens who visited Azerbaijan in 2019 amounted to 47 thousand people. This means an increase of 17.3% compared to 2018. Although the number of such Israelis dropped sharply during the pandemic, it began to rise steadily in 2021, with the gradual opening of borders.
There are three Jewish communities in Azerbaijan: Mountain Jews, Ashkenazi Jews and Georgian Jews. In general, the number of Jews is 16 thousand people: 11 thousand Mountain Jews, of which about 6 thousand live in Baku, 4000 in Guba and Krasnaya Sloboda, and about a thousand in other cities; 4.3 thousand Ashkenazi Jews, most of whom live in Baku and Sumgayit; about 700 Georgian Jews.

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Rafael Nektalov visited the Jewish cemetery, which has a small area where Bukharian Jews are buried.
– Vadyaev is buried here (unfortunately, the name is not known). The Vadyaevs were related to the Poteliahov brothers. They were part of the government of the Autonomous Turkestan Republic in Kokand, which existed for several weeks, then urgently left the country, fleeing the Bolsheviks, R. Nektalov said. – So the Bukharian Jews – the richest merchants and entrepreneurs of Central Asia came to Baku to follow to Jerusalem, and from there to London or Paris. Some of them stayed and lived there for many years. On the territory of the cemetery there is a separate area where Ari Suleimanov, his wife Mira Lvovna, as well as the Ilyaevs and Kandinovs are buried. Some restoration work is currently required.

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Rafael Nektalov met with vice-rectors for scientific and educational work of the Azerbaijan State University of Culture and Art.
On May 12, he will head to the city of Shusha, Karabakh, where the international festival “Kharibulbul” opens.



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