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How God Nisanov and Zarakh Iliev contribute to the preservation of national traditions

23 September 2019


Place of unity

At the initiative of Russian entrepreneurs God Nisanov and Zarakh Iliev, the Community center of the Mountain Jews Association was opened in Moscow. Now the diaspora has the opportunity to feel even more united and gather for fellowship and collective prayers more frequently. Read how the center will contribute to the preservation of the unique cultural and historical traditions of Mountain Jews - which is one of the main areas of charitable activities of God Nisanov and Zarakh Iliev.

Spiritual kinship

The traditions of the Mountain Jews are ancient and extremely abundant. Earlier, the place of concentration of the mountain jewish communities was mainly the territory of modern Azerbaijan and Dagestan. The owners of the Kievskaya Ploshchad Group of Companies, one of the largest development companies in Russia God Nisanov and Zarakh Iliev are descendants from Azerbaijan. They were born and raised in a unique place called Krasnaya Sloboda. Since about the middle of the 18th century it has been one of the centers of Orthodox Judaism in Azerbaijan.

The first emigree Jews, who later became known as mountain Jews, appeared here about two thousand years ago. Nevertheless, residents of Krasnaya Sloboda still revere and preserve the traditions of the Jewish people. In almost every quarter there were synagogues, in which people gathered to read the Torah and pray. Today, the descendants of the villagers remember stories of ancestors, handed down from generation to generation. They tell of ancient times, of how the Jews lived together in Krasnaya Sloboda. Although in the past quarter century the community has strongly reduced, to this day Krasnaya Sloboda is one of the largest settlements of Mountain Jews, as well as the center of attraction for people from these places , whose families have long lived in other countries.

Spiritual unity of the Mountain - Jewish community retained, which is greatly due to the fact that local residents were able to preserve the ancient language dzhuuri. It is also important that the villagers are really proud of many of their countrymen who have achieved success in various fields. For example, in 2014 God Nisanov was elected as a vice - president of the World Jewish Congress, uniting the communities of 115 countries around the world. Remarkably, he was the first ever Mountain Jew to join the leadership of the Congress.


For the sake of the connection of generations

While the relatively small community of Krasnaya Sloboda naturally manages to maintain its cultural identity, it is much more difficult in such a large metropolis as Moscow. Actually, many charitable projects of God Nisanov and Zarakh Iliev in Russia are aimed at supporting the unity of the diaspora, preserving the language, as well as transferring the unique traditions of the Mountain - Jewish community to the younger generation.

For example in Moscow, support of traditional Jewish education is an important direction in the activities of patrons. New schools for children and adults are opened, in which students undergo training and become familiar with the traditions and reading of the Torah. Thus, in 2015, in the building of the Jewish Educational Center , surrounded by the festive atmosphere, God Nisanov and Zarakh Iliev opened the Heder Menachem school with the utterance of a blessing and the attachment the traditional designation of the Jewish house of Mezuzah to the front door.

In fact, the educational organization is an elementary school for children from religious families. For a long time, the heder system was the basis of classical Jewish education. In a certain historical period, it was almost lost, but in the 21st century it is reviving in a lot of countries.

Moscow Heder Menachem is designed for 250 children, who will study in classes of low occupancy level. School equipment is the most modern, and its special pride are the small and large synagogues, as well as an extensive library. The chief rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar, who took part in the opening ceremony of the school, recalled that the commandments of the Jewish people require a person to constantly strive to please others. "As you can see, our sponsors fully execute what is written in the Talmud" , - he stressed. By the way, in the same year that the school was opened, God Nisanov and Zarakh Iliev received a prestigious award from the Jewish communities of Russia for supporting educational projects.

However, it cannot be said, that the charitable activities of famous entrepreneurs is limited only by the support of the Moscow Diaspora of Mountain Jews. They are doing a lot for their historical homeland - Azerbaijan. In particular, God Nisanov invested in the reconstruction of a cannery in the Quba district. The company was practically rebuilt and provided with modern equipment. As a result of modernization, more than 200 new jobs were created. In addition, at the initiative and with the support of God Nisanov and Zarakh Iliev, a large logistics complex for processing and storage of agricultural products is being built in the Khachmaz disctrict, near the Russian border. The completion of construction is scheduled for next summer. After the opening of the hub, exporters will be able to optimize the logistics of deliveries of their products to Russia .

Business and development projects prioritize enhancing the tourist attractiveness of Azerbaijan . In particular, this will be facilitated by the opening of the world's first museum of mountain Jews in Krasnaya Sloboda, which should take place in the near future. The project was launched in 2017 on the initiative of God Nisanov, Zarakh Iliev and the STMEGI charity fund. The museum will take place in one of the renovated synagogues of Krasnaya Sloboda. The collection that will be presented there will be the single largest collection of everyday objects and cultural heritage of Mountain Jews .

Many of the projects implemented by God Nisanov and Zarakh Iliev in recent years in Russia can be considered as projects aimed at preserving the cultural and historical heritage. Thus, during the reconstruction of one of the Moscow hotels, they restored a unique collection of paintings by masters of the socialist realism era. In March of 2019 entrepreneurs opened a modern gastronomic quarter DEPO in the capital of Russia. It is built on the territory of Miusskiy tram depot, the oldest in the city and recognized as an object of cultural heritage. All buildings of the architectural ensemble of the late 19th century were restored and preserved in their original form. At the same time, the territory of the depot gained a second life in a new format. Currently, Nisanov and Iliev implement a complex project for the construction of the hotel, located in close proximity to the Zaryadye park. The building will be erected according to the initial drawings of the apartment buildings of the 19th century.

Projects implemented by businessmen allow to give cultural monuments new functional content. At the same time, their importance as objects of transmission of traditions to the younger generation is preserved. In the same way, the new community center of Mountain Jews is predestined to become a place of unity, where each member of the diaspora will be able to feel as a part of the ancient culture of his people and bearer of their spiritual values.

It is no coincidence that the opening of the center aligned with the month of Elul, during which the repentant prayers of the shelicah are recited. In Krasnaya Sloboda, in the historical homeland of God Nisanov and Zarakh Iliev, this tradition is given special significance. Even after electricity appeared in the village, people did not stop bringing lanterns with them to the synagogues - symbols of enlightenment through repentance. Now these flashlights have appeared in the community center in Moscow.



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