The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, which is the largest Jewish weekly outside of New York, published on Apr. 6, 2015 an article by Milikh Yevdayev, Head of Azerbaijan’s ancient Mountainous Jewish community. Titled “Jews of Azerbaijan and United States: In celebration of our transcendent connection”, the article speaks about the newly established relations between the Jewish communities of Azerbaijan and Los Angeles.
Referring to the trip of a delegation of Azerbaijani Mountainous Jews, including himself, to Los Angeles in February 2015 to receive a new Sefer Torah from the Sinai Temple of Los Angeles, Mr Yevdayev calls this event an “experience of true grace”.
Speaking of Azerbaijan, Mr Yevdayev writes: “Many Jews in Los Angeles have never before heard of Azerbaijan, nor of Azerbaijan’s over 30,000 Jewish residents. Even lesser known, is that Azerbaijan is home to the Mountainous Jewish community, who have lived in Azerbaijan in peace and prosperity for over 2,000 years. The Azerbaijani people and government have been huge supporters of our Mountainous Jewish community, and as well as the other Jewish communities, including several in Baku, which houses three synagogues and a large Jewish day school.” He further notes: “What is particularly unusual about Jewish life in Azerbaijan, which is a close friend and partner of Israel, is that we live and freely practice our faith in peace and prosperity, protected and respected, in a secular Muslim country. We share cities and towns, and live and work with our Azerbaijani Muslim brothers and sisters. By its example of tolerance and inclusion, Azerbaijan destroys all the stereotypes that exist out there in the world as far as the coexistence between Muslims, Jews, and Christians is concerned. Azerbaijani example proves that it is still possible for all these major religions to enjoy peaceful and harmonious coexistence in mutual respect. As Jews, our reality in Azerbaijan is somewhat like a dream. Imagine a Muslim government that spends millions of dollars on building a beautiful synagogue for Jewish residents, or a Muslim country that celebrates a Jew as one of its greatest war heroes. This is our reality in Azerbaijan.” He concludes: “Just the fact that Azerbaijani Muslims wholeheartedly facilitated this Torah donation from one Jewish community to the other speaks volumes about what Azerbaijan stands for. This inspiration could change the world.”
The article can be viewed here: http://www.jewishjournal.com/opinion/article/jews_of_azerbaijan_and_united_states_in_celebration_of_our_transcendent_con