Purim in Moscow began with Mountain-Jewish Theater's holiday play
Yesterday, the Jewish community of Russia began to celebrate the most cheerful holiday in Judaism - Purim, dedicated to miraculous salvation of Jewish people from Persian slavery. On the eve of this holiday, the Rambam Theater, the world's only Mountain-Jewish theater, performed a special holiday play Moscow. History of this theater began in 1930s in Derbent, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it settled in the Israeli Heder. This is it's first tour to Russia. Premiere was held in Theater Center at the Strastnoy Boulevard.
“There is a tradition to make perform on Purim, which is called Purim spiel in Yiddish. Purim spiel has centuries-old history, like the Greek classical theater or Italian street theater,” Yuri Kanner, president of the Russian Jewish Congress, told Vestnik Kavkaza.
Guests of the evening were able to enjoy traditional sweets in the lobby of the theater: fried dough with poppy seeds, called gomentash, and wine, which is also considered an integral part of the celebration.
Azerbaijani musicians performed national melodies, also characteristic for Mountain Jews, who lived side by side with the Land of Fire in the Red Sloboda village for centuries. This village is the only place of Mountain Jews' residence in the entire post-Soviet space.
Rambam is a union of non-professional actors. Among them are teachers, engineers, doctors and representatives of other professions. All plays are performed in Juuri - the language of Mountain Jews - with translation in Russian.
"We want to preserve this language. My granddaughter already speaks and sings in our language. We don't it to cease to exist. We perform our plays in all cities of Israel," the Rambam Theater's head, Eva Schalver, told Vestnik Kavkaza.
Rambam brought musical comedy of playwrighter Hizgil Avshalumov “Sash of Childlessness” to Moscow. Traditionally, Mountain Jews believed that fathers who had no sons were childless, even if they have many daughters. Hizgil Avshalumov is Soviet poet, novelist and playwrighter. He was born in Dagestan in a peasant family. His work is distinguished by accuracy of ethnographic details, humor and expressiveness of his language.