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KUBA:

Chief town of the district of Kuba, government of Baku, Transcaucasia, having (1897) a total population of 15,346, in which were about 7,000 Jews, mostly Caucasian, or, as they are called there, "Mountain Jews." The latter occupy a separate suburb near the River Kubinka. There is a striking difference between them and their European coreligionists. They dress like the Caucasian Mohammedans in "peshmets" (short, quilted Tatar coats), and wear high astrakhan caps ("papakh"); the women wear wide trousers. The Kuban Jews call themselves by the names of their fathers, adding the word "ogly" (son); e.g., "Abraham Isaac Ogly," means Abraham son of Isaac. Their names are Biblical, but are wofully mispronounced. Among themselves they use the Tat language, but with the natives they converse in Tatar. The use of liquor is common among them, even among the women.

The Jews of Kuba live in small earthen huts ("saklya"), often as many as ten to fifteen persons occupying a hut which gets its sole light from a small window in the roof. They have hardly any furniture, as, like the Mohammedans, they eat and sleep on the floor. They are engaged mostly in agriculture and commerce, especially in the export of carpets to Constantinople. While the merchant class is wealthy, the rest of the population is quite poor; and the average Mountain Jew will work as a laborer at 20 to 30 copecks a day. In religious matters they are very fanatical; and any one who does not comply strictly with all the laws is accused of apostasy. Polygamy is not prohibited. In writing they use the Rashi script.

Bibliography:
  • Chorny, Sefer ha-Massa'ot;
  • Veidenbaum, Putevoditel po Kavkazu, p. 128, Tiflis, 1888.
H. R. M. R.
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