Nash Didan (Aramaic: our people) is the name Jews from the villages near the borders of Iran, Turkey and Azerbaijan call themselves. It is believed that this Jewish community was established after the Babylonian exile, in the cities and villages of Urmiah, Salmas, Bashkale and Gavur in northern Persia and Eastern Ottoman Empire (now Turkey). The Nash Didan spoke Aramaic (Lishan Didan dialect), and during the 20th century most of them moved to Israel, and other countries.

Background

The community was founded, as tradition indicates, by Jews who fled to that area during the Babylonian Exile and did not return to Israel after the declaration issued by the emperor Cyrus II of Persia. Since the Jews were considered foreigners, they were not allowed to work the land, and hence most of them were merchants, not like other Jewish Kurdistan communities. They spoke a specific dialect of Aramaic, and also Farsi and Azeri Turkish. While the Arabs have started to speak Arabic after the Muslim occupation,the Jews (as the Assyrians) have kept their Aramaic language, And called it “Lishan Didan” (Aramaic: our language).The mountain borders of that area have helped keeping the culture, customs and language of the Nash Didan.

The Assyrian Aramaic is very similar to the Nash Didan dialect. During ancient times Aramaic was the official language in that area (Syria, Babylon and Persia). Jews who spoke Aramaic settled in Urmia and Villages close by in the end of the 8th century BC. That is proven by bronze, silver and gold archiological artifacts found with marked elements of the Jewish culture close by to Urmiah. In the Old Armenian cemetery there are gravestones from with Aramaic carvings on beside the symbols of Magen David and the Menorah (Lamp).

The Israeli Community

In 2005, about 14,000 of the Nash Didan lived in Israel. 

4 Comments

  1. Michael Demirel

    I really don’t like Assyrian extremists coming here and making all sorts of delusional arguments….

    – Ashurit is not Hebrew
    – Real academic research connects our language with ancient Aramaic. Look for NENA dialects online.
    – My family, as many more – speak aramaic for thousands of years and there is not much you can say to contradict that now, here.
    – You connect dots very oddly and obviously have an agenda to go with.

    We are not interested in your comments, don’t bother.

  2. Rabban Breikha

    Why are you lying? Even the Talmud states, in Megillah 18a:23, “§ It was taught in the mishna: And one who speaks a foreign language who heard the Megilla being read in Ashurit, i.e., in Hebrew, has fulfilled his obligation.”

    Do you hear a script? What Aramaic?

    Does not Megillah 18a:16 already state, “The Gemara asks: What are the circumstances of the case? If we say that the Megilla was written in Ashurit, i.e., in Hebrew…”?

    Sanhedrin 21b:22 states, “§ Mar Zutra says, and some say that it is Mar Ukva who says: Initially, the Torah was given to the Jewish people in Ivrit script, the original form of the written language, and the sacred tongue, Hebrew. It was given to them again in the days of Ezra in Ashurit script and the Aramaic tongue. The Jewish people selected Ashurit script and the sacred tongue for the Torah scroll and left Ivrit script and the Aramaic tongue for the commoners.”

    You can surely put two and two together? Megillah 18a:23 and Sanhedrin 21b:22 correlates Hebrew therewith Ashurit, i.e. the sacred tongue. What is this “we speak Aramaic”? Since when have Jews deviated from tradition?

  3. David Meyerson

    My grandfather Izzachar Mechti (?) a/k/a Isadore Meyerson was from Urmia and he helped found the Persian Schul in the Chicago/Skokie area. His marriage was arranged with a Turkish Jew Victorya Ojalvo (Sephardic) and they settled in the Chicago area. My grandfather spoke Aramaic and was well known in the Chicago Persian Community.

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