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.
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.