How Three Weeks in Azerbaijan Almost Turned Me Into a Zionist

I accompanied my parents on a trip to our homeland, Azerbaijan. No one prepared me for the moment when I would meet the other side of my family, which is stuck in an endless Borat movie

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In the village I received so many matchmaking offers that it was natural that I ended up in traditional wedding garb.
In the village I received so many matchmaking offers that it was natural that I ended up in traditional wedding garb.Credit: Aspir Eyyubov
Aspir Eyyubov

When my mother’s family, which is Jewish, decided to immigrate to Israel from Azerbaijan, it was clear that her husband, a non-Jew, would come along. And so it was. In April 1998, a group of Caucasus Jews (and one non-Jewish Caucasian) boarded a plane en route to settle in the Zion of Bat Yam. The decision to move to Israel was not an easy one: My mother was compelled to leave behind much in the way of property and possessions; my father left behind 11 siblings.

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