Iraq

Iraq, a dusty tomb of Sephardi memories

By Gil Shefler, October 11, 2013

The former Jewish neighbourhood in the city of Sulaymaniah, in Kurdish Iraq, is not a happy place. The area is a slum where poor families are crammed into houses whose past grandeur is well concealed under a thick layer of grit and neglect.

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‘Do not send treasures back to Iraq’

By Sandy Rashty, September 1, 2013

Senior Jewish figures are backing an international campaign to prevent the return of religious artefacts to Iraq.

A collection of sermons from the 17th-century, a 1902 Haggada, a 400-year-old Bible, and Torah scrolls were among thousands of artefacts discovered by United States officials after raiding Saddam Hussain’s intelligence office in May 2003.

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Aaron Zangi: Beaten and interrogated in Basra

By Jimena Staff, September 1, 2013

On January 27, 1969, nine Iraqi Jews were publicly hanged, having been accused of spying for Israel.

The court that sentenced the men spared three people. One of them was Basra-raised Aaron Zangi, the son of a well-respected textile businessman.

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Will oldest diaspora be lost?

By Lyn Julius, March 30, 2013

Ten years on from the invasion of Iraq, what has become of the Jewish community? In 2003, aid workers found 35 mainly elderly and impoverished Jews in Baghdad, where they were once the largest single ethnic group. The Meir Tweg synagogue was shuttered and there was no communal life to speak of. In 10 years, all but six have died or departed.

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Arabic and English website tells story of Middle Eastern Jews

By Sandy Rashty, March 12, 2013

A non-profit organisation, modelled on Holocaust research groups, has launched 11 new websites to detail the exodus of Jews from 11 countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

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Never forget Saddam’s crimes

By Robert Halfon, February 22, 2013

Which people today has the most similarity with the modern Jewish story of marginalisation, demonisation, persecution, genocide, redemption and revival?

The answer is unexpected. It is a Muslim nation in the Middle East: Kurdistan.

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Mission to record last of Aramaic

By Jennifer Lipman, February 8, 2013

A British academic is attempting to document different dialects of Aramaic spoken by Iranian and Iraqi Jews before the language disappears from active use for good.

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The clock cannot simply be turned back for Iraq's Jews

By Lyn Julius, January 10, 2013

Reading the interview with Iraqi Muslim academic Nabil al-Hadari last week, I was torn between admiration for his courage and a sense that his efforts are misdirected.

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Iraqi Jews ‘did wonders for us’

By Sandy Rashty, January 3, 2013

Iraqi Jews who were forced to leave their homes under Saddam Hussein’s regime may now be able to reclaim their property and citizenship after the intervention of a UK-based specialist in Islamic studies.

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'We don’t want to forget our heritage': Iraqi Jews raise funds for Babylonian centre

By Sandy Rashty, October 18, 2012

An evening of traditional Babylonian-inspired music was attended by 150 members of the Iraqi-Jewish community at Lauderdale Road Synagogue, Maida Vale.

“It’s a way to revitalise our past and promote Moreshet Babel music in the old Iraqi way,” explained synagogue elder Sabah Gabbay, who left Iraq more than 50 years ago. “We don’t want to forget our heritage.”

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