photo: Eddy van Wessel


Friday, March 11, 2016

Jewish delegation receives warm welcome in Kurdistan

I still savour the moment I witnessed earlier this year, which was also symbolic for the short visit of a small Jewish delegation I guided around in Iraqi Kurdistan.

It was their first visit, meant to establish what is the state of Judaism in a region that has a rich and long Jewish heritage, but lost most of the Jews after they left mainly in the fifties and seventies.

I was asked to show them the visible remains of 3000 years of Jewish life in Kurdistan, and we visited amongst others the tomb of some prophets, a synagogue that badly needs to be reconstructed and the old hamam in the Erbil citadel that bears something that looks like the Star of David.

It is amazing how little is left, of such a rich past. But that is not counting the people, nor the feeling of connection that became apparent during the two days the three Israelis spent in Kurdistan.
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