Friends of the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Centre, Inc.
Babylonian Jewrry Heritage Center intends to preserve the
memory, the cultural heritage, and the history of the Iraqi
centre is in need of expanding its facilities and we have
volunteered for the job of soliciting monies for this effort.
is a gift for our children and grandchildren. This is also
a great way to honour ones parents and family.
following unassigned halls in the museum remain:
Culture and Art*
donations can be given by up to two people
scholarly projects which need to be funded are:
The project on history of the ancient Babylonian Jewish
Translation to English on the pogrom in Baghdad in 1941
of documents in governmental institutions in the Ottoman
Empire during Ottoman rule in Iraq
of the genealogies of the 305,000 Iraqi Jews in the
on Babylonian Jewish Leadership (Personal, rabbinical,
and diaspora leaders)
the newsletter "Nahardia" in English
Funds for Research
Sign for Museum Entrance
should be made payable to the American Friends of the
Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center, Inc and sent directly
to the office for the attention of Mr Halahmy.
JEWS PRESERVING A RICH HERITAGE
by Sharon Kanon
is hard to imagine what it must have been like to take a
stroll down a street in Baghdad, or sit on the shores of
the Tigris or Euphrates. It is also hard to imagine that
Iraq, formerly Babylon, was once home to a flourishing and
fiercely Zionistic Jewish community the largest Jewish
community in the world with a highly developed network
of educational, religious and cultural institutions.
best way to experience the drama of the first Diaspora and
recapture the vitality and charm of the large Jewish Quarter
in Baghdad 50 years ago, is to visit the Babylonian Jewish
Heritage Centre, located in Or Yehuda near the site of Israels
first transit camp.
replica of a street in the Jewish Quarter includes a typical
coffeehouse and shops belonging to a silversmith, a goldsmith,
a cloth merchant, an embroiderer, a shoemaker and a spice
dealer. At the end of the street is a reconstruction of
the Great Synagogue of Baghdad (one of 60 synagogues in
Baghdad in the mid-20th century contained over one thousand
gold and silver encased Torah scrolls.
Heritage Centre recently organised its first event to attract
the children of Iraqi Jewish immigrants in Israel and increase
awareness of their cultural and historical roots.
en-masse return of the oldest Jewish Diaspora brought with
it traditions from centuries of flourishing culture that
had evolved over a period of 2,000 years. Rich in history,
song, folklore, customs and dress, and infused with a strong
Zionist spirit, the Iraqi-Jewish legacy pulsates with life.
the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, Babylonian
Jewry became the spiritual centre for far-flung Jewish communities.
Great academies of learning were established at Nechardea,
Sura and Pumpedita, headed by outstanding gaonim
(excellencies). (The museum houses a diorama of an academy).
The Babylonian Talmud (the Oral law), the basis of Jewish
law, philosophy and the Jewish way of life, was produced
by Babylonian Jews.
golden age of gaonim paralleled the days of splendour
of the Arab caliphate (mid-7th century to mid-11th century).
For over a thousand years, the Jews had their own administrative
head, the Exilarch or Rosh Galuta, who at one point governed
over two million Jews.
and tyranny were the lot of Iraqi Jews after the Middle
Ages. During the Mongol period (13th to 15th centuries),
the larger yeshivas were closed down. But by the end of
the 18th century, Baghdad had once again become a centre
the 19th century, Jews controlled Iraqs commerce and
exerted influence in government circles, and as early as
1919, got on the Zionist bandwagon. Besides Zionist organisations,
the community had very active sports clubs, teams and parades.
A topographical replica of the Jewish Quarter of Baghdad
in 1948 reveals more than 60 institutions yeshivas,
schools, synagogues, medical institutions and administrative
more information email: Babylon@BabylonJewry.org.il
Thank you for your appeal on behalf of Or-Yehuda, totalling
some US$5 million. I have often heard in the past five years
of plans to build the first floor. What is the position
now? Are there any brochures or plans of this unique establishment?
Please send me full information to study the matter.
you would like to make any comments or contribute to The
Scribe please contact