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The articles in this issue have been divided upinto the following categories







I am contacting you through your web site "the Scribe" which I have read with great interest in past issues. We have all the hardcopy issues since 1971 here in the national Library in Jerusalem.
We now have an opportunity to explore Jewish artefacts and manuscripts and Jewish Holy sites in Iraq. We do not know when this opportunity will end, but it is likely to cease when a stable government will be established, which may be almost as anti-Jewish as the past regime. I have a professional and personal interest in this window of opportunity, particularly in the field of Hebrew Manuscripts. Here in the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, we have over 70,000 reels of microfilm of Hebrew manuscripts from hundreds of collections across the world. If there are manuscripts extant in Iraq, they are likely to be of great value for Jewish research in all fields.
You can find more about us on our web site, or through Ilana Tahan, the Hebrew
Curator at the British Library. We have even been notified by an Australian Archaeologist, an Iraqi expatriate, that he knows of such findings in the ancient synagogue in Basra (now in British control). But we have no means of verifying this, nor, needless to say, recovering, restoring and recording the material. I am aware of your contacts in influential circles in the British national leadership. Please contact me if there is anything you can do about this.

On a personal level, I am also very interested in the reclamation of the Synagogues, holy sites, and Torah Scrolls of Iraqi Jewry. If there is anything I can do to help I will do so gladly. I can act as a liaison with a Former chief Rabbi Mordachai Eliahu (also of Iraqi descent) who is particularly interested in the tomb of his father's revered master R. Yosef Haim (Ben Ish Hai). I have also contacted some Jewish Chaplains serving with the American forces in Baghdad, on this issue.

Again I remind you, we do not know when this window of opportunity will
be closed again.

Thank you,
Dr. Ezra Chwat

Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts
Jewish National and Hebrew University Library
Givat Ram, Jerusalem, Israel

After issue 72 of The Scribe, printed copies were stopped but the magazine was then put on our web site, which can be downloaded.
In fact, all the issues from no. 1 to date, and including the current uncompleted 76, can be found on

As regards the window of opportunity in Iraq, We do not share your pessimism and are confident that the window will keep widening, and that an increasing Jewish presence in Iraq will become possible.



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