Daily Israel Report
Show More

OpEds


Israel's History in Pictures: Middle East Communities

Remarkable Pictures of Jewish Communities in the Middle East.
By Lenny Ben-David
First Publish: 12/31/2013, 8:52 AM

Tomb of Ezra
Tomb of Ezra
INN: LBD

Remarkable Pictures of Jewish Communities in the Middle East - More Treasures from the University of California-Riverside Collection

To the right and on the main page:

"Tomb of Ezra, Mesopotamia. Near Koma, on the Shatt-el-Arab, (lower Euphrates. and Tigris). East over lower Tigris to Shrine dear to Jews." (Credit: Keystone-Mast Collection, California Museum of Photography at UCR)

Jewish scribes at the “Tomb of Ezekiel” near Babylon, Kefil,Mesopotamia (Iraq)  (Credit: Keystone-Mast Collection, California Museum of Photography at UCR ARTSblock, University of California, Riverside)

The Jews of Iraq

The vast Keystone-Mast Collection at the California Museum of Photography contains many photographs of Jewish communities -- now extinct -- from across the Muslim world. 

We believe most of the undated pictures in the University of California - Riverside Archives were taken between 1898 and 1930 



"Jewish Cobblers Repairing Shoes for  Arabs, near Mosul, Mesopotamia"

Using pictures we found in the Library of Congress archives two years ago, Israel Daily Picture has already explored many of the Jewish communities in Iraq,Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, and Turkey.  Click on the country to view earlier postings. 

Today, we present the UCR's vintage pictures of  the Jews of Iraq.  Suffering from pogroms, persecution, and confiscation of property, most of the Jews of Iraq left the country by 1951.  The "Jews of Iraq" is Part 1 of a series that will include vintage pictures of Jews of Egypt, Syria and Turkey. 

Click on the pictures to enlarge.  Click on the captions to view the original pictures.


Jews of Mosul (Credit: Keystone-Mast Collection, California Museum of Photography at UCR)

Inside Ezekiel's Tomb (circa 1931, Libraryof Congress). Also view Israel Daily Picture feature on Ezekiel's Tomb
 

Persian ceiling of ancient synagogue at Ezekiel's Tomb (Credit: Keystone-Mast Collection, California Museum of Photography at UCR)

"Principal Street, Baghdad, Where the Jews and Moslems Throng, Mesopotamia." Prior to World War II, 80,000 Jews lived in Baghdad. (Credit: Keystone-Mast Collection, California Museum  of Photography at UCR)

"Picturesque homes of wealthy Jews along the Tigris River in North Baghdad, Mesopotamia." Note the woman in the window and the boat, a "kufas" row boat on the Tigris. (Credit: Keystone-Mast  Collection, California Museum of Photography at UCR)

 

"Jewish families of the well-to-do at the wharf, Baghdad, Mesopotamia." (Credit: Keystone-Mast Collection, California Museum of Photography at UCR)



Building a "kufas" boatClick here to see how many people fit in a kufas. (Credit: Keystone-Mast Collection, California Museum  of Photography at UCR)


For more information on the Jews of Iraq and the Tomb of Ezra visit Point of No Return, Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries.


In 2003, a U.S. Defense Department analyst, Harold Rhode, uncovered a vast cache of ancient Jewish documents in the flooded basement of the Iraqi Intelligence Headquarters. He led an effort to save the historical documents and bring them to the United States for restoration. The restoration has been completed, but Iraqi Jews around the world are protesting the U.S. Government's plan to return the documents to the Iraq government. (Ed.note: Arutz Sheva turned to Min. Naftali Bennett of the Jewish Home party on the issue, but received no respose).