Report: 4 Jewish sites in Iraq require "urgent" action for preservation

Jewish Cultural Heritage Initiative releases report on 368 Jewish heritage sites in Iraq and Syria, viability of preservation efforts.

Gary Willig ,

Baghdad
Baghdad
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The Jewish Cultural Heritage Initiative (JCHI) has identified four Jewish heritage sites in Iraq. which require "urgent intervention."

The JCHI is a joint initiative of the British-based Foundation for Jewish Heritage and the American Schools of Oriental Research. It has cataloged and assessed the condition of 368 Jewish sites in Iraq and Syria.

Of those sites, 27 were found to require significant intervention, while four were identified as “priority candidates” where “urgent intervention could substantially improve their condition.”

The four sites, which are all in Iraq, are the Meir Tweig Synagogue and the Al-Habibiyah Jewish Cemetery in Baghdad; the Sasson Synagogue in Mosul; and the Shrine of the Prophet Nahum in Al-Qosh in northern Iraq. The Meir Tweig Synagogue and the Al-Habibiyah Jewish Cemetery are in active use.

The sites were identified based on their status, condition, and the viability of conservation and preservation efforts. No sites were considered viable in Syria due to the Syrian civil war.

Iraq was home to an ancient Jewish community for about 2,600 years since the Babylonian Exile. The vast majority of Iraq's 120,000 Jews were forced to leave following the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. The current Jewish community in Baghdad numbers about ten people, and no other Jews are currently known to live in Iraq. No Jews are known to currently live in Syria as a result of the Syrian civil war.



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