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Israel has maintained discreet military, intelligence and business ties with the Kurds since the 1960s, seeing in the minority ethnic group a buffer against shared Arab adversaries. The Kurds have seized on recent sectarian chaos in Iraq to expand their autonomous northern territory to include Kirkuk, which sits on vast oil deposits that could make the independent state many dream of economically viable. The Kurds have long held aspirations for independence, but have said seeking nationhood is not realistic at the current time. The international community, including neighboring Turkey as well as the US and other western countries, are opposed to the breakup of Iraq.
 


After all, besides the affinity between the two nations, they have common interests in the continued existence of each other.

Relations between Israel and the Kurds have been complex. To unravel them, it is necessary to differentiate between several aspects: people to people versus official relations; relations between the Kurds of Iraq and those of Turkey; and between secret and open relations.

A comparison between Jews and Kurds shows many similarities. Both are relatively small nations (15 million Jews and 30 million Kurds), traumatized by persecutions and wars. Both have been leading life and death struggles to preserve their unique identity, and both have been delegitimized and denied the right to a state of their own. In addition, both are ethnically different from neighboring Arabs, Persians, and Turks, who represent the majority in the Middle East. Interestingly, recent research has shown that genetic connections between Jews and Kurds are more pronounced than those between Jews and Arabs.[4] This echoes the famous legend about the origins of the Kurds. In this telling, King Solomon, who ruled over the supernatural world, called his angelic servants and ordered them to fly to Europe and bring him five hundred beautiful women. When his servants returned, they learned that the king had passed away, but they retained the women for themselves, who

then gave the birth to the Kurdish nation. Whatever the case, similarities have brought about certain affinities between the two peoples.

 

 

Kurdish Jewish women from Israel - YouTube

www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRidqRX8MgI1 juli 2010 - 1 min - Geüpload door hemiitz
خذ ستين ثانية من وقتك،،،،. أنشر واكسب الحسنات. سبحان الله والحمد لله و لااله إلا الله محمد رسول الله. اللهم صل وسلم وبارك علي نبينا وحبيبنا محمد ...
 

 

jews of kurdistan

 

 

By DENNIS WASKO


Kurdish Jews have a long history filled with ups and downs, Chef Dennis Wasko retells their story as well as explores their unique cuisine.    Next >>>

Jews remained a populous group in Kurdistan until the middle of the present century and the creation of the state of Israel. At home and in the synagogues, Kurdish Jews speak a form of ancient Aramaic ... and in commerce and the larger society they speak Kurdish. Many aspects of Kurdish and Jewish life and culture have become so intertwined that some of the most popular folk stories accounting for Kurdish ethnic origins connect them with the Jews. Some maintain that the Kurds sprang from one of the lost tribes of Israel, while others assert that the Kurds emerged through an episode involving King Solomon and the genies under his command (see Folklore & Folk Tales).

Hajj Khalil is the last Muslim with Jewish roots in the Iraqi Kurdish village of Akre. One of his dearest wishes is to travel to Israel to apologise to his cousins for failing in his duties as a host when they visited him five years ago.  next >>>

 

The Jewish Roots of Kurdistan

 

The history of Judaism in Kurdistan is ancient. The Talmud holds that Jewish deportees were settled in Kurdistan 2800 years ago by the Assyrian king Shalmaneser. As indicated in the Talmud, the Jews were given permission by the rabbinic authorities to allow conversion from the local population. They were exceptionally successful in their endeavor. The illustrious Kurdish royal house of Adiabene, with Arbil as its capital, was converted to Judaism in the course of the 1st century BCE, along with, it appears, a large number of Kurdish citizens in the kingdom (see Irbil/Arbil in Encyclopaedia Judaica). 

Next   >>>>

 

Judaism in Kurdistan

The history of Judaism in Kurdistan is ancient. The Talmud holds that Jewish deportees were settled in Kurdistan 2800 years ago by the Assyrian king Shalmaneser Ill (r. 858-824 BC). As indicated in the Talmud, the Jews eventually were given permission by the rabbinic authorities to convert local Kurds. They were exceptionally successful in their endeavor.   Next  >>>


JUDAISM

The history of Judaism in Kurdistan is ancient. The Talmud holds that Jewish deportees were settled in Kurdistan 2800 years ago by the Assyrian king Shalmaneser Ill (r. 858-824 BC). As indicated in the Talmud, the Jews eventually were given permission by the rabbinic authorities to convert local Kurds.
The relative freedom of Kurdish women among the Kurdish Jews led in the 17th century to the ordination of the first woman rabbi, Rabbi Asenath Barzani, the daughter of the illustrious Rabbi Samuel Barzani (d. ca. 1630), who founded many Judaic schools and seminaries in Kurdistan. For her was coined the term tanna'ith, the feminine form for a Talmudic scholar. Eventually, MAMA ("Lady") Asenath became the head of the prestigious Judaic academy at Mosul (Mann 1932).


Yazdanism

Most non-Muslim Kurds follow one of several indigenous Kurdish faiths of great antiquity and originality, each of which is a variation on and permutation of an ancient religion that can loosely be labeled the "Cult of Angels," Yazdni in Kurdish. The actual name of the religion is all but lost to its modern followers, who retain only the names of its surviving denominations. The name Yazdnism or Cult of Angels is a variation of the Kurdish name of one of its isolated branches, Yezidism, which literally means "the Anglicans." There are some indications that Yazdnism was in fact the name of the religion before its fragmentation. An even older name for this creed may have been Hk (or Haq), which is the name given by this religion to its pre-eternal, all-encompassing deity, the Universal Spirit.

SUFI MYSTIC ORDERS

An overwhelming majority of Muslim and non-Muslim Kurds are followers of one of many mystic Sufi orders (or tariqa). The bonds of the Muslim Kurds, for example, to different Sufi orders have traditionally been stronger than to orthodox Muslim practices. Sufi rituals in Kurdistan, led by Sufi masters, or shaykhs, contain so many clearly non-Islamic rites and practices that an objective observer would not consider them Islamic in the orthodox sense.

 

Yarsanism

The center of Yarsanism is deep inside the Guran region at the town of Gahwara (or Gawara), 40 miles west of Kirmashan. The shrine of Baba Yadigar, in an eponymous village 50 miles northwest of Gahwara, now serves as one of Yarsanism's holiest sites. Two days before the festival of the New Year, or New Ruz (see Festivals, Ceremonies, & CaIendar), believers visit the shrine and participate in chants that assume the form of a dialectic on the principles of Yarsanism.
The followers of Yarsanism are now found in one large concentration in southern Kurdistan and many secondary concentrations outside Kurdistan proper, in the Alburz Mountains, Azerbaijan, and Iraq.

 

Alevism

A majority of the Dimila Kurds of Anatolia and some of their Kurmnji speaking neighbors are followers of another denomination of the Cult of Angels.The Alevis believe in Ali as the most important primary avatar of the Universal Spirit in the Second Epoch of the universal life), hence their exaggerated feelings for this first Shi'ite Muslim imam.
Despite the importance of Ali in the religion and its modern communal appellation, Alevism remains a thoroughly non-lslamic religion, and a part of the Cult of Angels. Like other branches of the Cult, the fundamental theology of Alevism sharply contradicts the letter and spirit of the Koran in every important manner, as any independent, nonSemitic religion might.

The followers of this religion constitute roughly 20% of all Kurds.


The European Jewish Congress warns that some Jewish comunities in Europe are.idque,teetering on the brink,rdque due to national endorsement of neglect of Anti-Semitizm.     Next >>>

The Kurds and Islam
The Jews of Kurdistan
Kulano - Jews of Kurdistan
History of Judaism in Kurdistan
Kurds and Jews: Language and Contact 
The Genetic Bonds Between Kurds and Jews
The Jews of Kurdistan Daily Life, Customs, Arts and Crafts

Israel and the Kurds
Kurdish Jewry - Hebrew
Saved by "Operation Ali Baba"
Between the Babylonian and the Kurdistan Jews
Genetic evidence links Jews to their ancient tribe
Evolution of a Genetic Disease in an Ethnic Isolate
Jews as part of the genetic landscape of the Middle East



Much, if not most, of this information has been passed to me via Mizgin, whose blog about Kurdish and current events in the middle east is highly recommended. Be prepared to have your comfortable theses challenged there!
 

The history of Judaism in Kurdistan is ancient. The Talmud holds that Jewish deportees were settled in Kurdistan 2800 years ago by the Assyrian king Shalmaneser Ill (r. 858-824 BC). As indicated in the Talmud, the Jews eventually were given permission by the rabbinic authorities to convert local Kurds. They were exceptionally successful in their endeavor.

[...]
Jews remained a populous group in Kurdistan until the middle of the present century and the creation of the state of Israel. At home and in the synagogues, Kurdish Jews speak a form of ancient Aramaic ... and in commerce and the larger society they speak Kurdish. Many aspects of Kurdish and Jewish life and culture have become so intertwined that some of the most popular folk stories accounting for Kurdish ethnic origins connect them with the Jews. Some maintain that the Kurds sprang from one of the lost tribes of Israel, while others assert that the Kurds emerged through an episode involving King Solomon and the genies under his command (see Folklore & Folk Tales).


The relative freedom of Kurdish women among the Kurdish Jews led in the 17th century to the ordination of the first woman rabbi, Rabbi Asenath Bârzâni, the daughter of the illustrious Rabbi Samuel Bârzâni (d. ca. 1630), who founded many Judaic schools and seminaries in Kurdistan. For her was coined the term tanna'ith, the feminine form for a Talmudic scholar. Eventually, MAMA ("Lady") Asenath became the head of the prestigious Judaic academy at Mosul (Mann 1932).

Read more at Kurdistanica
Those of you into contemporary Iraqi events will note the name "Bârzâni", an old and illustrious name in the area even today!


The following excerpt of an article by Josh Goodman of Yale provides more background in relation to Kurdish Jews and also investigates the relationship between Israel and Kurdistan today:


A Fading Generation: The Jews of Kurdistan
 

By the early 1950s, virtually the entire Jewish community of Kurdistan—a rugged, mostly mountainous region comprising parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and the Caucasus, where Jews had lived since antiquity—had been completely relocated to Israel. The vast majority of Kurdish Jews, who were primarily concentrated in northern Iraq, left Kurdistan in the mass aliyah (immigration to Israel) of 1950-51, which brought almost all Iraqi Jews to Israel and signaled the end of thousands of years of Jewish history in the lands once known as Assyria and Babylon.


In general, the native language of the Jews of Kurdistan was neither Arabic—like most Iraqi Jews—nor Kurdish. Instead, the Jews (and Christians) of Kurdistan spoke dialects of Aramaic—a Semitic language, similar to Hebrew. Aramaic, the language of the Talmud and parts of the Bible, was the international language of trade and commerce in the ancient Middle East with a status similar to that of English in the modern world. The Kurdish Jews spoke their own unique dialects of the language, however, which possessed many words borrowed from Kurdish.3
The Kurdish Jews in Israel, along with a small number of Assyrian Christians, are among the last remaining Aramaic speakers in the world; many scholars believe the language will disappear as a spoken language within a generation.

 
 
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