Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Kurdish Jews holding on to culture

The Jerusalem Post recently reconnected with Rabbi Haim Yeshurun, 89. Yeshurun had fled from Kurdistan with his wife and children in 1950. As he was boarding an outgoing plane to Israel, a Jewish Agency representative made him give up a cherished signed family tree that dates back 12 generations.

The article notes that 1812 marks the modern-day arrival of Kurdish Jews in Jerusalem.

Yeshurun, one of five children, was born in Turkey, and was constantly moving with his parents and siblings in Kurdistan because Jews were prohibited from owning land. The family eventually came upon a small village of 23 other Jewish families.

Due to difficult topography and oppressive leaders, the Jews of Kurdistan were long separated from other Jews around the world.

Yeshurun committed the entire Bible to memory at an early age, and has mastered biblical Hebrew grammar, along with other languages. He is also a skilled ritual scribe and parchment maker. Yeshurun is a “testament to the tenacity with which the Kurdish Jewish community preserved our laws,” the article says.

For the full article, click here.


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