Pobedonostseva Kaya A., Kirpichenok A. “Ana Kurdi”: the Jews of Kurdistan

A. Pobedonostseva Kaya - Saint-Petersburg State University St. Petersburg, Russian Federation ORCID: 0000-0002-6556-3950
E-mail: apobedonostseva@gmail.com; a.pobedonostseva@spbu.ru

A. Kirpichenok - Central Public Library of the V. V. Mayakovsky St. Petersburg, Russian Federation ORCID: 0000-0003-2846-4555
E-mail: kirpichenok@mail.ru


 Download  |  Go to Issue #2. 2020


ABSTRACT. Some sources report of the presence of Jewish communities in ethnic Kurdistan as early as in the Middle Ages. These communities had been interacting with the neighboring ethnic groups of the region in social and economic spheres until their emigration in the middle of the twentieth century. The division of Kurdistan itself and the internal division of Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria resulted not only in the ensuing differences among the Jewish communities, but also in a difference between the Kurdistani Jews (the Lakhlukh) and their co-religionists in other provinces of these countries. One of the most striking manifestations of the identity of Kurdistani Jews was the Seharane holiday, which had emerged under the influence of Kurdish culture and entered the traditional Jewish calendar in the Middle East. The division of Kurdistan has affected the fates of Jews in the twentieth century in different ways. The case of the Jews of Iraqi Kurdistan perfectly illustrates this point. Being the largest and best organized religious community in the region, they were targeted by the Israeli migration program more than other Jewish groups. In Israel, they continue to live as a somewhat separate group cultivating their historic roots and preserving their cultural identity. Studies on this topic and preservation of cultural and material heritage are carried out by the Society of Kurdistani Jews, the Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot and other organizations. The paper aims to analyze relevant research data on Kurdistani Jews and introduce it for scholarly use.


DOI 10. 31250/2618-8600-2020-2(8)-42-65
УДК 9 4:323. 15(=41 1 . 16) (55/56)


KEYWORDS: Jews, Kurdistan, Lakhlukh, Israel, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Seharane



  • Abuhav О. Ha-etnograf she-nishkah: Erik Brauer ve-heker jehudei mizrah. Paamim, 2019, no. 158, p. 14. (In Bulgarian).
  • Artamonov M. I. Istoriya hazar [Khazar history]. Leningrad: Izd-vo Gos. Ermitazha Publ., 1962. (In Russian).
  • Bali R. N. Diyarbakır Müze Şehir (Haz. Dr. Ş. Beysanoğlu, E. N. İşli, M. S. Koz). İstanbul:
  • Yapı Kredi Yayınları Publ., 1999. (In Turkish).
  • Bashkin O. New Babylonians. A History of Jews in Modern Iraq. Stanford, California: Stanford
  • University Press., 2012. (In English).
  • Bogoslovskaya I. V. [Costume of Kurds of Iran and Iraq]. Kul’turnoe nasledie narodov
  • Central’noj Azii, Kazahstana i Kavkaza. Sbornik Muzeya antropologii i etnografii im. Petra Velikogo RAN [The cultural heritage of the peoples of Central Asia, Kazakhstan and the Caucasus.
  • Collection of the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography. Peter the Great RAS], 2006, vol. 52, pp. 52–68. (In Russian).
  • Brauer E. The Jews of Kurdistan. Completed and edited by Raphael Patai, Jewish Folklore
  • and Anthropology Series. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1993. (In English).
  • Brauer E. Yehudei Kurdistan. Mehkar Etnologi. Ierushalaim, 1947. (In Turkish).
  • Brauer E., Patai R. Kürdistanlı Yahudiler. İstanbul: Avesta, 2005. (In Turkish).
  • Chyet M. L. Neo-Aramaic and Kurdish: An Interdisciplinary consideration of their influence on each other. Israel Oriental Studies 15, Language and Culture in the Near East. Leiden; New
  • York; Köln: E.J.BRILL Publ., 1995, pp. 219–252. (In English).
  • Gabish H. Ha-tmurot she-hitholelu be-kehilat yhudei Zako (Kurdistan Irakit): be-ikvot ha-zikaxa-datit le-erez-Ishrael, hashifata le-peilut ha-zionitve-ha-alia le-erez mi-shelhei ha-tkufa ha-otmanitve-ad 1951, be-eksher folkleri-histori. Haifa, 1999. (In Hebrew).
  • Gunter M. M. Historical dictionary of the Kurds. Lanham; Maryland, and Oxford:
  • The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2004. 275 p. (In English).
  • Haig G., Khan G. The Languages and Linguistics of Western Asia: An Areal Perspective.
  • Berlin: De Gruyter, 2018. (In English).
  • Halper J., Abramovitch H. The Saharanei as a mediator of Kurdish-Jewish ethnicity.
  • Proceedings of the World Congress of Jewish Studies Vol. Division D: The Hebrew languages and
  • languages of the Jews, Jewish folklore and art. World Union of Jewish Studies, 1981, pp. 79–84. (In English).
  • Kirpichenok A. I., Pobedonostseva Kaya A. O. [Erich Brower: father of Israeli Orientalism].
  • Evrei v mirovoj istorii, kul’ture i politike. Materialy mezhdunarodnoj nauchnoj konferencii. Seriya «Trudy po iudaike». Seriya «Istoriya i etnogra ya» [Jews in world history, culture and politics.
  • Materials of the international scienti c conference. Series “Works on Judaica”. Series “History and Ethnography”]. St. Petersburg, 2020, pp. 61–69. (In Russian).
  • Kovaleva D. [Palestine of the 16th century through the eyes of a Jewish pilgrim from Yemen
  • (an example of a study of a literary monument as a historical source)]. TIROSH. Trudy po iudaike
  • [TIROSH. Jewish Studies], 2009, no. 9, pp. 50–60. (In Russian).
  • Krupnik I. I., Kupoveckij M. S. [Lahlukhi — Kurdistan Jews in the Caucasus]. Sovetskaya
  • etnografiya [Soviet ethnography], 1988, no. 2, pp. 102–111. (In Russian).
  • Meir-Glitzenste E. Zionism in an Arab Country: Jews in Iraq in the 1940s. London; New York, 2005. (In English).
  • Nikitin V. Kurdy [Kurds]. Moscow: «Progress» Publ., 1964. (In Russian).
  • Sabar Y. Ha-Izirot ha-sifrutiot shel yehudei Kurdistan le-thumeia. Paamim. Rivon le-heker kehilot Ishrael ba-mizrah, 1982, pp. 57–70. (In Hebrew).
  • Sabar Y. Multilingual Proverbs in the Neo-Aramaic Speech of the Jews of Zakho, Iraqi Kurdistan. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 1978, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 215–235. (In English).
  • Shohat E. Sephardim in Israel: Zionism from the Standpoint of Its Jewish Victims. Social Text, 1988, no. 19/20, pp. 1-35. (In English).
  • Simon R. S., Laskier M. M., Reguer S. The Jews of the Middle East and North Africa in Modern Times. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003. (In English).
  • Tri evrejskih puteshestvennika [Three jewish travelers]. Moscow; Ierusalim: Gesharim / Mosty kul’tury Publ., 2004. (In Russian).
  • Yonah M. Ha-abudim ba-erez Ashur. Yhudei Kurdistan mishpuhot Zako. Yrushalaim, 1989. (In Hebrew).
  • Zaken M. Jewish Subjects and Their Tribal Chieftains in Kurdistan. A Study in Survival.
  • Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2007. (In English).