By the Rivers of Babylon: Glimpses of Jews of Iraq

Course in Hebrew

2019-2020, Mondays once a fortnight, 4.15 pm – 7.45 pm

Course editor: Rivka Aderet | Academic consultant: Ariella Amar

Special thanks to Ms. Simona Benyamini, director of the Oster Visual Documentation Center, for the rare and unique visuals


Course program:

All lectures are held in Hebrew

Monday, November 4, 2019

  • “I have come here from the place paradise used to pass through”: the Iraqi experience based on passed on memories. A meeting with poet Ronny Someck.
  • “In honor of Nabi Yeheskel”. Prayer, custom, and ceremony in holy places in Iraq. Ariella Amar.

Monday, November 18, 2019

  • The Jews of Iraq – a dynamic community in the Middle Eastern arena. Prof. Esther Meir-Glitzenstein
  • “Remember Baghdad” (film) – Five families from the Jewish community look back on a scarcely imaginable time in Baghdad – Iraq was booming, it was pleasure-seeking, and there was inter-communal trust. Today, after decades of war and instability, Iraq is a very different place. In spite of the danger, North Londoner Edwin Shuker decides to return to the country he loved. He wants to buy a house in Iraq, thus planting a seed for the future.
    Film by Fiona Murphy. After the film, a meeting with Edwin Shuker.

Monday, December 2, 2019

  • The clothing of the Jews of Iraq – identity dilemmas. Dr. Ester Yuhas
  • Between Babylon and Jerusalem: music and historical memory of the Jews of Baghdad. Prof. Edwin Sarussi.

Monday, December 16, 2019

  • Ritual articles and home artifacts in the art and folklore of the Jews of Iraq – Prof. Shalom Sabar.
  • Hebrew and Arabic, holy and secular in the 20th-century literature of the Jews of Iraq – Dr. Almog Behar.

Monday, December 30, 2019

  • Leading scholars of Baghdad in the new era – conservativeness and inventiveness. Prof. Zvi Zohar.
  • The Jews of Kurdistan in European travel literature – Prof. Shalom Sabar.

Monday, January 6, 2020

  • From the “Farhud” until the Ezra and Nehemiah operation – events and processes. Shlomo Hillel, the 11th speaker of the Knesset, minister and Aliyah agent.
  • Ma’abarot – Shattered Dreams. A documentary series that unveils one of the most controversial topics in the history of the Israeli state. Rare archival materials and testimonials of former residents tell the stories of the ‘Ma’abrot’ (refugee absorption camps). A meeting with the producer Arik Bernstein, and the director Dina Zvi Riklis.

Monday, January 20, 2020

  • The uniqueness, development, and future of the language spoken by Jews of Iraq. Dr. Asaf Ben Moshe.
  • Baghdadis in the trade routes of the far east. Haim Ghiuzeli, director of Beit Hatfutsot Databases.
  • Cinematic glimpses: films about the Balas and Mualem families, rare documentary films on the Jews of Iraq from Beit Hatfutsot collections. Rivka Aderet.

Monday, February 3, 2020

  • The Jews of Kurdistan and their spoken Aramaic. Prof. Hezy Mutzafi.
  • The Jews of Iraq and their unforgotten homeland – longings and concerns. Idan Barir.

Tuesday, February 3, 2020

  • A festive concluding show – TBA

Tickets and Information

Telephone 03-7457808

E-mail: [email protected]