Jewish Heritage of Iraq and Syria

The Jewish life that once existed in Iraq and Syria represented the most ancient diaspora communities going back 2,600 years to the Biblical era – and the most historically significant.

At the turn of the 20th century, one third of Baghdad’s population was Jewish and the community played an important role within wider society.  Sadly these communities have all but disappeared, yet a remarkable physical heritage remains.

Given the very urgent situation in the region due to the current conflict, the Foundation secured funding from the Thomas S. Kaplan and Daphne Recanati Kaplan Family which enabled it to partner with the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) to map the Jewish heritage of Iraq and Syria, assess its current state, and explore the possibility of post-conflict preservation of the most important sites.

The research was completed and 368 Jewish heritage sites in the region were identified.