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Unprecedented mapping of the endangered Jewish heritage of Iraq and Syria

The Foundation for Jewish Heritage joined with the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) to undertake unprecedented research to map the Jewish heritage sites 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 time of Babylon – and the most historically significant. In the early 20th century, a third of Baghdad was Jewish, yet that century went on to witness a millennia of Jewish life in the region coming to a close.


Nevertheless, significant Jewish heritage still remains and, through this research project, the location and condition of 368 settlements and heritage sites from antiquity to the present day have been identified.


In addition, four specific sites were highlighted as being of special importance and in need of urgent preservation, namely:

  • the Meir Tweig Synagogue in Baghdad - the last surviving ‘functioning’ synagogue in Iraq

  • the Al-Habibiyah Jewish Cemetery in Baghdad - created during the early 20th century and the main location for Jewish burial in the city

  • the Sasson Synagogue in Mosul - the main synagogue in the city during the 20th century due to its central location in the Jewish Quarter

  • the Shrine of the Prophet Nahum in al-Qosh - the Shrine dates back to at least the 12th century CE and was an important pilgrimage site for the Jewish community

The redacted Project Report can be downloaded below, together with the project press release.


JCHI Final Report for Public Release_CIR
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Download • 6.62MB

Iraq-Syria mapping press release 1 6 20
Download • 176KB

This research project was made possible as a result of generous sponsorship provided by the Thomas S. Kaplan and Daphne Recanati Family to the Foundation for Jewish Heritage.

The Foundation for Jewish Heritage is a UK Registered Charity No 1162111