“Preface: The Arrival of Jews in Kurdistan”
There are many sources concentrated on the date of arrival of the Jews in Iraqi Kurdistan, but they do not agree on the exact date of their arrival. Some sources revealed that roots of the Jews of Kurdistan and Iraq back to the time of King Shalman Nasr (721 BC) and Sanmari (702 BC), who brought a large number of them to Kurdistan. During the Assyrian Period (911-6129 BC) when they had taken over the entire region of the Crescent and Egypt, and this encouraged them to conquest the kingdom of Israel and take its people as prisoners to the isolated mountainous regions of Kurdistan.
“Kurdistan Jewish Census”
According to the censuses, they indicate the number of Jews in Kurdistan, although the censuses may not be complete, because most of the Jews in Kurdistan lived in villages and mountainous areas. According to the census conducted at the end of the Ottoman Empire, the Jews of Kurdistan were estimated at about 60,000 people. According to the 1920 census conducted by the British government, the following figures are given according to their presence in cities and regions:
Mosul Province 7635
A total of 14,835 Jews
“Kurdish Jewish Traditions”
Kurdistan’s Jews, as a religious minority, have settled in small groups in villages and cities among the Kurds. These Jews took refuge here two thousand five hundred years ago. The Kurds respected them, helped them and allowed them to carry out their religious affairs freely. Sasson, a Jewish Kurd now living in Israel, wrote in the Kurdish Teacher magazine on May 1, 1993: “According to Kurd’s ancestors, the Kurdish nation has respected the Jews more than any other nation and has treated them as Kurdish citizens.
During his trip to Kurdistan in November 1834, Ferner said: “We left Sulaimani under the leadership of Ali Khadr Agha and went to Kafri. We stayed there for the night. This was one of the characteristics of this village its population was 150-200 households, one-third of which were Jewish.
This combination of Jews with Kurds reached the level of marriage, sources said from the mouths of the people of the city; The Jews of Halabja were highly respected and treated as fellow citizens, and Muslims married them several times. For example, Yaqub’s daughter, who was a Jewish nobleman, married Mullah Amini Karimi Reza.
Their social life:
The Jews living in the cities and towns of Kurdistan were better off than those in the villages. 15-20% of the Jews in Kurdistan were engaged in agriculture and livestock breeding, and some were engaged in trade and crafts. They worked without deviation. The Jews were generally shepherds, farmers, gardeners, cattle breeders, and some were shopkeepers.
Main Jewish centers in Kurdistan villages and cities:-
Jews in Erbil: They lived in the city center of Erbil, they were very numerous. At that time there was a neighborhood in the south of Erbil where there were about 1,000 Jews. About 4,800 Jews lived in Erbil. According to another census conducted by the Iraqi government in 1945, there were about 3,109 Jews in the present city of Erbil. A large number of Jews settled in the Ta’jil neighborhood and were very wealthy. They had respectable relations with Kurdish Muslims.
Basically, the Jews were separated around the entire Kurdistan in areas of (Akre, Dyana, Roste, Shaqlawa, Bahrka, Koya, Sulaymanyeah, Chamchamal, Penjwen, Halabja, Kifri and Kalar).