Iraqi Jewish Community Down to Last Survivors

(USA Today) Andrea Stone - The world's oldest Jewish community outside Israel teeters close to oblivion. The estimated 28 Jews left are remnants of a civilization that goes back to the prophet Abraham, who lived in Ur in southern Iraq. In Bataween, the once-prosperous Jewish neighborhood that is now a crime-ridden industrial area, impoverished Jews withdraw behind splintered wood doors attached to crumbling brick houses. In 2000, a Palestinian broke into the Jewish community center and killed two Jews and a Muslim caretaker. Their blood still stains the wood-paneled walls. U.S. officials salvaged thousands of Jewish books and records from the flooded basement of the bombed-out Information Ministry. Those artifacts, seized by Iraqi secret police in the 1980s, are in a refrigerated truck at the main presidential palace. Officials plan to send them to the U.S. for conservation.

2003-08-01 00:00:00

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