Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage

Event information
Venue:Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU, 301 Washington Ave., Miami Beach

This exhibition details the dramatic recovery of historic materials relating to the Jewish community in Iraq from a flooded basement in Saddam Hussein's intelligence headquarters, and the National Archives' recovery work in support of U.S. Government efforts to preserve and make these materials available. The materials include more than 2,700 Jewish books and tens of thousands of documents in Hebrew, Arabic, Judeo-Arabic and English, dating from 1524 to the 1970s. Exhibit highlights include 23 original items, such as a Hebrew Bible with commentaries from 1568 – one of the oldest books found; Babylonian Talmud from 1793; Torah scroll fragment from Genesis - one of the 43 Torah scroll fragments found; and lunar calendar in both Hebrew and Arabic from the Jewish year 5732 (1971-1972) - one of the last examples of Hebrew printing in Baghdad. Visitors can also view a fascinating "behind the scenes" video of the painstaking conservation process. The Jews of Iraq have a rich past, extending back 2,500 years to Babylonia; today, only a few Jews are known to remain in the country. This exhibit provides the opportunity to preserve and display the rich cultural heritage of this now-extinct community.

This exhibition was created by the National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC, with generous support from the U.S. Department of State. Local support received from Congregation Beth Jacob. More information is available at