The community of Jews in Baghdad is now all but vanished, states a June 1, 2008 article at nytimes.com . Written by Stephen Farrell, the article describes how just over half a century ago, there were more than 130,000 Jews in Iraq. Today, their number is estimated by the Jewish Agency for Israel at seven, less than the number it takes to constitute a minyan, the 10 Jewish men required to perform some of the most important rituals of Judaism.
The article cites the reason for the dwindled numbers: the 1941 Farhud pogrom, World War II and the Holocaust, the anti-Zionism of Saddam Hussein and the post-2003 rise of Islamic militants. Christians, the article notes, have also fled Iraq by the thousands.
While the remaining Jews in Baghdad lament the loss of the Jewish community there, Jeremiah warned long ago to flee Babylon when the doors to the Holy Land of Israel opened once again to them: "In those days and at that time... the sons of Israel will... go along weeping as they go, and it will be the LORD their God they will seek. They will ask for the way to Zion, turning their faces in its direction; they will come that they may join themselves to the LORD in (the) everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten... Wander away from the midst of Babylon, and go forth from the land of the Chaldeans,... for behold, I am going to arouse and bring up against Babylon a horde of great nations from the land of the north,... and Chaldea will become plunder; all who plunder her will have enough..." (Jeremiah 50:4-10).
130,000 Jews heeded the warning of Jeremiah. 7 have chosen to remain.
Christians of Iraq: heed Jeremiah's warning as well -- "Flee from the midst of Babylon, and each of you save his life! Do not be destroyed in her punishment, for this is the LORD's time of vengeance; He is going to render recompense to her." (Jeremiah 51:6).
Labels: Flee from Babylon