Iraqi American - Religion - Iraqi Jews

Iraqi Jews

One of the oldest Iraqi communities in the United States follow Judaism. Jewish residents from Iraq began to emigrate to the American Continent at the turn of the twentieth century. The first known Iraqi Jewish immigrants to the United States arrived between the years 1900 - 1905. About twenty families immigrated from Baghdad to New York. World War I (1914–1918), brought more Jewish immigrants from Iraq, in addition to the already existent Iraqi Jewish communities in the United States. Among them were at least sixty young individuals seeking education as well as business people looking for new and better opportunities. The eruption of World War II in 1939, resulted in more than seventy Babylonian Jewish families immigrating to the United States from Iraq. Other Jewish immigrants of Baghdadian ancestry arrived to Southern California from the Far East in the early 1920s. It is estimated that the total Iraqi Jewish population in the US exceeds 15,000 people, with large concentrations in California, New York, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts and New Jersey. Smaller known groups of Iraqi Jews, can also be found in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas, as well as other States.

The members of the community are driven by ambition to succeed in businesses and as professionals, and this urge has been taking precedence over most other aims in life apart from family cohesion and religious observance during the High Holidays. High education is greatly valued, and almost every school graduate enters College after high school where he or she tends to specialize in a profession. In the early 1990s, a magazine called "The Periodical Publication of Congregation Bene Naharayim" was published in New York and it reaffirmed the pride of the Iraqi Jews in their ancient heritage, by linking it directly to the glorious traditions of the Babylonian Jewry. Another newsletter for the local Babylonian Jewish community in Los Angeles called "Yosef Haim" began to be published in 1996. It basically reports on what is taking place in the local Iraqi Jewish community.

Read more about this topic:  Iraqi American, Religion

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