Kurds who adhere Judaism and Jews who lived in Kurdistan for centuries are called Jewish Kurds or Kurdish Jews. Apart from Kurdistan, a small community was found in Baku, Azerbaijan[1]. While most of the Kurdish Jews spoke Kurdish (Sorani & Kurmanji); Jews in Zakho, Duhok and Amedi spoke Aramaic as mother tongue.


Studies show that Jewish people and Kurds are genetically closely related [2][3][4]. They are thought to have common ancestors who lived in Northern Fertile Crescent ca. 4000 years ago.

Historians traditionally believe that first Jewish migration to Kurdistan was a result of Assyrian conquest of the Kingdom of Israel. Israelites from Benjamin tribe exiled by the Assyrians and relocated to Ninawa.

Amid the 1th century BC, royal house of Adiabene, a Kurdish Kingdom converted to Judaism.


As per the journals of Benjamin of Tudela and Pethahiah of Regensburg, there were around 100 Jewish settlements and generous Jewish populace in Kurdistan in the twelfth century. Benjamin of Tudela additionally gives the record of David Alroy, the messianic pioneer from focal Kurdistan, who opposed the ruler of Persia and had plans to lead the Jews back to Jerusalem.

These voyagers likewise report of entrenched and rich Jewish people group in Mosul, which was the business and profound focus of Kurdistan. Numerous Jews frightful of moving toward crusaders, had fled from Syria and Palestine to Babylonia and Kurdistan. The Jews of Mosul delighted in some level of self-rule over dealing with their own group.


Tanna’it Asenath Barzani, who lived in Mosul from 1590 to 1670, was the girl of Rabbi Samuel ben Nathanel halevi Barzani of Kurdistan. She later wedded Hakham Jacob Mizrahi of Amadiyah (in Iraqi Kurdistan) one of her dad’s finest understudies who addressed at a yeshiva. She was renowned for her insight into the Torah, Talmud, Kabbalah and Jewish law.

After the early passing of her significant other, she turned into the leader of the yeshiva at Amadiyah, and in the long run was perceived as the central educator of Torah in Kurdistan. She was called tanna’it (female Talmudic scholar), rehearsed mysticism, and was presumed to have known the mystery names of God.

Asenath is additionally outstanding for her verse and fluency in Hebrew language. She composed a long lyric of mourn and request of in the conventional rhymed metrical shape. Her poems have position in the first modern Hebrew writings composed by women.

Migration of Kurdish Jews to the Land of Israel started amid the late sixteenth century, with a group of rabbinic scholars touching base to Safed, Galilee, and a Kurdish quarter had been built up there therefore. The flourishing time of Safed however finished in 1660, with Druze control battles in the locale and a financial decrease.


Some Kurdish Jews had been active in the Zionist movement since the beginning of 20th century. Moshe Barazani, whose family moved from Southern Kurdistan and settled in Jerusalem in the late 1920s, was one of the most prominent Lehi (Freedom Fighters of Israel) members.

Together with the Iraqi Jews, vast majority of Jewish Kurds relocated the Israel following the “Operation Ezra & Nehemiah”. Jews are now a small minority in Kurdistan. In Israel, there are more then 200.000 Kurds and 30 agricultural villages found by the Kurds.[5]


1. Jewish Electronic Encyclopedia
2. Indian Academy of Sciences
3. Haaretz
4. jstor.org
5. Times of Israel