September 30, 2013

Saving Iraq's Jewish Scrolls

What a beautiful job by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). 

In Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, our Special Forces looking for WMD instead discoverd thousands of ancient Jewish texts.

The texts dating from 1540 to 1970 taken from the Iraqi Jewish Community were sitting defiled in the basement of Saddam Hussein's Intelligence HQS molding and decomposing under 4 feet of water. 

The U.S. military and NARA rescued these texts and have painstakingly restored and preserved them through freezing, categorizing, condition assessment, stabilization, mold remediation, mending pages, washing, binding, and more. 

Pictures of the collection of texts from Iraq before and after preservation can be found here.

The collection includes:

- A Hebrew Bible from 1568

- A Babylonian Talmud from 1793

- A Zohar/Kabbalah from 1815

- A Haggadah from 1902

- 48 Torah scroll fragments

- And much more.

On October 11, NARA will unveil an exhibit in Washington, DC featuring 24 of the recovered items and the preservation effort.  

Hopefully, the collection of Jewish religious texts will ultimately be returned to the Jewish community from which it came, so that it can be held dear and sacred once again, and used properly in religious worship and never again held hostage or profaned. 

Thank you so much to both the Department of Defense and to the National Archives for saving and preserving these ancient, sacred Jewish religious texts. 

You did a beautiful mitzvah! ;-)

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