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Jewish, Kurdish, Babylonian or Israeli?

Dr. Dorota Molin will present how the Aramaic-speaking Jews have viewed their own language and identity ever since coming to Israel in the 1950s, and how their culture was perceived by those around them—Kurdish Muslims and Christians in Iraq and later, by fellow Israelis.

She will also talk about their language—Modern Aramaic—and how it differs from the language of the Talmud. Based on stories and language documentation gathered in her own fieldwork with the Aramaic-speaking community in Israel.

The Jews that immigrated to Israel from Kurdistan spoke Aramaic—an ancient and once prestigious Jewish language. Ironically, however, their linguistic heritage and culture were at first not appreciated in their new homeland. Rather than being welcomed, the community battled with a profound sense of alienation from the Israeli society, as well as a loss of a historic homeland and an erosion of trust with their erstwhile Iraqi neighbours.

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