ISIS Fighters Close in on Ancient Jewish Site

The Iraqi site believed to be the burial place of the biblical prophet Nahum is in danger of being destroyed by the Islamic State, or ISIS.

Nahum’s Tomb in Al Ooosh, an annual pilgrimage spot for generations of Iraqi Jews, is 10 miles from territory controlled by ISIS, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

Until the early 1950s, thousands of Jews gathered at the site during the Shavuot holiday, some staying for as long as two weeks.

The tomb, inside an abandoned synagogue, is cared for by Asir Salaam Shajaa, an Assyrian Christian whose father and grandfather also cared for the site at the request of Jewish community leaders who fled, along with the majority of Iraq’s Jews, after the Iraqi government vowed to expel them following the establishment of the state of Israel in 1949.

Shajaa told Haaretz that he worries about the future of the tomb and the abandoned synagogue adjacent to it.

“I’m not sure how long my family will continue to stay in Iraq — we want to leave, most of the Christians want to leave,” Shajaa told Haaretz. “My brother says he will stay, though. If my family gets to leave Iraq, my brother and his children will look after the tomb. It will stay in the family, God willing.”

Author

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

ISIS Fighters Close in on Ancient Jewish Site

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close