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The Experience Of Rural Jews

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Chapter Summary

The rural way of life was deeply rooted amongst the Jews of Kurdistan. As reported by early Jewish travelers, Jews lived in hundreds of Kurdish villages, cultivating fields, vineyards and orchards, tending their animals and weaving traditional Kurdish costumes and carpets. In Kurdistan, rural and urban Jews were ruled by tribal aghas and were subject to tribal codes of conduct. Not only Jews who resided in rural villages but also many urban Jews who traveled frequently through the rural area acquired the patronage of tribal chieftains. The main reason for the rarity of this kind of settlement was that without the agha's guard, the Jews were too vulnerable and the Jewish community could barely survive, as can be seen in the history of the Jewish community of Sandur.

Keywords: agha; Kurdistan; rural Jews; Sandur



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