Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Virtual pilgrimage to Nahum's tomb in Kurdistan
The virtual website Diarna seeks to re-create Jewish sites that barely still exist. Here's its latest project, a video of the crumbling tomb of the Biblical prophet Nahum. His remains have supposedly been transferred to a nearby church. The tomb itself apparently is undergoing some restoration. The Diarna operatives spent 10 days in Kurdistan and were warmly greeted by the locals, who fondly remember their Jewish neighbours.
Nestled at the base of the first mountain ridge-line of the northern Iraqi-Kurdish highlands sits the purported tomb of the Prophet Nachum in the village of al-Qosh. 62 years after the last pilgrimage to this crumbling shrine, it draws few visitors. And yet Hebrew etchings, some barely discernible, still adorn the walls as reminders of its storied history.
Several thousand people–some sources say almost the entire Jewish populations of Mosul and surrounding villages–would arrive at the shrine to celebrate Shavuot. The highlight of their elaborate pilgrimage, known as “Ezyara,” was a dramatic staging of the giving of the Ten Commandments at a local stand-in for Mount Sinai, and a play supposed to pre-figure the battle of Gog and Magog. This was an event that, according to a popular saying, was unrivalled in the happiness it conferred upon participants.
Visit the Diarna website
No right of return for the Jews of Al-Qosh
The tomb of Nahum needs urgent repairs