Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Baghdad's last 'rabbi' to leave Iraq

Emad Levy, who has featured in numerous articles about the Jews of Iraq, has had enough: he's finally leaving Baghdad, according to Haaretz. Note that Levy is not an official rabbi, just one the few left who could read Hebrew and conduct a service.

BAGHDAD - Baghdad's last remaining rabbi announced on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar that he plans to leave Iraq.

Rabbi Emad Levy, one of about a dozen remaining members of the city's Jewish community, which once topped 100,000, compared his life to "living in a prison" as he broke his Yom Kippur fast Monday evening.
Levy said that his father fled to Israel after Iraq was invaded by the United States in 2003, but he stayed behind to care for a Jewish octogenarian sick with diabetes, The Washington Post reported yesterday.

The man is now in the care of friendly Kurds, Levy said, adding he will exit the country as soon as possible.

Levy said that most Iraqi Jews are homebound out of fear of kidnapping or execution. "It's like I'm living in a prison all the time," he said. "I have no future here. I must go out to have a life for myself.

"What should I do?" he continued. "Of course this is not the way Yom Kippur should be. When you are alone, it is very different than when you do it in the synagogue or with a lot of people. It is sad. This is why I must leave for the Holy Land."

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