Is your name on this list? Your Jewish roots might be in Cairo, Baghdad or nearby
April 30, 2021
(JTA) — In the late 1800s, the Ottoman Empire was looking to conscript men into its army, including the several thousand young Jewish ones who were living in the city of Baghdad.
The Jewish community didn’t like the idea of the imperial forces taking away its young men, so it arranged to pay authorities for exemptions. Rabbi Shlomo Bekhor Husin of Baghdad documented the exemptions, carefully jotting each down name in medieval Rashi script.
In the following decades, many of those names vanished or morphed as the Jews living there dispersed across the globe. But the lists survived and...