Must-See Exhibit


I just visited the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and saw an exhibit of Iraqi Jewish artifacts (“Who Owns Iraq’s Jewish Past?” Sept. 6). The backstory is that American soldiers in 2003, after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, found a cache of Jewish religious and communal papers and books in one of the flooded rooms in the secret police headquarters in Baghdad. These artifcats, 2,700 years old in 26 metal boxes, were plundered from Jewish synagogues and centers during Saddam Hussein’s rule. Realizing the importance of the find, they called the National Archives, which came to Iraq and attempted to preserve as much as possible. They did a remarkable job. In this small exhibit is only a tiny representation of the richness of this community, including prayer books, Talmud books, Torah scrolls and pictures of Jewish communal life. Unfortunately, the American government has promised to return the items to Iraq after the exhibit concludes on Jan. 5. I would advise all those who can to visit the remarkable exhibit. A few feet away from this exhibit is the rotunda exhibiting the signatures of this county’s founding fathers who penned the basis of our religious and national freedom —namely the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Ken Birnbaum

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