An American Jew in Kurdistan

There are roughly 200,000 Jews of Kurdish origin living in Israel, descendants of the Jewish community of Kurdistan, which mostly made aliyah in 1950-1952, along with the rest of Iraqi Jewry, as part of the Israeli airlift code-named “Operation Ezra and Nehemiah.” There is a smattering of mostly secretive Crypto-Jews remaining in Iraqi Kurdistan (formally known as the Kurdistan Region of Iraq) called BenJews those whose ancestors converted to Islam but who are still vaguely aware of their Jewish origins.

Read more here in Jewish Currents

Why Georgia’s No Place for Hate Crimes Law

More than 5,400 hate crimes were reported in the United States in 2014, but Georgia reported only 56 in 2015, Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenansaid.

That’s not because Georgia is a state too busy to hate, but because it is one of five states that do not have hate crimes legislation. So Georgia does not have mandatory reporting of hate crimes or any statewide definition of what constitutes a hate crime.

Read more here in the Atlanta Jewish Times.

Faith Leaders Target Safety With Police Ties

DeKalb County is Georgia’s first county to implement such an action plan, partially because of a strong willingness among community leaders and partially because it is the most diverse county in the state. DeKalb’s policies will spread to other metro Atlanta counties and ultimately throughout Georgia.

Read more here in the Atlanta Jewish Times

Ceiling Fans, Home-Grown Vegetables, Other Ways To Save A Bundle

Our first child just arrived, so our family discussions about expenses, budgeting, and how to save in general also include the demand of a new addition. We know we need to start saving every dollar going forward. Though we are new to owning a home, we are not new to cost cutting, and we have learned many tricks over years of frugal apartment living. In a very short period, we agreed on several simple ways to save more every month. Here is a short list of five such ways:

Read more here at CentSai:

Bloomberg’s Philanthropy Extends to Politics

Unlike previous Eizenstat lecturers, from Elie Wiesel to Bill and Hillary Clinton to last year’s speaker, Vice President Joe Biden, the three-term New York mayor, philanthropist and entrepreneur didn’t deliver a prepared speech. Instead, he had a conversation with the lecture’s sponsor and host, Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat.

Read more here in Atlanta Jewish Times:

Pride Seder Uplifts Amid Mourning

Atlanta’s Pride Seder, an annual part of Pride Month, was scheduled for Friday, June 24, long before 49 people were gunned down at a gay nightclub in Orlando, but the massacre at Pulse on June 12 made the seder all the more meaningful for the more than 100 people who attended.

Read more here in the Atlanta Jewish Times

Syrian Kurdish Refugees Start Over In Atlanta

We are originally from Afrin but lived in Aleppo (Syria’s second city) and moved there when we were children. We grew up with nothing. Though we went to school, no one cared about us; we we did not even have bicycles like my children now have. The Syrian government [led by former dictator Hafez al-Assad did not care about us. They did not like us or care about us because we are Kurds. The government did not invest in Kurdish areas as a policy: there was no industry, no new schools—nothing. We are very proud to be Kurdish: we named our children after a famous Kurdish folk song.

Read more here in KurdistanTribune

Amidst war and Devastation, Prophet Nahum Respected by all Faiths

Historically, while there were many different Jewish pilgrimages across Iraq during Shavuot—one of three such holidays—the largest was always to Nabi Nahum during Eid al-Ziyara, or the “festival of the pilgrimage.”  The community was known to have a famous saying, “Those who have not made the pilgrimage to Nahum’s tomb have not yet known real pleasure!”

Read more here in Philos Project