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Heritage                                                           - Iraqi Jewish Heritage 101-

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The "101" of IJW Heritage 101 implies that knowledge of our heritage still needs to be taught to many.  While there are a number of individuals from our community, spanning several generations, who have exhibited a great desire to both preserve and retain our heritage, we often see that their works are being viewed by far too few people, a sad but true fact.  We are a community that possesses some highly intelligent people, many of which need to be heard by younger generations.  The knowledge that there are records or writings on our heritage is not enough to preserve it.  Heritage encompasses an entire community, and must be pervasive throughout.  This is why IJW has implemented a heritage site that addresses this goal specifically.


The basic urge to preserve heritage is psychologically attributable to the same feelings the provoke the impulse to preserve artifacts.  It stems from the desire to validate memories.  Many Iraqi Jews are unfortunate in that they lack tangible memories such as belongings and photos of their parents or grandparents.  The circumstances under which many of them left Iraq made it extremely difficult to bring these tangibles with them.  Consequently, a predicament arises where younger generations lack those necessary artifacts to validate the memories of their parents.  Lack of self identity, shyness about your heritage, and inability to embrace it are all rooted in the inability to associate life in Iraq with anything but the strife that spurred one of the greatest diasporas of the 20th Century.  While the suffering inflicted upon the Iraqi Jews should never be forgotten, we should also understand that we cannot associate our parents lives in Iraq with just that suffering. There are other memories, and other stories, many of which have been written but not read because of the overwhelming amount of information about the Iraqi Jewish Struggle.  Preserving our heritage implies that we must take the good with the bad.  Many of us take the bad and are drawn away from the good.  We must embrace the other side of our culture, the things people don't hear about, the day to day stories of a lighter side of life, while not forgetting the events that transpired in our existing today.  It is far too important to cast aside.

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