Monday, October 5, 2009

Kurdish Jews' Saheraneh festival

I had never heard of the Saheraneh until I came (3 years ago) to live in a moshav built by Kurdish Jews.
Yesterday I went to big Sacher Park in Jerusalem to see what it's all about.

Saheraneh is a yearly outdoor festival which our Kurds brought with them when they made aliyah to Israel from Kurdistan.
The region known as Kurdistan includes parts of Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Syria, and Turkey.

In preparation for the afternoon and evening prayer, two Torah scrolls were brought in joyful procession through the crowds.
Here above you see men from the dance troupe in native costume leading the way.

Rhythmic hand-clapping to welcome and accompany the Torah scrolls.

First time for me to see the Torah decorated with colorful women's scarves.

The traditional Kurdish wooden horn. Look at the guy's cheeks!

I must say, the loud drum beat adds much life to the Torah procession.

Finally they were brought to the stage.

In a kind of Hoshana, the dancers did what I know as a traditional Arab debka.
The bearded man with a flat hat and scarf is the oldest Kurdish rabbi. He gave a short and nice talk.
 Beforehand, while the elder had been sitting, people came to him, bowed and kissed his hand; and he put his hands on their head and blessed them.
There is a lot of respect for the elders in this community.
For more about Kurdish Jews see this article.
There are over 150,000 Kurdim in Israel.
Their national association's website is in Hebrew but it offers a sample of the music.
The weekly That's My World Tuesday list of bloggers' links to different worlds will be awaiting your visit tonight. Visit and enjoy our world's great diversity!
UPDATE Oct. 20, 2014:  An article about this year's Saharana and thoughts about the Kurds fighting for their lives against the Islamic State.


  1. Wow, great post. Talk about diversity.

  2. That must have been a really interesting event!

  3. enjoyed clicking through to read more...fascinating history. thank you for sharing with us. did you get a chance to sample some of the food?

  4. Once again, I get a great education when I visit you. This post was very interesting. I enlarged all the photos to get a better view.

  5. Thank you very much for sharing this, Dina. I like the idea of respecting our elders. Gosh... I'm going to be an elder someday soon.

  6. Thank you for sharing this event. I've always been interested in the Kurds, since in Europe they are known for their longevity; but I did not know there were Kurdish Jews!
    What a feast to bring out the Torah!
    The Christian world unfortunately has lost much of their reverence for God's Word.

  7. What an interesting event, a real gift to see.

  8. One more tem I have never heard about! :-)

  9. In spite of all the problems and hardships, it must be an exciting time to live in Israel.

  10. If some of this is new to you, imagine me! :-) How interesting (but obvious at the same time) that Kurdish Jews have their own festivities and traditions. Great post! Do you know from which country they came from or is there a mix among them?

  11. Good evening Dina,a very interesting post and very nice and impresive photos.Regards.


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