This is a 5 minute demo I assembled for a documentary project I was working on about Kurdish Jews in Israel. Kurdish Jews are a unique ethnic group. They are one of the smallest and the least known about Jewish communities in the world. Before their mass migration to Israel in 1950 and 51, during "Operation Ezra and Nehemia", there were 25,000 Jews living in Kurdistan.
The Nash Didan (Kurdish Jews) speak Targum, a form of Aramaic, one of the oldest languages in existence. The word Nash Didan means "Our People" in Aramaic. Because of their unique language tradition and the diminutive size of their population, their customs are in immediate danger of being forgotten.
Since migrating to Israel, they have suffered a huge loss of culture. They have integrated into modern Israeli society, and the newest generation of Kurdish Israelis know very little about their heritage.
During a visit to Israel, I was lucky enough to meet Pnina , a Kurdish Jewish woman (from Eastern Kurdistan) and the grandmother of a friend of mine. Pnina told me the story of a Jewish woman her mother had been friends with back in Kurdistan. A woman who was followed everywhere she went by a fortunetelling demon who had fallen in love with her. Hearing this legend, so rooted in folk beliefs and historic events (the demon kills Golbahar because she wants to immigrate to Israel with the rest of the Kurdish Jews), made me think about the connection folktales portray between reality and whimsy, history and cultural beliefs. Since then I have dedicated myself to doing what I can to make sure folktales like Pnina’s are not forgotten.