Although Jews lived in Iraq for over three thousand years – predating the Arab Islamic conquests by centuries – today less than 10 remain. Indigenous Jewish communities throughout Iraq and the Middle East, were all but completely uprooted and destroyed in the twentieth century. In addition to losing their homes, their assets and their communities to repressive governments and discriminatory laws, the cultural traditions of Iraqi Jews is now in danger of extinction as well.

Through the creation of the Talmud, Iraqi Jews helped lay the foundation for modern Jewish life world-wide, yet a large percentage of this population has had little choice but to settle into the periphery of mainstream Jewish life in host countries around the world. While Iraqi Jews maintain a connected pride to their rich Jewish history – there is a real danger that the cultural heritage of Jews from Iraq will be forgotten. For this reason, JIMENA works to ensure that the traditions of Iraqi Jews, and all Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews, will survive to benefit future generations. We have been leading unique Cultural Outreach Programming since our establishment in 2001, giving Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews a platform to celebrate and share their rich culture with diverse audiences throughout North America. JIMENA is dedicated to preserving and sharing Mizrahi and Sephardi culture through traditional celebrations, festivals, lectures, and cultural series.



Thanks to Rachel Somekh for her wonderful Iraqi cooking!


Click here to listen to Iraqi music