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'The "Other" in "Afghan" Identity: Medieval Jewish community of Afghanistan' by Guy Matalon PhD has Jewish history and cemetery information.

"Ghur's Jewish cemetery bear inscriptions like chachom, melamed, zaken, rosh kanesa, and rosh kahal, testify to a more Persian tradition. Designations of kohen and levi are also prevalent. The Ghur Jewish community prospered and then declined well after the 13th century's destructive Mongol invasion. It is believed that the Jews of Ghur migrated to China, because evidence indicates the influence of Persian-speaking Jews there, although forced conversions probably also contributed to the community's demise." Source [January 2010]

"the discovery of a Jewish cemetery in the eastern city of Ghur in 1946 testifies to the longstanding existence of Jewish community in Afghanistan. The cemetary's tombstones are inscribed in Hebrew, Aramaic and Judeo-Persian and date from approximately 752-1249. The tombstones also contain communal titles of judges, rabbis, elders, and other chief functionaries. Tragically, the Mongolian invasion of the beginning of the 13th century brought the flourishing Jewish community of Ghur to an end." Source [August 2010]

"The first inscription was discovered in 1946...which contained a Judeo-Persian inscription. Scholars dated the tombstone from 1198. ... in 1956, three rock inscriptions made by one individual were found and dated at 752-753. In 1962, over twenty tombstones were discovered. These tombstones were inscribed with Hebrew, Aramaic, and Judeo-Persian ... dated between 1012-1249. The last tombstone is from September 19, 1249 which would place it 27 years after the Mongol invasion. It is speculated that the community either fled, forced to convert, or was destroyed. Most scholars argue that the community fled into China since there is a significant influence from Persian speaking Jews from Khorasan on the Chinese Jewish community's texts and ceremonies. The tombstones include not only names and dates, but also communal titles and functions." From Guy Matalon, Ph.D. article first published in Mardom Nama-e Bakhter , an Afghan scientific journal edited by Latif Tabibi and Daud Saba [October 2000]

  • Cemetery: The site with a Judeo-Persian inscription was discovered through archeology in 1946. Scholars dated the tombstone from 1198. In 1956, three rock inscriptions ere found dating from 752-753. In 1962, more than twenty tombstones were discovered with Hebrew, Aramaic, and Judeo-Persian inscriptions dated between from 1012 to 1249. (Fischel, W. J. "Rediscovery of the Medieval Jewish community at Feireukeuh in Central Afghanistan." Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1965, vol. 85.). The 19 September 1249 tombstone, dated twenty-seven years after the Mongol invasion, may mark a Jew from the Kabul Jewish community that fled or was forced to convert. Many believe that the community fled to China. The tombstones include names, dates, and communal titles or honorifics. A Levite or Cohen was noted on the tombstone. From the titles listed, this Medieval Jewish merchant community had a synagogue, a Rabbinic court, and schools in this primarily merchant community. [January 2002]

    UPDATE: "...information and sources about the Jews of Afghanistan in the Middle Ages are few. However, since the discovery of a Jewish cemetery in Ghur, researchers were able to find out many details of communal life in the community of Ghur. It would seem plausible that most of the Jewish communites of the area resembled the structure and communal life of the community of Ghur.

    The first inscription was discovered in 1946. It was a tombstone which contained a Judeo-Persian inscription. Scholars dated the tombstone from 1198. A few years later, in 1956, three rock inscriptions made by one individual were found and dated at 752-753. In 1962, over twenty tombstones were discovered. These tombstones were inscribed with Hebrew, Aramaic, and Judeo-Persian (11). These were dated between 1012-1249. The last tombstone is from September 19, 1249 which would place it 27 years after the Mongol invasion. It is speculated that the community either fled, forced to convert, or was destroyed. Most scholars argue that the community fled into China since there is a significant influence from Persian speaking Jews from Khorasan on the Chinese Jewish community's texts and ceremonies (12).

    The tombstones include not only names and dates, but also communal titles and functions (4). 29 Tombstones includes the title (Alut). According to the hierarchy of the Talmudic schools in Babylonia, this title was given to five members who served as judges. It is believed that within the community, there was a Rabbinic judge who received his title from the Pubethita school in another title included on the tombstone, (Rosh Ha Sadranut). This title seems to be a translation of the Aramaic title given to head of schools (Raish Sidra) (13).

    Another 28 tombstones include the title of (Aluf). However, this individual by the nameof Tobia Hallevi does not have the title of a school head. It seems that he had an important religious function within the community. He must have had a judicial function also, since the term Aluf was given to Judges only.

    There are several tombstones which include the title of (Hakham). It seems that this title was reserved for those who served as Rabbis and teachers. It might have been an honourary title title like other Jewish communities in different Jewish communities.

    There are some tombstones with the title (Melamed). This title was probably given tothe teachers of the community, and those who lead public prayers (4). There wereother honourary titles given to the community's elders, and distinguished members. These titles are (Yashish), and (Zaken). These titles were given to people who had other communal functions as inscribed in tombstones 21 and 8.

    The title of the head of the community, and the title of the head of the congregation are found one next to each other in tombstones 23 and 27. The title of the communal leader was Rosh Kahal and the title for the head of the congregation was Rosh Kanesa. The term (Kanesa) is the Judeo-Persian translation of synagogue. However, these two terms in the Gaonite literature were used as synonyms (10). Therefore, it might be argued that these two titles have the same meaning." Source [October 2003]

Last Updated on Friday, 15 January 2010 18:18
 
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