HERAT Print

This important stop on the Silk Road was ravaged by the twenty years of fighting (1980-2001). Two objects with Hebrew characters found are a large foundation stone and a smaller stone tablet. The Jews of Heart left about 1978, after their synagogue collapsed from neglect. "... in Samizay's 1978 survey of Herat, four synagogues were listed--as well as a Jewish bath, or hammam-e yahudiha. The buildings were located in the Bar Durrani and Momanda sections of the old city which is an area previously known as the mahalla-yi musahiya, the "neighbourhood of the Jews" and which is located in its northwest and southwest quarters. The names of the synagogues were given as Mulla Ashur, Yu Aw and Gul; the fourth was unnamed. The bath was labeled as the Hajji Muhammad Akbar Bath, or Hammam-e Yahudiha. During the course of my field trip, each of these structures, all of which are of mud brick, was located and its condition noted. Source [January 2002]

  • Cemetery: "...near the town of Herat in Tchcharan, old graves were found on which the writing was in Persian and in the Hebrew language. The graves date from the 11th to the 13th centuries." Source:  [January 2002]
  • "Saving the Synagogue at Herat" (restored) and photos. "Standing among the hundred and fifty remaining grave stones in Herat’s Jewish cemetery," Cemetery photo and photo. "A few kilometers away from the old quarter, an Afghan boy unlocks a heavy wrought-iron door to an open field where overgrown thorn bushes and weeds breed unchecked around craggy and windswept white marble tombs inscribed with Hebrew. The family which has taken care of the cemetery for the past 150 years continue to do their best to protect it, but since Herat's Jews left, they are no longer paid for the work. 'When my grandfather worked here, they were still here and they gave him a salary. But then when the security situation got bad the last of them moved to London. And so our salary was stopped,' Jalilahmed Abdelaziz said, adding that the cemetery contained about 1,000 graves. Through three decades of conflict and the rule of the austere Islamist Taliban, Abdelaziz's family guarded the site, which is off a dirt track lined with Muslim cemeteries. The Taliban, though responsible for harassing the family at times, resisted damaging the graves. 'The Taliban were not the worst of our problems. We had neighbors who would try and desecrate the graves or steal the stones, they were the worst, but we would tell them to stop and tell them what they were doing was unIslamic,' Abdelaziz said.'We knew all of the families here ... If they wanted to visit here they could, but they don't.' Source with photo. [January 2010]
Last Updated on Friday, 15 January 2010 18:06