The Kurds are a nation without a homeland.


Kurds have almost never had a country of their own.



A nation without a homeland



Kurdistan is a geographic-ethnic term referring to a large territory  in central Southwest Asia, divided at present among Iraq, Turkey, and Iran.  The total number of Jews in Kurdistan, before the mass emigration to Israel, was about 25,000, sparsely scattered in about 200 villages and little towns.


North of the modern city of Baghdad begins Kurdistan. A hilly, grassy region in Iraq, Iran and Turkey with a pleasant, cool climate and as so, the food and cuisine is similar to those of Iran and Iraq. Similar but not the same.


The Kurds are a distinct, non-Arab ethnic group, with their own language, customs, dress, and ways of life. Originally the Kurds formed a mostly rural society. Traditional tribal villages included nomadic groups, but an increasing number of Kurds now live also in towns and work at various urban trades.


The Kurds are a nation without a homeland. Kurds have almost never had a country of their own. From 1920 to 1923, an independent Kurdistan existed. In 1923, Kurdistan was divided between the two countries that are Iraq and Turkey today. Since then, the Kurds have been divided between Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. They have struggled to build an independent nation. Guerrilla fighters called peshmerga (one who faces death) fight to win territory for Kurdistan. The long years of war and hostility between Iran and Iraq have put the Kurds in a very difficult position. They have large communities in both countries and are constantly caught in the fighting between the two countries.



Kurdistan is a unique synthesis of several cultures and ethnic groups. It embraces a great variety of ethnic groups, and nationalities. The Jews had cultural ties with the Jews of the larger urban centers of Iraq (Mosul, Baghdad), Iran, and Turkey, and especially with the Land of Israel . Many Kurdish Jews had relatives who sought employment in the larger urban centers. Individuals, families, and sometimes all the residents of a village had been emigrating to the Land of Israel since the beginning of the twentieth century. These trickles culminated in the mass emigration of the entire Jewish community of Iraqi Kurdistan to Israel during 1950-1951.


The most important Kurdish holiday is the Nawruz, or Persian New Year. It is celebrated at the time of the spring equinox, or first day of spring (March 21). There are special foods, fireworks, dancing, singing, and poetry recitations. Spring flowers (such as tulips, hyacinths, and pussy willows) are cut, new clothes are worn, and pottery is smashed for good luck. Families spend the day in the country, enjoying nature and the fresh growth of spring. During the thirteen days after Nawruz, families visit each other and visit the graves of dead relatives. Everyone tries to resolve any conflicts or misunderstandings that may be carried from the year before.

Even though most Kurds are no longer nomads, they continue to celebrate important dates associated with that way of life. These include lambing time, celebration before moving the herds to summer pastures, shearing time, and the time of return to the village in the fall. Islamic holidays vary in importance among individual Kurds.



Kurdish Jews, a largely rural people, have lived in the mountains and plains of Kurdistan since time immemorial. They have been geographically isolated throughout much of their history and are thought to have retained some old Jewish traditions.

According to their oral tradition, Kurdish Jews are the descendants of the Jews exiled from Israel and Judea by the Assyrian kings (2 Kings 17:6).


Kurdish Jews, like so many Jewish populations, carried to Israel their unique, ancient culture and ways of life. Finding, collecting, identifying, and preserving Kurdish artifacts are the means of understanding this remarkable aspect of the Israeli cultural mélange.




Burgul (bulgur) used to be the staple food for Kurds. Rice is becoming more popular. The Kurdish diet includes a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Cucumbers are especially common. In the valleys where grapes are grown, raisins and grape jam are common. Meat is only eaten on special occasions. The usual beverage is tea. Kurdish specialties include a type of wafer bread eaten for breakfast, and any kind of grain cooked in whey.




Spinach leaves with eggs


1 Kg spinach leaves

5-6 eggs

1 chopped onion

2 cups water

salt & pepper

1/4 cup oil


Rinse leaves, cut and cook in water for 10 minutes. Fry onion in oil until gold, add eggs and mix well, fry for 2 minutes and add leaves, salt and pepper. Mix and cook for 7 minutes over low hear .




Wheat & Lentil soup


1.5 cups green lentils, rinsed 
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups cold water
3 tabs olive oil
3 large carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 teas cumin
1.5 cups cooked wheat berries 
1 bunch chard, chopped
3 tabs lemon juice

Combine lentils, broth and water in a pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently until the lentils are tender. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add carrots, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to brown. Add garlic and cumin and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds more. Remove from the heat. When the lentils are tender, stir cooked wheat berries and chard into the pot. Cover and simmer until the chard has wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in the carrot mixture and lemon juice.



Beet & Meat soup


1 Kg beet leaves, wash and cut to halves

1 garlic head

200 gr' green onion, washed and cut

1/2 Kg. meat cut to small pcs

6-8 celery leaves, washed and cut

6 eggs

8 cups water

1/2 cup lemon juice

salt to your taste



In a big pot put beet leaves, garlic, green onion, meat, celery leaves, lemon juice, salt and water. Bring to a boil

and cook for 50 minutes. Break the eggs and put into the pot and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.


Can be serve with white rice.




Sweet Turnip


1 Kg turnip , peeled and sliced

1/2 cup sugar



Put sliced turnip and sugar in a pot, add water until it will cover the turnips. Bring to a boil and cook for

about 30 minutes , covered. Eat cold or hot.




Cardamon Cookies


3 cups self rising flour
3/4 cup corn oil 
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
2 teas ground cardamom.
1 egg

Combine sugar and milk in small pan ,stir over heat without boiling ,until sugar dissolves, set a side, let it cool. Sift flour with oil until well combine, stir with the rest of the dry ingredients, add egg, sugar and milk mixture, mix well. Let set for 10 to 15 minutes. Roll dough, cut it with biscuits cuter and place it on baking sheet, brush it with egg , bake in 350 F oven until golden brown.



Rice Pudding


Cardamon cookies - Iraqi version




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