Diarna: Geo-Museum of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Life

Diarna: Geo-Museum of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Life Diarna (“Our Homes” in Judeo-Arabic) explores Middle Eastern Jewish life through the prism of physical location by digitizing individual sites and memories
Digital Heritage Mapping is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that melds age-old scholarship and cutting-edge technology to assert the importance of physical location to the understanding of history.

Diarna is an online geographic museum dedicated to preserving and presenting the places that composed Middle Eastern Jewish life. Diarna synthesizes scholarship, field work, and multimedia to create virtual entry points to once vibrant, yet now largely vanished, Jewish communities. Diarna users bridge religious, political, generational, and geographic divides by way of Google Earth satellite imagery, immersive panoramas, three-dimensional reconstructions, archival and contemporary photography, and place-based oral histories. Uniquely grounding Jewish history in buildings, locations, and memories in this comprehensive way enables anyone with an Internet connection to travel across the region as if on eagles’ wings, untrammeled by the often prohibitive realities below.

01/08/2018
Diarna: documenting the places of a vanishing Jewish history

Dr. Beth Harris of Smarthistory interviewed Diarna: Geo-Museum of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Life Jewish Life Coordinator Jason Guberman-Pfeffer about the race against time to save vanishing Jews history in the Middle East and North Africa. Their conversation focuses on the Eliyahu HaNabi (Elijah the Prophet) Synagogue that once stood in the Jobar neighborhood of Damascus, Syria. This interview is part of Smaryhistory's NNational Endowment for the Humanities-supported ARCHES (at risk cultural heritage education series). See: https://smarthistory.org/diarna-documenting-places-vanishing-jewish-history/

A conversation with Jason Guberman-Pfeffer, Executive Director, Digital Heritage Mapping, Inc. and Coordinator, Diarna Geo-Museum and Beth Harris. An ARCHES ...

The Diarna Geo-Museum of North African & Middle Eastern Jewish Life is the flagship initiative of Digital Heritage Mappi...
11/09/2017
A Statement by Digital Heritage Mapping’s Board of Directors

The Diarna Geo-Museum of North African & Middle Eastern Jewish Life is the flagship initiative of Digital Heritage Mapping (DHM), a non-political organization dedicated to digitally preserving historic sites across the Middle East and beyond. DHM works with individuals and institutions of all backgrounds and perspectives. Both the diversity of its partners and the non-political nature of its mandate remain integral to DHM’s identity and success.

The Diarna Geo-Museum of North African & Middle Eastern Jewish Life is the flagship initiative of Digital Heritage Mapping (DHM), a non-political organization dedicated to digitally preserving historic sites across the Middle East and beyond. DHM works with individuals and institutions of all backgr...

09/19/2017
Rare Footage of Rosh HaShanah Prayers at Tangier, Morocco

In this rare film clip, Moroccan Jews اليهود المغاربة pray during Rosh Hashanah at Tangier, Morocco, circa late 1950s/early 1960s. The synagogue, based on the plaque visible at 00:11, appears to be the Moshe Laredo (also known as Yosef Laredo and Akiva Laredo), but the interior scenes seem to be from somewhere else, mostly likely the Avraham Toledano Synagogue, based on the location of the pillars and the Tebah. Hear the shofar at 01:41.

For the full film, "Edge of the West" (France, 1961), see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtBMK...

Thank you to The Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive at the The Hebrew University of Jerusalem for making this film (in its entirety) and so many other archival films accessible to the public.

In this rare film clip, Moroccan Jews pray during Rosh HaShanah at Tangiers, Morocco, circa late 1950s/early 1960s. The synagogue, based on the plaque visibl...

Diarna: Geo-Museum of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Life
06/16/2017
Diarna: Geo-Museum of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Life

Diarna: Geo-Museum of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Life

Diarna is on the cover of Newsweek International! The article, "Rescue Mission: Inside the race to save Jewish heritage in the Middle East," chronicles some of our most exciting operations for the first time publicly. http://www.newsweek.com/2017/03/03/isis-destroying-centuries-jewish-history-middle-east-volunteers-558799.html?rx=us To support ongoing and future missions click "donate" at http://www.Diarna.org.

Diarna: Geo-Museum of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Life is in a race against time to preserve the oral histor...
06/16/2017

Diarna: Geo-Museum of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Life is in a race against time to preserve the oral histories of the last primary source generation with memories of Jewish life throughout the region. We are particularly interested in conducting interviews with: Iraqi Jews(Jews Of Babylon) יהדות בבל from outside of Baghdad, Iraq (places such as Najaf, Iraq, Samawah, Al Muthanna, Iraq, Fallujah, Iraq, Mosul, Iraq), الليبيون اليهود Libyan Jews from outside of Tripoli and Benghazi, Libya (such as Sert, Libya, Derna, Yifrin, Garian, Gharyan, Libya), and Yemeni Jews. يهود اليمن יהודי תימן from outside of Sanaa, Yemen (such as Ibb, Sa’adah, Taiz, Yemen, Aden, Yemen).

Contact us immediately if you or someone you know has memories or documents to share. Diarna researchers are ready to meet you in the United States, Canada, Israel, United Kingdom, Australia, France, or Italy.

To-date Diarna has conducted over 200 interviews, identified over 1,800 synagogues, schools, shrines, and other structures, and documented hundreds of sites via more than 40 research expeditions. Please help us preserve these memories before they are forever lost.

דיארנא: המוזיאון הגאוגרפי של חיים יהודיים בצפון אפריקה ובמזרח התיכן, נמצאת במרץ נגד הזמן לשמר ההיסטוריה בעל פה של הדור העיקרי האחרון עם זיכרונות של חיים יהודיים באזור. אנחנו מעוניינים במיוחד לבצע ראיונות עם: עיראקים מחוץ לבגדד (כמו נגאף, סמאואה, פלוגה, מוסל), לובים מחוץ לטריפולי ובנגזי (כמו סירת, דרנה, יפרן, גריאן), ותימנים מחוץ לצנעא (כמו אב, צעדה, תעיז, עדן).

תהיה בקשר איתנו מיד אם יש לך או למישהו שאתה מכיר זיכרונות או מסמכים להשתתף. חוקרי דיארנא מוכנים לפגוש אותך בארה"ב, קנדה, ישראל, אנגליה, אוסטרליה, צרפת, ואיטליה. עד היום, בצענו יותר מ200 ראיונות, זהינו מעל 1,800 בתי כנסת, בתי ספר, קברים, ואתרים אחרים, ותיעדנו מאות אתרים באמצעות יותר מ40 משלחי מחקר. נא לעזור אותנו לשמר הזיכרונות לפני שהם אבודים לנצח.


ديارنا: المتحف الجيوجرافي لحياة اليهودي في شمال أفريقيا و الشرق الأوسط تكن في سباق ضد الزمن لحفظ التاريخ الشفوي من التوليد الأخر مع ذكريات من عيش اليهوديين في المنطقة.
المتحف مهتم بعمل مقابلات مع اليهود العراقيين الذين ليس من بغداد (من النجف والفلوجة والموصل والسماوة) و اليهود الليبي الذين ليس من طرابلس او بنغازي (من سرت ودرنة ويفرن وغريان) و اليهود اليمنيين الذين ليس من صنعاء (من إب وصعدة وتعز وعدن).

اتصل بنا الآن لأنا انت او شخص تعرفه لكم ذكريات أو وثيقات لشارك .
باحث ديارنا مستعدين لقابل معكم في الولايات المتحدة كندا المملكة المتحدة أستراليا فرنسا إيطاليا إسرائيل.
حتى اليوم تفعل ديارنا أكثر من 200 مقابلات و محدد أكثرمن 1800 كنيست و مدارس و مزارات و موقع اخرى و تجميع صور وفيديو من مئات موقع بواسطة أكثر من 40 بعيثات بحث.
ساعدينا حافظ الذكريات قبل ضايعهم.


#Diarna, #Geo-Museum, #Amrus, #Misrata, #Mislatah, #Gharyan, #Yifren, #Derna, #Khoms, #Zlitan, #Zuwarah, #Zawiya, #Tarhuna, #Tigrinna.
#Mosul, #Fallujah, #Najaf, #Diwaniyah, #Tikrit, #Zakho, #Dohuk, #Sulaymaniyah, #Samawah, #Samara, #Hilla, #Shatrah #Aden, #Ibb, #Taiz, #Sa’adah, #Marib, #Lahij, #Shaykh_Uthman, #Dhamar, #Najran, #Amran, #Hadramawt, #Yarim #Middle_East #MENA #Forgotten_History #Diarna #Mizrahim #Mizrahi #Sephardi #Greater_Sephardi #Sephardic #Iraqi #Libyan #Yemeni #Sephardim #Oral_History

03/09/2017
מבט- שימור אתרים היסטוריים

Diarna: Geo-Museum of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Life is featured in a news segment on Channel 1 (Israel) רשות השידור - Israeli Broadcasting Authority. Contact us here or at [email protected] if you or someone you know can share memories of Jewish life in the Middle East and North Africa, and/or if you have photographs or documents on Jewish sites (synagogues, cemeteries, schools, shrines, or other structures).

09.03.2017 לאורך ההיסטוריה של המזרח התיכון עמדו התרבות והמסורת היהודית, לצד הערבית-מוסלמית: בתי כנסת, מבנים עתיקים ומקומות פולחן. בשנים האחרונות - בשל המלחמו...

03/08/2017

Thank you, Joshua Shamsi, Diarna's Lead Photographer and Outreach Director, for your years of service and your beautiful photo of the Jewish cemetery at Ksar El Kebîr, Ouarzazate, Morocco that appears on Page 1 of Newsweek's US Edition for 3 March.

02/19/2017
Diarna Insights No. 3: Son of the Snake

Today, Sunday, 23 Shebat, is the #hilula (date of passing) of Rabbi Shlomo ben Lahens (Lhens), the Snake Rabbi (literally "Son of the Snake"). Rabbi Shlomo traveled to Morocco to raise funds for yeshivot (schools) in Israel, but was unable to finish his journey and passed away in the Ourika Valley. His tomb remains as a place of pilgrimage for #Moroccan_Jews from all over the world. Join Diarna: Geo-Museum of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Life on a virtual pilgrimage to the tomb.

Perched on the edge of a mountain above a river valley sits the 500 year-old tomb of an emissary from the land of Israel who died while on a fundraising trip...

The latest issue of Lilith Magazine features a short piece on Diarna  and mentions Diarna Co-founder and Sophia Moses Ro...
01/10/2017
Diarna ("Our Homes" in Judeo Arabic)

The latest issue of Lilith Magazine features a short piece on Diarna and mentions Diarna Co-founder and Sophia Moses Robison Professor of Jewish Studies and History at Wellesley College, Frances Malino!

Pictured below: Maghen Abraham Synagogue, Beirut, Lebanon, 1982 (Photo courtesy of The Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot).

Beirut natives Batia and Moise Shems describe their experiences at the girlsand boys sections of the Alliance Israelite Universelle school, in Beirut, which was leveled by a 1950 terror bomb that k...

According to tradition, yesterday, Saturday, 7 January 2017 (9 Tevet 5777), was the #hillula (day of death) of Ezra HaSo...
01/08/2017
Tomb of Ezra, Al-Uzayr, Iraq

According to tradition, yesterday, Saturday, 7 January 2017 (9 Tevet 5777), was the #hillula (day of death) of Ezra HaSofer, Ezra the Scribe.

Ezra the Scribe was the primary leader of the Jews who chose to return to Israel after the Babylonian exile, when Kingكوروش کبیر - Cyrus The Great allowed those wishing to return to do so. With Ezra at the helm, the exiled Judeans moved to Israel and began construction of the Second Temple. The story is recounted in the Bible's Book of Ezra and Book of Nehemiah.

According to the tradition of Babylonian Jews (Iraqi Jews(Jews Of Babylon) יהדות בבלi Jews(Jews Of Babylon) יהדות בבל]), Ezra is buried in 'Uzayr, located in southern Iraq, between Basra, Iraq and Amarah.

Ezra's Tomb functioned as a pilgrimage site for local Jews and Muslims, and there was both a #synagogue and a #mosque on site.

Of late, there have been rumors that all the Hebrew inscriptions in the tomb have been removed, but they are all visible in a 2015 video tour posted to YouTube.

If you have personal recollections of the tomb, or photos or videos to share, please contact us immediately at [email protected]

#Diarna, #GeoMuseum, #Geo_Museum, #Iraqi_Jews, #MappingJewishHistory,

Located on the western bank of the sweeping Tigris river and hidden from full sight by palm trees, the tomb of Ezra has been a source of mystical light appearances and inspiration for dozens of travel writings. A significant pilgrimage site for thousands of years, Ezra’s Tomb was sought out by numer...

In this edition of the Diarna: Geo-Museum of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Life #Insights_Series we travel dee...
12/30/2016
Diarna Insights No. 4: Tomb of The Baba Sali's Grandfather, Damanhour, Egypt

In this edition of the Diarna: Geo-Museum of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Life #Insights_Series we travel deep into the Nile Delta to visit the tomb of one of Morocco's greatest rabbis, the grandfather of the Baba Sali.

Located in Damanhour (Damanhur) (دمنهور ، محافظة البحيرة), about 35 miles south east of Alexandria, Egypt, is the tomb of Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzeira (Abuhasera) (ההילולה המרכזית - רבי יעקב אבוחצירא זי'ע), who is known as the Abir Yaakov (אביר יעקב) (“Prince Jacob”).

Born in Morocco’s southeast Tafilalt region early in the 19th century, the Abir Ya’akov is credited with building a following on the edge of the Sahara Desert. Apparently sensing his own mortality, he set out at an advanced age on a trek across the North Africa (the Maghreb) towards Jerusalem, Israel.

He only made it as far as Damanhour, a city whose embattled Jewish community had endured a succession of pogroms in the 1870s over false accusations of ritual murder, reverberations of the Damascus, Syria Blood libel. During his stay, the rabbi emerged as a figure revered not only by #Jews but also #Muslims, who deemed him a wali, or holy man. After he died of illness on January 4, 1880 (20 Tevet 5640), his shrine soon became a pilgrimage destination for Jews and Muslims.

Ya’akov’s grandson, Baba Sali—known as the #Baba_Sali, or “Praying Father”—led an obscure existence in the labyrinthine Jewish quarter of Rissani, Morocco, until settling in the 1950s in the southern Israeli town of Netivot (until recently a regular target of rocket fire from Gaza). So great was the Baba Sali’s subsequent fame that today in many Jewish communities his visage vies for ubiquity with that of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe - Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.

After the Camp David Accords, thousands of Jews from around the world would come to mark the #hillula, or anniversary of the Abir Ya'akov's death. In recent years, however, a campaign lead by Islamists and Leftists restricted, then prevented, access. While closed to pilgrims since 2011, the #shrine has mysteriously been restored.

Renovated yet devoid of #pilgrims, the tomb rests in its silent glory, waiting for the days when visitors are allowed back to visit and pay their respects to this great rabbi.

To learn more read: "A Monumental Test for Egypt," The Algemeiner, 31 December 2012, Available from: http://stfi.re/agvzpkb

Tablet Magazine
12/04/2016
Tablet Magazine

Tablet Magazine

An organization called Diarna (which translates to "our homes" in Judeo-Arabic), has photographed and digitally mapped endangered Mizrahi Jewish sites.

Pacific Standard
12/04/2016
Pacific Standard

Pacific Standard

The Diarna Project is a geo-museum that merges maps, photographs, research, and oral histories to preserve the present and bring the past back to life.

08/25/2016

Was Sassoon Heskel’s House Actually Destroyed?

Diarna: Geo-Museum of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Life is in a race against time to document Jewish historic...
08/10/2016

Diarna: Geo-Museum of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Life is in a race against time to document Jewish historical sites and stories before they are forever lost. Diarna is working to identify, document, preserve, and ensure untrammeled virtual access to once vibrant, yet now largely vanished, Jewish communities. As political turmoil and conflict continues to ravage the region, synagogues, cemeteries, schools, shrines, and other structures are increasingly caught in the cross fire, if not deliberately targeted for destruction.

This post on the Great Synagogue of Aleppo, Syria is the first in a series on endangered or destroyed sites. Please contact us ([email protected]) immediately if you or someone you know can contribute eyewitness testimony, photographs, videos, or other relevant information on this site or others.

With a vast central courtyard built in a Byzantine architectural style, the Central Synagogue of Aleppo , also known as the al-Bandara, was considered the main, ancient synagogue of the Jewish community in Syria while it functioned. Until its removal during anti-Jewish riots in 1947, the Aleppo Codex, which is noted for being one of the earliest known punctuated manuscript of the entire Hebrew Bible, was housed in the Central Synagogue. Syrian Jews raised funds to partially restore the structures in the 1980’s.

Satellite imagery from 2014 reveals damage to the northern and eastern sides of the Great Synagogue of Aleppo, Syria (here identified by the tablet icon and the yellow outline) as a result of Syria's ongoing civil war. Based on the imagery, the damage seems to have occurred between July and September 2014. More recent satellite imagery has yet to be released, and only time will tell the fate of this and other Jewish sites.

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