AL-QOSH, Iraq — “The Iraqi government was against everything Jewish after the Jews left in the '50s,” said Father Araam, a young Chaldean priest serving in the predominantly Christian town of al-Qosh, in northern Iraq. That, he explained, was why it has been indifferent to the fate of the sole remaining synagogue in Iraq, here in al-Qosh. “That’s why it almost collapsed.”
Al-Qosh, on the Ninevah Plains, is home to several historic monasteries and churches as well as the synagogue, which houses the tomb of Nahum, the prophet who in 615 B.C. correctly predicted the downfall of the Assyrian kingdom. While the town's churches have been well maintained due to the efforts of the Christian community, the synagogue — despite Nahum being regarded as a prophet by the three major monotheistic religions — was allowed to crumble after the last Jews left town for Israel in 1951.