Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Curious Custom of Kurdish Jewry

I saw a very curious custom in practice among the Jews of Kurdistan. On Rosh ha-Shanah they all go to a river that flows at the foot of a hill, and say the prayer of the Casting [Tashlich].
Afterward they all jump into the water and swim around like the fish of the sea, instead of only shaking the hems of their clothing on the bank of the river, as our brothers the children of Israel do in Europe. And when I inquired of them the reason for this curious custom, they answered that by this act they were purified of all their sins, for the waters of the river wash away all the sins they have commited during all the past year.
-Israel ben Joseph Benjamin, Masae Yisrael, Lyck, 1859.

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