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Amedi (subdistrict) • עמדיה • ئامێدی • العمادية‎‎ • Amêdî

Amedi is famed for its commanding vista from a plateau atop a hill.

Amadieh has a population of 2,500, of whom 2,000 are Moslems, 350 Syrians, 100 Nestorians, and 50 Jews; formerly it contained 14,000, and was the residence of the Sultan. ... Saw also one Jew, a probable descendant of the ten captive tribes. He says there are 500 Jews in Amadia. Prime 1859, p 274,277; 22,24 November 1856

The Moodir had walked down from his palace to receive us, and his suite accompanied us to the Serai. There his largest room fitted for our reception, and a warm fire made us most comfortable. Immediately he ordered an oriental dinner of six or eight courses, rice, chickens, mutton, cakes, preserves, etc., and closes up with chibouk, coffee, and sherbet. He gives us also a warm cloak of fur. Our room is hung round with various arms, swords, pistols, guns, for impressive effect. Prime 1859, p 272; 21 November 1856

Amadia is a place famous in the history of this country; it was, till a few years ago, the seat of Pashas, who claimed their descent from the Abassidae Caliphs of Bagdad. Ismael Pasha, who was the last of this race that governed these mountains, had 12,000 villages and towns under his control, from which he derived a vast annual income. The Pasha of Ravendooz, whose victorious army had carried terror and dismay into the very heart of the Turkish empire, was the first who aspired to the conquest of this place, but as the town is guarded by nature, and fortified by art, his attempts were all frustrated. In 1831 he encamped with his savage hordes on the hills opposite the perpendicular rock on which Amadia stands; and by intrigues and treachery seduced the fidelity of two chiefs, who betrayed the town into the power of this remorseless tyrant.

The first few months he evinced some clemency and consideration towards the natives; but when his authority was firmly established, he pillaged and massacred all who were obnoxious to his rule. The Jews, who formed a great part of the population, were treated with merciless cruelty and oppression: many of them migrated to other towns; and those that were not so fortunate, submitted to the yoke of the tyrant. The Pasha, terrified at the progress of this chief, sent Reshid Pasha, a distinguished leader, against him, who subsequently brought him to Constantinople, where poison terminated his wicked career.

Mahomed Pasha of Mosul then took Amadia under his iron sway. The condition of the Jews was little improved; they were obliged to carry water and stones from the plain to the citadel, and do every other degrading work, which impeded their industry, and in a short time melted this flourishing community down to the small number of 100 families. Stern (1848), p 117-118

Judaism in Amedi

The day after my arrival I visited rabbi Samuel and rabbi Moses, and at my request they accompanied me to the synagogue. We had only to walk a small distance and then reached a large decayed building, which though quite neglected, still indicated the former prosperity of the Jews. In the interior of the synagogue were heaped on a pile of more than 120 scrolls of the law, some of which the rabbits unrolled with a desponding and melancholy countenance. Stern (1848), p 118; Amedi

The Jews in Amedi seemed equally informal in their religion as the rest of the Kurdistani Jews, though Stern does mention a blind but very learned Hebrew scholar in this town.

In the evening (it being the eve before the latter feast, where the Jews generally sit up, praying and reading the whole night), I repaired again to the synagogue. The congregation, who had already assembled, were seated before the ark of the law with their Bibles in their hands, and long pipes in their mouths. I reprehended them for this irreverent mode of worship, and instantly, with the greatest alacrity, every smoking utensil was removed from the house of prayer. Stern (1848), p 118; Amedi, circa October 15 in 1848


Stern, 1848
Reverend H A Stern, 1848. Jewish Missionary Intelligence, Volume 14, Journal of the Reverend H A Stern.

Prime, 1859
Prime, Samuel Irenaeus. 1859. The Bible in the Levant: Life and Letters of the Rev. C. N. Righter, Agent of the American Bible Society in the Levant.