Akre (Aqra), as with many villages in Kurdistan, had a Jewish community about which little is known for long stretches of its history. Located not far from Barzan (to the north) and about 65 miles from Mosul (to the south), the Jewish community of Akre was at times substantial. The village is situated below the Zarvia Dj, or "Land of the Jews," a plateau in the mountains where the Jewish community would congregate during holidays, and which today is the scene of Kurdish New Year celebrations.
An early mention of this synagogue appears in the writings of the traveler Benjamin II who, in 1848, describes how Jewish woman would ritually immerse in the nearby river despite the risk of molestation. Relations between Jews and Kurds, however, seem to have more frequently been good, owning to the strong "local tradition of hospitality."
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