MOSUL’S MADAME ROSH YESHIVA
Judit Neurink (“After ISIS, Mosul finally values its Jewish heritage,” March 1) missed one curious factoid in her fine report on the Jewish quarter of this important Iraqi-Kurdish city. Mosul’s Jews are proud of their rabbinic heritage that includes a woman rosh yeshiva, Asenath Barazani (15901670).
This scholar, called Hatanna’it, was widowed and took over her husband’s yeshiva in Mosul. Her writings and halachic decisions are preserved in archives in Israel and the US, as I discovered when I researched her for an article “Madame Rosh Yeshiva” in Ami Magazine last spring.
Her descendants in Israel, the Baroz (Barazani) family, continue their Mosul customs in the Mordechai Barazani Synagogue in Tirat Carmel, and feature her in their mini-museum in Holon.
SHIRA LEIBOWITZ SCHMIDT