About us

The Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center was established in 1973 to preserve the history of the Jewish community in Iraq and to ensure that it remains part of the future narrative of the Jewish nation. To this end, the Center fosters research, preservation and publication of the culture and folklore of Iraqi Jewry.

Adjacent to the Center is the Museum of Babylonian Jewry, opened to the public in 1988 and exhibiting chapters from the history of Babylonian Jewry throughout the generations over the course of more than 2,600 years.

prof. Efraim Tzadka

Chairman's Remarks

Most of Babylonian Jewry immigrated to the land of Israel during the heroic Operation Ezra and Nehemia in 1950-1951. The story of the absorption of the members of this community is astounding. They reached the highest positions in academia, science, arts, culture and sport, economics and society, politics, the IDF and defense system, public activism and philanthropy. Those who escaped Iraq and moved to Europe, the United States, Canada and other countries also reached impressive achievements and contributed to the countries where they settled.


The Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center in Or Yehuda was founded to immortalize the heritage of a diaspora community which no longer exists. It is the largest center in the world for documenting, researching, collecting and preserving the spiritual treasures and art created by Babylonian Jewry. The Center was not designated to represent Iraqi Jewry alone and advance its interests. Rather, the opposite is true: the Center documents and perpetuates the extensive story of the heritage of the oldest of Jewish communities, an opulent heritage which became a part of the entire Jewish nation. This is what makes the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center so distinctive.


The Center attracts thousands of visitors each year who discover the history and culture of Babylonian Jewry and are exposed to its unique treasures. Every year, we expand the museum and open new exhibits with the assistance of the museum’s friends and supporters in Israel and worldwide. There is still much work ahead of us. The large room of safes at the Center includes valuable heritage and historic items waiting for the museum to expand so that we can incorporate them in new exhibits.


Among the immigrants in Operation Ezra and Nehemia were my parents, who immigrated with my older brother and me, a child not yet five years old. The family made its first steps in Israel at the Kfar Hassidim absorption camp near Haifa, where I also began first grade. I feel honored and privileged to have been chosen to serve as the chairman of the executive committee of the Center. I can promise that my colleagues on the executive committee and myself, who work on a voluntary basis, will do our best to preserve and develop the Center for the benefit of our generation and for future generations of the Jewish nation, in Israel and all over the world.



Prof. Efraim Sadka, Chairman

Aliza Dayan-Hamama

GM’s Remarks

For the last three years, after I joined the Center’s executive board, I have had the honor and pleasure to be part of the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center, a valuable and wonderful institute whose aim is to commemorate the glorious legacy of the Jews of Babylonia.

Now, with my appointment as the Center’s Managing Director, I am excited to have the opportunity to join those who are involved in the important daily work of preserving this “jewel” and moving it forward.


As the daughter of parents who were active in the Zionist Underground Movement (Avraham-Nahum Dayan of blessed memory and Audrey (Sofer) Dayan), I grew up on the stories, the language, the pride and the culinary treats of this great culture.

My parents fled Iraq and journeyed to the Land of Israel illegally. They were caught, imprisoned and endured numerous hardships on their way to Israel. Once there, they also struggled quite a bit, moved around a lot, lived in transition camps and experienced the difficulties of absorption, until eventually settled in Nazareth Illit, a newly-founded town. They grew with it, and I, too, grew up there.


As the Center’s Managing Director, I consider as one of my greatest challenges bringing in younger people and encouraging the middle and younger generations to participate in the Center’s wide range of activities. I want our younger community members and their families to enlarge and deepen their understanding of Babylonian Jewish history and culture, thereby helping to preserve the legacy of our parents and grandparents.

I will do my utmost to attract people of the most varied backgrounds to the Center, to see the exhibitions, use the resources, enjoy events at the Center, and to experience the beauty of our culture.

My door will be open to any initiative, advice and request.


I wish us all much success,


Aliza Dayan-Hamama, Managing Director



Board of Trustees

An international Board of Trustees has been established for the Center, composed of Jews of Babylonian descent from Israel, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada.


This is the Center’s highest authority, authorized to discuss and decide any matter pertaining to the Center. The members bear many tasks, including choosing the members of the executive committee and the audit committee, approving financial statements and budgets, choosing the honorary president of the Center and even granting awards to individuals who have made special contributions to the Center.


The Board of Trustees reaches its decisions based on a majority of votes.


Aharon Abudi  |  Eitan Akirav  |  Eli Amir  |  David Asia  |  Yitzhak Barzilay  |  Aaron Basha  |  David Basson 

Moshe Ben Atar  |  Ora Ben Atar  |  Shafik Benjamin  |  Rimon Ben Shaul  |  Yair Dalal  |  Meir Dekel 

Tsionit Fattal Kuperwasser  |  Sasson Gabai  |  Uri Gavriel  | Nora Haim Huri  |  Yaacov Hakham  |  Aliza Hamama-Dayan 

Yitzhak Hayek  |  Rony Hizkiyahu  |  Eytan Irani  |  Gilit Itzhaki  |  Jacob Jacob  |  Ezra Kama (Judge)  |  Izhar Kanne 

Hanna Kazzaz  |  Baruch Levi  |  David Leviatan  |  Shlomo Maoz  |  Esther Meir-Glitzenstein (Prof.)  |  Baruch Meiri 

Linda Menuhin  |  Yossi Muallem (CPA)  |  Noa Naftali‎‏  |  Yehuda Naftali  |  Shlomo Nimrodi  |  Yaron Oz (Prof.)

Jonathan  Peres  |  Liz Peri  |  Yehuda Sadik  |  Efraim Sadka – Prof., Chairman  |  Moshe Shahal  | Yakov Shaharabani 

Yisrael Shahrabani  |  Ayala Shashoua Miron  |  Aryeh Shemesh  |  Iris Shimonov  |  Gil Shohat  |  Vilma Solnik

Uzi Rabi (Prof.)  |  Avi Zamir   |  Kobi Yacov Zlicha  |  Yaron Zelekha (Prof.)

The Names of the Board of Trustees


The center staff

The Executive Board was established to manage The Center’s affairs. At least half of its members must be residents of Israel.


Members of the Board are authorised to prepare the annual budget and various financial statements; arrange the employment agreements; appoint members of the Board of Trustees and choose the CEO.


The establishment and maintenance of The Center and The Museum would not be possible if not for the generous support of donors from Israel and all over the world. We thank each and every one of our donors for identifying with The Center’s goals and supporting them. The Center offers donors, various memorial opportunities. Please contact the chairman or CEO for more details.


Prof. Efraim Sadka, Chairman, 


Ms. Aliza Dayan-Hamama, CEO, 



Executive Board

The Executive Board was established to manage The Center’s affairs. At least half of its members must be residents of Israel.


Members of the Board are authorised to prepare the annual budget and various financial statements; arrange the employment agreements; appoint members of the Board of Trustees and choose the CEO.



The idea for establishing The Center was at the initiative of Mordechai Ben-Porat. It came about as the result of the 1971 Or-Yehuda Council decision to allocate lots for creating community centers dedicated to various Jewish Diaspora communities. In 1973, the idea was solidified by government ministers, Knesset members, and public figures. In 1977, The Academic Council and The Research Institute were founded and the research infrastructure of The Museum began to take place in a room on HaYarkon Street in Tel Aviv.


The infrastructure included a library, archives, and collections. In 1980, construction of The Center’s building in Or-Yehuda was completed and all activities were transferred to it.


Passover, 1988, The Museum of Babylonian Jewry was opened with a large event attended by the President of Israel, Mr. Chaim Herzog


Names of Founders (1973)


  • Mordechai Ben-Porat

  • Shlomo Hillel

  • Yechezkel Kazaz

  • David Fattal

  • Oved Ben-Ozer

  • Shimon Ben-Yaakov

  • Shaul Sehayek



Dedicated volunteers are an inseparable part of The Center and The Museum.

They dedicate their time and skills to various positions in all of the departments.

Those interested in joining the team of volunteers are welcome to contact us at:

03-5339278, or by email: babylon@bjhc.org.il

Field of volunteering

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