The last remnants of Iraq’s once-vibrant, 2,500-year-old Jewish community left the country long ago. (Only five Jews remain, according to a recent New York Times op-ed.) But some Iraqi Jewish manuscripts, community records, and holy books may soon be sent back, much to the chagrin of Jewish Iraqi expatriates.
According to the Hebrew Bible, there are any number of crimes for which death is considered the appropriate penalty. Murder another person, and your own life is forfeit. Violate the Sabbath, and you will be stoned. Indulge in incest or adultery, and it is all over. Worship idols, and you have committed a capital crime. And the list goes on.