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NAHRAWĀN , town in Iraq, E. of *Baghdad. Nahrawān was a flourishing town during the time of the *Abbasid caliphs (8th and 9th centuries) because the main highway to Persia passed through the town, crossing the Nahrawān canal at this point. At this time it had a large Jewish community, some of whose members were said to have come there from *Egypt. The Nahrawān community belonged to the "domain" of the exilarch. To judge by the large income that the exilarch deried from the Nahrawān community (and from Jews living in its vicinity), according to Nathan ha-Bavli the community must have been of considerable size. In the first half of the tenth century a blind scholar from Nahrawān, R. *Nissi (Nissim) al-Nahrawāni was resh kallah at one of the academies. He brought about a reconciliation between the exilarch David b. Zakkai and the head of the Pumbedita academy. R. Nissi subsequently became one of the exilarch's advisers. In the late Middle Ages the caravans to Persia changed their route and as a result Nahrawān fell into decay.


Neubauer, Chronicles, 2 (1893), 79–80, 85; A.E. Harkavy, Zikkaron la-Rishonim ve-gam la-Aḥaronim, 1 (1887), 141, no. 285; G. Le Strange, The Lands of the Eastern Caliphate (1930), 61; Mann, in: Tarbiz, 5 (1934), 154–5.

[Eliyahu Ashtor]