SANANDAJ (Sinneh ), until 1935 main town in Iranian Kurdistan, N.W. of Hamadan. It was the center of Aramaic-speaking Jewry in Persia, but little is known about it before the 17th century. It is listed as a Jewish community in the Judeo-Persian chronicles of *Babai ibn Lutf and Babai ibn Farhad. The community was visited by disciples of the Shabbatean movement. The 19th-century traveler *David d'Beth Hillel found there two small synagogues and 100 Jewish families, some of them rich merchants (engaged in commerce with Georgia) and artisans. At that time the nasi of the Jewish community was also treasurer of the governor of Sinneh. In 1903 the Alliance Israélite Universelle established a school there. At the time about 2,000 Jews lived in the town. The community dwindled considerably as a result of immigration to Israel after the 1979 revolution, and no Jews lived there in 2000.
A.J. Brawer, Avak Derakhim, 2 (1946), 110–27. add bibliography: A. Netzer "Jews of Sanandaj," in: Shofar (March 2001), 22ff. (in Persian).
[Walter Joseph Fischel /
Amnon Netzer (2nd ed.)]