Yona Sabar

Yona Sabar (Hebrew: יוֹנָה צַבָּר‎, born 1938 in Zakho, Iraq) is a Kurdistani Jewish scholar, linguist and researcher. He is professor emeritus of Hebrew at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is a native speaker of Northeastern Neo-Aramaic and has published more than 90 research articles about Jewish Neo-Aramaic and the folklore of the Jews of Kurdistan.

Sabar was born in the town of Zakho in northern Iraq. His family moved to Israel in 1951. He received a B.A. in Hebrew and Arabic from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1963 and a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from Yale University in 1970.

His immigrant journey from the hills of Kurdistan to the highways of Los Angeles is the subject of an award-winning memoir by his son, Ariel Sabar, an American author and journalist.[1] Ariel Sabar's book My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for his Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq won the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography.


  • The Folk Literature of the Kurdistani Jews: An Anthology, Yale University Press, 232 pp., 1982. ISBN 978-0-300-02698-6
  • Sabar, Yona (2002). A Jewish Neo-Aramaic Dictionary: Dialects of Amidya, Dihok, Nerwa and Zakho, Northwestern Iraq. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.
  • Sabar, Yona (2003). "Aramaic, once an International Language, now on the Verge of Expiration: Are the Days of its Last Vestiges Numbered?". When Languages Collide: Perspectives on Language Conflict, Language Competition, and Language Coexistence. Columbus: Ohio State University Press. pp. 222–234.
  • Sabar, Yona (2009). "Mene Mene, Tekel uPharsin (Daniel 5:25): Are the Days of Jewish and Christian Neo-Aramaic Dialects Numbered?" (PDF). Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies. 23 (2): 6–17.


  1. ^ Erdos, Agi (October 2012). "From Generation to Generation: My Father's Paradise" (PDF). Jewish Renaissance. 12 (1): 48–49.

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