Yona Sabar (Hebrew: יוֹנָה צַבָּר, born 1938 in Zakho, Iraq) is a Kurdish 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 Kurdish Jews.

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
  • A Jewish Neo-Aramaic Dictionary: Dialects of Amidya, Dihok, Nerwa and Zakho, Northwestern Iraq, Harrassowitz, 337 pp., 2002. ISBN 978-3-447-04557-5


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

External linksEdit