Sura Academy

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Sura is located in Iraq
Coordinates: 31°52′00″N 44°27′00″E / 31.86667°N 44.45000°E / 31.86667; 44.45000Coordinates: 31°52′00″N 44°27′00″E / 31.86667°N 44.45000°E / 31.86667; 44.45000
Country Flag of Iraq.svg Iraq

Sura Academy (Hebrew: ישיבת סורא) was a Jewish Yeshiva Academy in Babylon, one of the two major Jewish academies, along with the Pumbedita Yeshiva Academy, from the beginning of the era of the Amora sages and up till the end of the era of the Geonim. The Yeshiva Academy was founded by the Amora Abba Arika ("Rav"), a disciple of Judah haNasi. Among the well-known sages, who headed the Yeshiva one can note: Rav Huna, Rav Chisda, Rav Ashi, Yehudai Gaon, Natronai Gaon, Saadia Gaon, and more.


A depiction of Rabbi Ashi teaching at the Sura Academy

Abba Arika ("Rav"), arrived at Sura city to find no lively religious public life, and since he was worried about the continuity of the Jewish community in Babylon, he left Nehardea and his colleague Samuel of Nehardea, and began to establish the foundation for the Yeshiva Academy of Sura. Upon the arrival of Abba Arika at Sura city, many disciples began thronging the academy (Not necessarily from Sura city, but also from other places). The establishment of the Academy of Sura was in year 225 A.D., and around 6–7 years after Abba Arika's arrival at Babylon.

At times the academy was moved to Matha-Mehasia (מתא מחסיא), a suburb of Sura city, and after a while a Torah center was founded there as well. Abba Arika's Yeshiva academy included 1,200 disciples, and since it addressed a large community, the Yeshiva academy was divided into sections:

  1. Exedra (אכסדרא, a covered way leading up to the house of learning, open at both sides, as if a divider between the city's streets and the academy).
  2. Kittun (קיטון, rooms that served for the special needs of the Rabbis and teachers of the Yeshiva academy).
  3. Ginata (גינתא, an Orchard green garden, which its produces served as a support for the academy and its disciples).
  4. Tzipi (ציפי, mats serving as a resting place for the Yeshiva academy, and for vacations). Only a short time after the foundation of the Yeshiva academy of Sura, it became more influential than the Nehardea Academy.

List of Sura academy's Deans[edit]

Rabbinical Eras

Amora era[edit]

Savora era[edit]

Geonim era [1][2][3][edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The list names in accordance with Hebrew Wikipedia; & Jewish Encyclopedia - Gaon- Synchronistic List of the Geonim of Sura and Pumbedita
  2. ^ The list names is also based on "Jews in Islamic countries in the Middle Ages", Moshe Gil, p. 404 - A Chronological List of the Geonim of Sura and Pumbedita [1]
  3. ^ The list dates are in accordance with the work of Prof. Moshe Gil, "Kingdom of Israel in the Gaonic era", 1997 (Hebrew). Some of the information concerning the dates are based on factual sources, however, some are based on premises, in the absence of authoritative sources or due to contradiction between sources. There is a dispute among the scholars concerning some of the dates, and not all is agreed upon.