Canada

Canada’s oldest Jewish congregation celebrates 250 years

Canada’s oldest Jewish congregation celebrates 250 years

By Janice Arnold, Staff Reporter     From left, Rose Simon Schwartz, the Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue’s co-ordinator of its 250th anniversary celebrations, shul president Edmond Elbaz and Rabbi Avi Finegold stand in front of the synagogue’s original Aron Kodesh, which is still in use in its daily chapel. JANICE ARNOLD PHOTO   It’s the […]

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Canadian Jewry in the era of ‘none is too many’

Canadian Jewry in the era of ‘none is too many’

By Irving Abella         [In honour of Canada’s 150th birthday, The CJN presents essays on 10 significant moments in Canadian Jewish history.] On May 15, 1939, 907 desperate German Jews set sail from Hamburg on the luxury liner, the St. Louis. They had been stripped of all of their possessions by the […]

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The first Jews in Canada

The first Jews in Canada

By Allan Leviner     When Canada first became a country, 150 years ago, there were slightly less than 1,200 Jews living here. But Jewish settlement in French, and then British, North America, goes back much further. In 1677, Joseph de la Penha, a young Sephardic Jewish merchant, ship owner and financier of privateers from […]

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Arabic has a Jewish dialect, and these women speak it

Arabic has a Jewish dialect, and these women speak it

Public Radio International tells us the unlikely story of the near-death and cultural revival of Judeo-Arabic.      Alina Simone tracked down three Judeo-Arabic speakers in Montreal. They arrived there decades ago, following their exodus from Iraq (with a few stops elsewhere along the way). All three grew up speaking an Iraqi variant of this Jewish-tinged Arabic. […]

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Leaving Iraq

Leaving Iraq

interview with Asad Muallim A plane filled with Iraqi Jews photographed on arrival at Lod Airport in early 1951 (Credit: Teddy Brauner/GPO) B’nai Brith Canada spoke with our member, Asad Muallim. Although Asad left Iraq illegally in the early 1960s, his family that stayed endured many hardships, including arrests and property seizures due to their […]

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Heritage

Back to the roots: Iraqi Jews want their citizenship reinstated

Back to the roots: Iraqi Jews want their citizenship reinstated

Youngsters sit in their classroom in Baghdad’s Jewish Frank Iny School, one of three Jewish school in the Iraqi capital, Feb. 6, 1969. (AP) Staff writer, Al Arabiya English Monday, 3 September 2018 Text size AAA It appears that the issue of Jews of Iraqi descent demanding back their nationality has taken a new turn […]

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In Exile, Iraqi Jews Are Desperate To Reclaim Their Artifacts

In Exile, Iraqi Jews Are Desperate To Reclaim Their Artifacts

by Talia Zax Shortly after the Iraqi Jewish Archive was found, Doris Hamburg, then director of preservation programs at the National Archives, and Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler, then the National Archives’ chief of conservation, were brought to Iraq to assess the archive’s condition. The materials had been stored in 27 metal trunks packed into a freezer […]

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The Last Relics Of Iraq’s Jewish Past Are In America. Should They Be Returned?

The Last Relics Of Iraq’s Jewish Past Are In America. Should They Be Returned?

by Talya Zax On a leafy parkway in the Jamaica section of Queens, there is a house that is no longer a house. It’s one of New York’s two Iraqi synagogues: Bene Naharayim. The building doubles, in some ways, as a museum. The sanctuary houses 18 Torahs kept in elaborately decorated wooden cases known as […]

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The Iraqi Jewish Archive Could Reshape Foreign Policy. But Its Future Is Uncertain

The Iraqi Jewish Archive Could Reshape Foreign Policy. But Its Future Is Uncertain

by: Talya Zax   Iraqi Jews are sure the Iraqi Jewish Archive belongs to them, and they’re determined to get it back. Meanwhile, Iraq is holding firm to the claim that it owns the archive, which it sees as an important commemoration of a rich past destroyed by Saddam Hussein. I asked Iraq’s ambassador to […]

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The Iraqi Jewish Archive is stolen property that should go back to its original owners

The Iraqi Jewish Archive is stolen property that should go back to its original owners

By Carole Basri and David Dangoor, In the preamble to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, it says that “damage to cultural property belonging to any people whatsoever means damage to the cultural heritage of all mankind, since each people makes its contribution to the […]

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Iraq

Iraqis want their Jewish neighbors back

Iraqis want their Jewish neighbors back

Months after a Shiite cleric who won the parliamentary elections in Iraq said Jews “are welcome,” an online poll on the matter suggests that Iraqis are ready to discuss the right of return – more than Israelis are. By Meron Rapoport Immigrants from Iraq and Kurdistan exit their plane on arrival in Israel, having flown via Tehran, […]

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How Iraqi Jews are Reclaiming their Cultural Legacy in Israel

How Iraqi Jews are Reclaiming their Cultural Legacy in Israel

  By Pablo Jairo Tutillo Maldonado Last December, after Shabbat ended, I was walking near the Machane Yehuda, Jerusalem’s famous open-air market, when I saw people celebrating the beginning of the week with drinks in hand and music blasting in the background. What drew my attention to the scene was a vibrant song in Arabic. […]

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With Jews largely gone from Iraq, memories survive in Israel

With Jews largely gone from Iraq, memories survive in Israel

  By Maher Chmaytelli, Jeffrey Heller and Stephen Farrell   BAGHDAD/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Behind the high concrete walls of Baghdad’s Jewish cemetery, Violette Saul lies at rest under a weathered and cracked tombstone, one of the last memorials to an ancient community that is now all but extinct. The Iraqi nurse was buried a decade […]

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The Discovery and Rescue of Iraqi Jews’ Patrimony in Baghdad. Will It Now Be Lost?

The Discovery and Rescue of Iraqi Jews’ Patrimony in Baghdad. Will It Now Be Lost?



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Urban Sephardic Culture in the Ottoman Empire

Urban Sephardic Culture in the Ottoman Empire

An overlooked golden age of Jewish culture flowered in the cities of Istanbul, Edirne, Salonica, Izmir, Aleppo, Damascus, Baghdad, Cairo, and Alexandria—where almost no Jews live today The Ottoman state encompassed vast territories in Europe, Asia, and North Africa. At its peak, the Danube was its northern border in Europe, Tunisia its western strongpoint, the […]

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Personal History

Remember Baghdad coming to TJFF

Remember Baghdad coming to TJFF

REMEMBER BAGHDAD (feature) The attitude used to be “Jews, Muslims, Christians, we were all Iraqis.” For over 2500 years, Jews were an integral community in modern Iraq. However, over the last 80 years, Iraq has been depleted of its Jewish community through three significant waves, leaving an estimated 5 remaining Jews as of 2013. Director […]

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Tea with Iraqi Jews

Tea with Iraqi Jews

  Sol Basha A story-telling session over Iraqi tea with members of the last community of Jews to have lived in Baghdad peacefully. Descriptions of domestic spaces, accounts of escape, and memories of the micro-local environment of their day.   James Kadoorib

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Protagonists of ‘Remember Baghdad’ feel Jews have ‘unfinished business’ in Iraq

Protagonists of ‘Remember Baghdad’ feel Jews have ‘unfinished business’ in Iraq

By Eliana Rudee/JNS  When thinking of the words “refugee” and “Middle East,” many displaced groups come to mind. But few know that some of the original refugees of the region were a million Middle Eastern and North African Jews whose history often entails hangings, imprisonment and finding refuge in Israel.  The critically acclaimed documentary “Remember […]

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Remember Baghdad – a film

Remember Baghdad – a film

On the hundredth anniversary of the British invasion in 1917, Remember Baghdad is the untold story of Iraq, an unmissable insight into how the country developed from a completely new perspective – through the eyes of the Jews who lived there for 2,600 years until only a generation ago. With vivid home movies and archive […]

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Rekindling a Heritage of Peaceful Coexistence

Rekindling a Heritage of Peaceful Coexistence

Why the Legacy of One of the Great Jewish Modernizers of Alexandria Bears Remembering   by Joseph Braude* Ask a young Egyptian what “Smouha” means and he will likely tell you it is an excellent football team in Alexandria, lately ranking third in Egypt’s premier league. He may also know that the team takes its […]

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Israel

Israel said set to seek $250b compensation for Jews forced out of Arab countries

Israel said set to seek $250b compensation for Jews forced out of Arab countries

‘Time has come to correct historic injustice,’ minister says After 18 months of research, first claims being finalized for reported $35b from Tunisia, $15b from Libya, for assets Jews left behind when kicked out after establishment of Israel By Times of Israel staff 5 January 2019 Israel is preparing to demand compensation totaling a reported […]

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Why Have Transit Camps for Mizrahi Jews Been Written Out of Israeli History?

Why Have Transit Camps for Mizrahi Jews Been Written Out of Israeli History?

In 1951, a quarter of a million people were living in what was known as ma’abarot, 80 percent of them from Islamic lands. Most of the camps were dismantled by 1959. Ten forgotten years. An odd question is posed by the protagonist of the television series “Zagouri Empire,” in the first episode of the new […]

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Now-dispersed Iraqi Jewish community fights for access to its legacy

Now-dispersed Iraqi Jewish community fights for access to its legacy

‘Why should someone’s diploma and grades be in a museum?’ With a stolen trove of historical documents slated for return to Baghdad, Jews from Iraq demand their personal effects back — with many of their Muslim former neighbors’ support By Reut R. Cohen     In 2003, a group of 16 American soldiers from the […]

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Evidence of Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem unearthed in City of David

Evidence of Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem unearthed in City of David

  By Daniel K. Eisenbud “These findings depict the affluence and character of the Judean Kingdom and are mesmerizing proof of the city’s demise at the hands of the Babylonians.” During the excavations, concentrated on the eastern slope of the City of David, structures dating more than 2,600 years ago were unearthed after being delicately extricated […]

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What should be the Jewish share of the Ottoman Empire?

What should be the Jewish share of the Ottoman Empire?

June 30, 2017, 11:47 pm Judy Weleminsky   What should be the Jewish share of the Ottoman Empire? Does that seem like rather a strange question? Maybe that’s just because it hasn’t been asked before. When the Ottoman Empire crumbled the land was divvied up and new Middle East countries such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, […]

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Literature

Readings about the Jews of Baghdad

Readings about the Jews of Baghdad

Alexander, Ari. The Jews of Baghdad and Zionism: 1920 – 1948. Diss. University of Oxford, Magdalen College, 2004 Amir, Eli. The Dove Flyer. London: Halban, 2010. Barr, James. A Line in the Sand: Britain, France and the Struggle That Shaped the Middle East. London: Simon & Schuster, 2011. Benjamin, Marina. Last Days in Babylon: The […]

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Remembering Iraqi Jewish Refugee Children

Remembering Iraqi Jewish Refugee Children

by Orit Bashkin, Professor of Modern Middle East History at the University of Chicago. Life for Iraqi Jews in Israel was not easy, particularly for the youngest among them. Between 1949 and 1951, some 123,000 Iraqi Jews who were denationalized by the Iraqi state migrated to Israel. These Jews, I suggest, were not native sons […]

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The Death of an Arab Jew

The Death of an Arab Jew

by Orit Bashkin   [ Introduction from the book Impossible Exodus: Iraqi Jews in Israel ] In 1958, ‘Ezra Susu, a sixty-five-year-old disabled goldsmith and father of a disabled child, went into one of the many welfare bureaus in Israel. He drank sodium acid from a bottle, collapsed, and died on his way to the […]

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It’s Easier to Serve Bagels than Baba Ganoush:

It’s Easier to Serve Bagels than Baba Ganoush:

Chelsie May’s M.A. Thesis at Brandeis: Iraqi Jewish Women Articulate an Arab Jewish Subjectivity

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Changes in the Social Status of Urban Jewish Women in Iraq as the Nineteenth Century Turned

Changes in the Social Status of Urban Jewish Women in Iraq as the Nineteenth Century Turned

by: Dr. Shaul Sehayek, Tel-Aviv Translated from the Hebrew by: Dina Ripsman Eylon and Dalia Maishlish   Forward [1] During the nineteenth century Arab countries underwent an awaking process, which included their Jewish populations. This awakening manifested itself in the imitation of western models of education, culture, literature, poetry and theatre, as well as in […]

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More

Is the Lost Language of Iraqi Jews Really Lost?

Is the Lost Language of Iraqi Jews Really Lost?

| י׳ באב ה׳תשע״ח (22/07/2018) | 0 Comments

By Mardean Isaac On the anniversary of the Farhud of 1941, when Iraqi Jews’ violent dispossession began, a look at how the Baghdadi diaspora’s eventual return to Israel fostered scholarly interest in a rich Babylonian heritage   Is the Lost Language of Iraqi Jews Really Lost? Between 1948 and 1951, the vast majority of Iraq’s […]

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A Tragic Anniversary: The End of Jewish Life in Libya

A Tragic Anniversary: The End of Jewish Life in Libya

| כ״ה בסיון ה׳תשע״ח (08/06/2018) | 0 Comments

 by David Harris   A classroom in a Benghazi synagogue before World War II. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. Fifty-one years ago this month, the world was transfixed by the Six Day War raging between Israel and its Arab neighbors. The war was triggered by genocidal threats from Cairo and Damascus to annihilate the Jewish state, troop […]

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Iraq-born refugee could become first Arabic speaker to head Britain’s Jews

Iraq-born refugee could become first Arabic speaker to head Britain’s Jews

| כ״ב באייר ה׳תשע״ח (07/05/2018) | 0 Comments

Baghdad-born candidate standing for presidency of UK’s most powerful Jewish group says more diverse representation is needed The most influential organisation representing British Jews could soon have its first leader from a Mizrahi – or Arab – background. Edwin Shuker, one of four candidates campaigning to be the next president of the Board of Deputies […]

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Iraqi Jews, Al Jazeera and Theft

Iraqi Jews, Al Jazeera and Theft

| כ״ט בשבט ה׳תשע״ח (14/02/2018) | 0 Comments

 by Lyn Julius, author of UPROOTED: How 3,000 years of Jewish Civilisation in the Arab World Vanished Overnight After taking control of Baghdad from Saddam Hussein, US troops discovered what came to be called the Iraqi-Jewish archive in the waterlogged basement of the Iraqi secret police headquarters.  This priceless collection of Jewish books and documents was shipped to the […]

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The Baghdadi Jewish Dish that was Created in Mumbai and Kolkata

The Baghdadi Jewish Dish that was Created in Mumbai and Kolkata

| כ״ח בשבט ה׳תשע״ח (13/02/2018) | 0 Comments

  the taste was sour and sweet, a smooth, compelling aroma filled my mouth and nose, the texture was silky, a depth in it. i’d never tasted a chicken dish like this before. i’d never tasted anything like this before. the first time i had chicken chitannee, i certainly didn’t think of aurangzeb, or the […]

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In Queen Esther’s Time, Persia’s Baghdad Was the Center of the Jewish World

In Queen Esther’s Time, Persia’s Baghdad Was the Center of the Jewish World

| כ״ח בשבט ה׳תשע״ח (13/02/2018) | 0 Comments

by Maria Bywater   Happy Purim! To mark the occasion, I’m posting this piece about the Jews in one of the cities of Queen Esther’s Persian Empire: Baghdad. It’s an excerpt from an article I wrote in 2003 on an exhibit about the Jews of Iraq at London’s Jewish Museum. The exhibit was called “By […]

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Iraqi-Jewish archive triggers ‘traumatic memories’

Iraqi-Jewish archive triggers ‘traumatic memories’

| ו׳ בשבט ה׳תשע״ח (22/01/2018) | 0 Comments

A battle is ongoing over a collection of Iraqi Jewish heirlooms, as few agree on where it should be based. by Dalia Hatuqa     Baltimore, United States – A group of men and women celebrate a young man’s bar mitzvah, the Jewish rite of passage when boys turn 13, as a rabbi wraps “tefillin” […]

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The Baghdadi Jews of India

The Baghdadi Jews of India

| ד׳ בשבט ה׳תשע״ח (20/01/2018) | 0 Comments

By Joan G. Roland   The Persian Gulf port of Basra began to serve as a trading center of the British East India Company in 1760, and it was from Basra–and Baghdad–that many Jews who played an important role in English commerce in the region gradually moved on to India. At first they settled in […]

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The Nazi-inspired Pogrom That Triggered Iraqi Jews’ Escape to Israel

The Nazi-inspired Pogrom That Triggered Iraqi Jews’ Escape to Israel

| כ״ד בטבת ה׳תשע״ח (11/01/2018) | 0 Comments

Beit Hatfutsot and Dor Saar-Man Sure the Nazi influence was noxious, but how could such an atrocity have occurred in a country where Jews had lived in peace for centuries?   The most traumatic event in the collective memory of Iraqi Jews took place in the spring of 1941 – the Baghdad pogrom known as […]

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Nazi Germany and the Farhud in Iraq

Nazi Germany and the Farhud in Iraq

| כ״ב בטבת ה׳תשע״ח (09/01/2018) | 0 Comments

By Dor Saar-Man The most traumatic event in the collective memory of Iraqi Jews — the Farhud — took place during Shavuot 1941. During these violent riots in Baghdad thousands were raped and/or wounded, Jewish shops and synagogues were plundered and destroyed, and a staggering 180 people were brutally murdered. This unprecedented attack on the […]

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The Good Old Days For Jews in Baghdad

The Good Old Days For Jews in Baghdad

| ט״ו בטבת ה׳תשע״ח (02/01/2018) | 0 Comments

excerpt from the film Remember Baghdad

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Victimized Again: The Jews of Arab States and the June 1967 War

Victimized Again: The Jews of Arab States and the June 1967 War

| י׳ בכסלו ה׳תשע״ח (28/11/2017) | 0 Comments

Much has been written about the historical marginalization of the 900,000 Jews expelled from Arab states in the wake of the 1948 War. Few know that the June 1967 War played a similar role in accelerating the final demise of these historic communities. It is high time the international community rectified this longstanding injustice by […]

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