Dear Mira (a reader writes),
I just started reading this beautiful memoire and got to Page 14 which talks about Beit el Barazali. My paternal grandfather bought Beit El Barazali from your grandparents, and he and my grandmother along with my 2 uncles and their wives and both my parents lived there.
Throughout the years we always heard talk of Beit El Barazali. My maternal aunts and uncles and my mother grew up next door to Beit El Barazali, and my then youngest little uncle as a child says he remembers a Moshe living in the house at the time. Throughout the years growing up my mother and father always talked about living in Beit El Barazali as a newly wed couple along with my dad’s brothers and their wives and parents. It was a very large house indeed with a Bustan belonging and next to it.
My grandfather sold the house years later and it became a court house and sectioned into offices. What a small world. We immigrated years ago, and live in NC.
A nice comment about our YouTube video, When Baghdad Was Beautiful:
A reader, Gabriella Amouyal, has kindly been in touch to query something we wrote in Memories of Eden. ‘On Page 109,’ she writes, ‘ the author states …”their prayer shawls and their black morning straps…” I take it that the black straps are the tfellin. From what I know – these are forbidden on shabbat and especially yom kippur. I’ve never heard of a tradition of wearing them on yom kippur. Can I get clarification as to whether this is a mistake in the book or whether it in fact was a tradition for Baghdadian jewry. I am most interested in the answer. ‘
Gabriella, you’re quite right. I am afraid nobody spotted the error. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.
We are delighted to announce a new arrival – Memories of Eden in Hebrew.
Ever since our book was first published in 2008 (republished in 2010 by Northwestern University Press in the USA) we have been aware that lack of English could prevent many for whom the story will resonate from reading it. We have been asked many times whether a version in Hebrew might be possible and now, by popular demand, it is. Our sincere thanks to Moshe Shemesh (no relation), an Israeli friend who has translated the work and organised publication via the Gvanim publishing house in Israel.
It should be in Israeli bookstores now and is also available directly via the Israeli website.
Startling evidence of the once vibrant Jewish life in Iraq came to light in May 2003 when over 2,700 books and tens of thousands of documents were discovered in the flooded basement of the Iraqi intelligence headquarters in Baghdad by a US Army team. Now a dazzling new exhibition has just opened in Washington DC, explaining how the US National Archives and Records Administration and its partners have preserved, catalogued, and digitized the books and documents. A website, http://www.ija.archives.gov/, takes visitors through the exhibit and explains:
“The remarkable survival of this written record of Iraqi Jewish life provides an unexpected opportunity to better understand this 2,500-year-old Jewish community. For centuries, it had flourished in what had generally been a tolerant, multicultural society. But circumstances changed dramatically for Jews in the mid-twentieth century, when most Iraqi Jews fled and were stripped of their citizenship and assets.”
Many in the USA and around the world are concerned that if the material is returned to Iraq the future of the collection will be uncertain. They argue – and we agree – that the legacy should be kept safe in America (or better still, Israel). A well-argued article appeared in the New York Times on November 7 in which Cynthia Kaplan Shamash described the Archive as like lost luggage — “the treasures of a dispersed people who yearn to reconnect with something, anything, of the life they left behind.” Read the full article here: http://tinyurl.com/pygalde