Baghdad, Yesterday: The Making of an Arab Jew
Sasson Somekh's memoir takes shape like a series of telling snapshots from another time and place. The time is the 1930s and '40s and the place, Iraq, where Somekh and his family were part of the country's then-flourishing Jewish community. The book offers an intimate view of this milieu and manages both to describe vividly the young Somekh's intellectual and emotional growth and to map the now-vanished world of Baghdad's book stalls and literary cafes, its Arabic-speaking Jewish bank clerks, outdoor movies at the Cinema Diana, and bonfires by the Tigris. As the pieces of Somekh's unsentimental memoir accumulate, they also mount in meaning. The book celebrates the ups and downs of Iraqi Jewish life as it also portrays the eventual dissolution of the community in the early 1950s.
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Abu Nuwas Akram al-Jawahiri Alliance school amba Arabic language Arabic literature Arabic poetry Armenian arrived in Israel asked Aviv Baghdadi Jews bank Basra became began boys British brother cafe childhood Christian clerks Communist party cousins culture daughter emigration English European eventually Farhood father French friends girls grandfather Hadid Haytham heard Hebrew high school Hussein immigrated to Israel Iraq's Iraqi Jewish Iraqi Jews Israel Israeli Jabra Jewish community Jews of Baghdad Jews of Iraq Khalid knew language later literary lived married modern mother Muhammad Sharara Muslim Naim Kattan Najaf neighborhood never Nissim parents photograph picture poem poet published Rabbi Ramat Gan religious Rosenfeld Sasson Sasson Somekh secular Shammash School Sharara Shaul Shiite sister Somekh southern Iraq story street studied synagogue Taha Hussein tarbush taught teacher Tigris told translation uncle women word writers wrote Yvette Zionist