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ISO Sephardic nonfiction (or excellent historical fiction)
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gingertop




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Jun 03 2019, 1:46 pm
I've been trying to understand more Sephardic or rather Jewish MENA history. I know the basic chronological, historical narrative, but I don't *feel* it like I do Eastern European Jewish history.

Two people in my life who provided me with an oral history (one from Persia, the other from Morocco) passed away. And anyway, they were very young when they left so they mostly had a lot of resentment and no interest in going back. I never got the feeling of Paradise Lost from them. I've been thinking about this a lot, especially now that I've read Aleppo Tales, which reminded me of how little I understand the cultural baggage of Mizrachi Jews.

Which is a long-winded way of saying: I need books!! Recommendations for English or Hebrew books about Jews and Jewish communities from MENA would be highly appreciated.
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Rappel




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Jun 03 2019, 4:44 pm
Mizrachim whom long to return to their birth lands??? Nah...

As for feeling the history:

Watch Salach Shebati

You might also read "Forgotten Giants" - a short and lurid history which traces the leaders of Sephardic thought down through to Rav Yosef Kaaro and eventually the Arizal.

I'm not sure about the rest, since I too learn from word of mouth, but it's a place to start.
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amother




Emerald


Post  Mon, Jun 03 2019, 5:31 pm
Ginger top, are you in the OLUF Facebook group? This would be an excellent question to pose there. Based on some of your other posts, you seem like you'd fit right in 😀
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gingertop




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jun 04 2019, 1:52 am
Rappel wrote:
Mizrachim whom long to return to their birth lands??? Nah...


Let me rephrase my question a bit. I don't mean that anyone wants to return to their birth lands. I haven't met any Mizrachim who don't hate their former MENA neighbors with a passion.

My Eastern European grandparents also didn't want to go back. But there was a certain nostalgia to how they retold the stories of their own communities. The cholent that cooked in the bakery, the Rabbanim who visited their town, the local BY... I want to hear that nostalgia- the stories of *their own lives and communities*.
I've read history books (In Ishmael's House and others). I want more of the cultural history.


Quote:
Watch Salach Shebati


Isn't that post-immigration? It is hilarious/pathetic/ sad and great Israeli history.

Quote:
You might also read "Forgotten Giants" - a short and lurid history which traces the leaders of Sephardic thought down through to Rav Yosef Kaaro and eventually the Arizal.



Thanks! I'll check it out
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gingertop




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jun 04 2019, 1:55 am
Are there more books like "The Pomegranate Pendant"?
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gingertop




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jun 04 2019, 1:56 am
amother [ Emerald ] wrote:
Ginger top, are you in the OLUF Facebook group? This would be an excellent question to pose there. Based on some of your other posts, you seem like you'd fit right in 😀


Don't tempt me! I shut down my facebook account a while ago and I'm always scared at how easy it is to regress Hiding
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Rappel




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jun 04 2019, 4:49 am
gingertop wrote:
Thanks! I'll check it out


Ahhh, okay.

I understand your question better now, but I still can't answer it, since my knowledge of Morocco, Tunisia, Persia, and Iraq all came via word of mouth. If you do find a cultural record, please let me know. And if you don't - please let me know as well. Someone needs to write down these stories.

Salach Shabati is focused on the post-Aliyah experience, but it gives a very living insight into the cultural struggle involved in acclimating. (And it also has one of the most famous, funny songs of Jewish history!)

Enjoy Forgotten Giants! Though be warned - you'll be drooling to read the sefarim of these chachamim before you're even 10 pages in.
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Rappel




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jun 04 2019, 4:49 am
gingertop wrote:
Don't tempt me! I shut down my facebook account a while ago and I'm always scared at how easy it is to regress Hiding


Same here! That's actually what originally brought me back to Imamother - it's my nicotine patch.
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finallyamommy




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jun 04 2019, 6:23 am
What about "From Djerba to Jerusalem" about Rebbetzin Shulamit Bitton Blau?
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Raisin




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jun 04 2019, 6:59 am
Not really a book, but Claudia Roden's The book of Jewish Food includes lots of anecdotes of her childhood in Egypt and lots of historical information.

Here is another one from Egypt.

https://www.amazon.com/Man-Whi.....006082218X
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amother




Rose


Post  Tue, Jun 04 2019, 8:14 am
finallyamommy wrote:
What about "From Djerba to Jerusalem" about Rebbetzin Shulamit Bitton Blau?


Ooh my grandmothers book! Though I highly recommend it (obviously) it’s not really what op is looking for. The beginning is about life in Tunisia but it’s mostly about her move to Gateshead and then Jerusalem.

I agree OP, sadly there aren’t too many books focusing on Sephardic heritage.
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finallyamommy




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jun 04 2019, 9:18 am
amother [ Rose ] wrote:
Ooh my grandmothers book! Though I highly recommend it (obviously) it’s not really what op is looking for. The beginning is about life in Tunisia but it’s mostly about her move to Gateshead and then Jerusalem.

I agree OP, sadly there aren’t too many books focusing on Sephardic heritage.


OMGoodness! She has a granddaughter on this site?!?!?! Hello!
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gingertop




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jun 04 2019, 9:44 am
amother [ Rose ] wrote:
Ooh my grandmothers book! Though I highly recommend it (obviously) it’s not really what op is looking for. The beginning is about life in Tunisia but it’s mostly about her move to Gateshead and then Jerusalem.

I agree OP, sadly there aren’t too many books focusing on Sephardic heritage.


Hi!! That's too cool!

Djerba to Jerusalem is a fascinating book. I read it a few months back. When I read it, I saw how little I knew, even of the morsel of cultural info the book quickly summarized.
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gingertop




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jun 04 2019, 9:46 am
Raisin wrote:
Not really a book, but Claudia Roden's The book of Jewish Food includes lots of anecdotes of her childhood in Egypt and lots of historical information.

Here is another one from Egypt.

https://www.amazon.com/Man-Whi.....006082218X


Ordering. Thanks!
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Chayalle




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jun 04 2019, 9:55 am
there was a book I read a year or two ago, had alot about life in Bagdad and then Syria, but now I can't remember the title. Nori, or something like that. About a man who is the patriarch of a large Sephardi clan.
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Chayalle




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jun 04 2019, 9:56 am
I also very much enjoyed a book I have about Yemenite Jewish history. It's actually a translation of the works of Rabbi Yaakov Sapir, a meshulach that traveled to Yemen in the 1800's. It's not an easy read, but very interesting.
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gingertop




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jun 04 2019, 10:09 am
Chayalle wrote:
I also very much enjoyed a book I have about Yemenite Jewish history. It's actually a translation of the works of Rabbi Yaakov Sapir, a meshulach that traveled to Yemen in the 1800's. It's not an easy read, but very interesting.

Do you know what it's called?
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Chayalle




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jun 04 2019, 10:23 am
Just went to look. My Footsteps Echo.
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amother




Rose


Post  Tue, Jun 04 2019, 11:27 am
finallyamommy wrote:
OMGoodness! She has a granddaughter on this site?!?!?! Hello!


Hi! I can PM you but I’m not posting under my username or I’ll be outed!!
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finallyamommy




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jun 04 2019, 1:32 pm
amother [ Rose ] wrote:
Hi! I can PM you but I’m not posting under my username or I’ll be outed!!


Fair enough! I'd love to PM. Thanks!
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