Sunday, August 19, 2012
Historians Aron Rodrigue and Sarah Abrevaya Stein are the co-editors of A Jewish Voice from Salonica: The Ladino Memoir of Sa'adi Besalel a-Levi. Sa'adi's memoir survives as a rare firsthand account of Ottoman Sephardic Jews of Salonica, a society that was to be annihilated during the Holocaust just forty years after his death.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
NPR did a story last Saturday on Lucette Lagnado's new book, The Arrogant Years, which deals with her Egyptian-Jewish family's struggle to adapt to life in the US, where they moved in the early '60s. It's a follow-up to her wonderful book about her family's life in Cairo, and their exit, The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit. It is notable for not adopting what Joel Beinin has called the "neo-lachrymose" attitude toward the condition of Jews who lived in the Arab world, one that tells a story of constant suffering and oppression. I've not read Lagnado's new memoir, but the NPR story will push me to have a go at it. Here's a quote from the NPR story, which exemplifies how far Lagnado's take on Jewish life in Egypt is from the neo-lachrymose.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
This is an eye-popping account from Israel's channel 2 of a 1951 documentary found in the Israeli army archives, about Israel's "absorption of immigrants." It is as racist and Orientalist and patronizing as can be, all about how Ashkenazi Jews are bringing the dark and savage Oriental Jews (from Yemen) into civilization and the light. Good commentary by Yehouda Shenhav of Tel Aviv University.
A note on the youtube post provides this information, from Jacob Gross, about Saadia, the Yemeni "star":
Zacharia Shalom, son of Hasan and Nur (who played Saadia) was born on April 5th, 1937 in the city of Al Bida, Yemen. Died on the second day of the six-day war, June 6th, 1967, Leaving behind wife, daughter and son.