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For the quote to make any sense, I have to cheat here, reaching back to a single line on p. These sentiments were on the strong side, but not uncommon for the era. I write: By November roughly eighty-three thousand Iraqi Jews had registered to leave, but Israel had managed to fly out just eighteen thousand.

Many had left their hometowns only to be crammed into Baghdad synagogues that served as makeshift holding pens for flights that never departed. Reports poured in of clashes with Arab rioters in Basra. Fears of a typhoid epidemic were spreading. The swelling ranks of stateless Jews stirred political unrest. Prime Minister Nuri as-Said threatened to halt the airlifts and expel the Jews to Syria, Jordan, or Kuwait or lock them up in concentration camps.

Israel, however, did not increase its quota for Iraqi immigrants.

My Father's Paradise

Instead, it made room for a flood of immigrants from Poland and Romania. The decision was not without reason: Poland had set a deadline for Jews to leave, and Israel feared Romania might do the same. Jews in both countries had already suffered the horrors of the Holocaust. I have written down the stories of everything I have known or heard, but my kids at this point, know nothing. My Aunt Gittel and Uncle Herse met after the war, and got married.

The way the story goes, five or ten families who slept in tents, who later founded the town of Afula, sat around and tried to figure out how to begin again. They said, who could drive a truck? My Uncle Herse Herschel raised his hand. That is how he became the Fire Chief of Afula.

The town of Afula grew into a huge metropolis, and that firestation stayed in the family for decades. My aunt and uncle went on to have two more children and their youngest Bluma, went onto marry her husband. Who, for the damned life of me, my memory is fading, I am forgetting his name, and I have known it my entire life. I can name all of his four children and their spouses. I remember always knowing he was an Iraqi Jew, one of the people who came from a lost culture, where Jews were unwelcome.

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He too was part of the building of early Israel and had that Kurdish culture within him. Naturally, he became the next fire Chief of Afula, and he is since now retired too. He has a handful of grandchildren and a very nice and blessed life. But my favorite memory of him? And during the Hora, he grabbed the mike at its inception, and sang for 20 minutes, as the entire party danced. It was the longest, most spirited, most moving hora I have ever had the pleasure to be a part of, and it was unforgettable.

I have never felt such an alive part of moving tradition. It was kind of incredible, a bit of past reclaimed. Always, my memory of that guy, will be him just grabbing the mike and singing his full heart away. I recalled talking to her, and she told me how hard it was for family and community, and the mistreatment in and out of Iraq, as well as the desire to retain a piece of culture from a beloved homeland and legacy.

That one conversation impressed on me so much. And its telling that the number of Iraqi Jews that I have met, totals two. Him and her, and its telling that I cannot even remember either name. Not even his. It will come to me at some point. Maybe its Yesher. Capture what was lost, so like a language, somehow a piece of it remains. Because it is within us, even as we assimilate down. It is the legacy we leave, through words, and writing, memories, song, food, language, and most especially heart.

View 1 comment. Oct 07, Brina rated it it was amazing Shelves: jewish-books. Read about 4 years ago. Not fresh in mind but was a gem of a book. The vast majority of us Jews only use Aramaic in prayer. The Sabars spoke Aramaic as their mother tongue. This is their amazing story. Aug 15, Marlene rated it really liked it. This starts out slow. Deep subject. Moves faster as you get into the story and why the author has chosen to write about his father. I found that it gave yet another insight into the Middle East and their way of thinking. It is a beautiful tribute to a well-loved father.

Jun 24, Michelle rated it it was amazing Shelves: history , around-the-world. I really had my expectations exceeded with this one, yet it is hard to describe. Story of Kurdish Jews? Story of the demise of Aramaic? I didn't know anyone still spoke it. Story of a son coming to terms with a father he had never understood? Story of keeping roots in a different land? Maybe all of these things. This haunting part-journalism, part novel, part memoir Wow.

This haunting part-journalism, part novel, part memoir has elements of all of these. It is a beautiful book, but with a part of it always just out of reach, like the missing aunt the author desperately wanted to find but couldn't. I loved the way the author re-imagined, re-created the past he could not completely pin down through interviews--something I've often toyed with doing myself, although with less exotic material. I cried as he imagined his grandmother, forced to hand over the daughter she could not nurse to a wet-nurse, and then never seeing her again.

Jan 31, Judy rated it it was amazing. If you are an American Jew, the offspring of immigrants, a linguist, a student of the Mideast crisis, or an ex-teen who's finally dropped the attitude, you should read this book. And if I'm not mistaken, that would be all of us. Nor pondered the enormity of forced exile and the task of assimilating these uprooted peoples in America or Israel. Never knew the painstaking If you are an American Jew, the offspring of immigrants, a linguist, a student of the Mideast crisis, or an ex-teen who's finally dropped the attitude, you should read this book.

Never knew the painstaking scholarship involved in archiving an ancient language. I was taken aback by the prejudices held by European immigrants towards those from the Middle East and Africa during the settlement of Israel. And heartened to learn that in Kurdish Iraq midway through the 20th century per a village elder there, "We and the Jews were loving each other We were blood brothers.

Take a journey with Mr. Sabar back to a lost homeland, back to family. It's a place we all need to visit. Sep 29, Colleen rated it it was amazing Shelves: reviewed , non-fiction. Though Ariel Sabar may regret that his relationship with his father was so contentious, readers have cause to rejoice because that fractured relationship led Sabar to pen this elegant tale of his father's life and language. Yona Sabar, a Jewish Kurd, grew up speaking Aramaic, an ancient language now all but lost.

He is also a celebrated linguist who has worked tirelessly to document his language before it dies. This book traces that effort, weaving a colorful tapestry of Jewish life in Iraq, Kurd Though Ariel Sabar may regret that his relationship with his father was so contentious, readers have cause to rejoice because that fractured relationship led Sabar to pen this elegant tale of his father's life and language.

This book traces that effort, weaving a colorful tapestry of Jewish life in Iraq, Kurdish life in Israel, and immigrant life in America. Though the portions of the book dealing with Ariel himself were less compelling, the tales of Yona's early life in Kurdistan are hypnotic- I had a difficult time putting this book down.

The writing is excellent and the character of Yona breathes throughout the book. The book is never technical about linguistics; the story of Yona's work is presented as I believe he experienced it- a treasure hunt generating excitement with each new clue. Highly recommended! Aug 23, Kathy Bermudaonion rated it liked it.

His starts his journey as a young Jewish boy in a small village in Kurdish Iraq. From there, his journey continues to Israel and it finally ends in the United States. Yona is a humble man, who believes in the value of mankind. Ariel and Yona take the final journey together, traveling to Israel and Iraq.

He comes to appreciate the value of preserving the past as we move into the future. I enjoyed this moving tribute to a humble man and his people. It was wonderful to see the transformation in the relationship between Ariel and Yona. I have to admit that I found some of the political and historical facts a little difficult to follow.

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I did learn a lot about the history of Iraq, though. Jul 16, Lilisa rated it really liked it Shelves: around-the-world , , iraq , non-fiction. Amidst the Middle East conflicts following World War II, Zakho Jews were airlifted to Israel, exposing them to the challenges that the new state of Israel was faced with — making arrangements to house, feed and deal with the thousands of Jews streaming in from all areas of Europe and the Middle East — the magnitude of which they had not anticipated.

A well-written and absorbing book that not only provides an authentically rich landscape of what it was like for Jews living in Kurdish Iraq, but also takes us into the complex world of a father-son relationship that collides amid the cultural backdrop of old vs. Jul 14, Tracy rated it it was amazing. An excellent book describing one family's experience being driven from their life in Kurdistan and eventually settling in the USA. The reader gains and understanding of the difficulties involved in assimilation to a foreign land.

The story is well written, full of detail and a pleasure to read. Shelves: jewish , bookclub , memoirs , culturalidentity. Yona was born in Zakho, Kurdistan; moved to Israel with his family at the age of twelve; and left for America in his twenties where he became an important scholar of the Neo-Aramaic language. Ariel Sabar's carefully researched book, while focusing essentially on Yona's story, also includes some interesting information about the history of the Kurdish Jews in Zakho and their ignominious reception i "My Father's Paradise" describes the life and family background of Yona Sabar, the author's father.

Ariel Sabar's carefully researched book, while focusing essentially on Yona's story, also includes some interesting information about the history of the Kurdish Jews in Zakho and their ignominious reception in Israel in the s, plus a bit of background about the advent of Neo-Aramaic as a recognized language for study. This book was something of a slow starter for me, especially since I wasn't crazy about Ariel's efforts to reconstruct his family's early history in narrative form by fleshing out anecdotes with imagined and sometimes stilted dialogue.

Gradually, though, I became fascinated with the story of Yona's rise as the young son of impoverished and uneducated Kurdish parents who never quite learned the ropes in Israel, becoming a Yale graduate and renowned academic. Ariel's journalistic skills are evident in this book -- it is clearly the product of numerous interviews and extensive investigation but the tone remains readable and engaging, never heavy. Ariel also displays admirable honesty as he describes the rebellious attitude he displayed toward his immigrant father as an aggressively American California teen, and how this attitude was eventually transformed to one of closeness and respect.

This is a book I probably would not have picked up had it not been for my book club, but I'm glad I did. Like The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: My Family's Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World , it exposed me to an unfamiliar Jewish community and was a touching story of immigration, trying to reinvent oneself in a new culture, and the complicated relationships within a family. Ariel doesn't shy away from complexity; he shares some choices that his father and his family had to make that might be difficult for 21st century readers to understand, and does so in a sympathetic and respectful way.

If the topic interests you at all, I definitely recommend this book. Sep 01, Kathy rated it really liked it. An excellent, award winning biography from a California raised man trying to better understand his father's journey from Kurdistan to Jerusalem to the United States. Tucked on an island in the river, cut off from the other tribes of Judaism, lived a small but thriving community of Kurdish Jews.

Now a part of Iraq, the island town of Zakho found Arabs and Jews living peacefully together, speaking the ancient tongue of Aramaic, until the Jews were forced out of Iraq in the s. Israel absorbed h An excellent, award winning biography from a California raised man trying to better understand his father's journey from Kurdistan to Jerusalem to the United States. Israel absorbed hundreds of thousands of these Sephardic Jews, but they were not welcomed with open arms like the Jews of Europe were.

Ariel Sabar's grandparents had a very hard time assimilating, but not so his father Yona, who was just shy of his 13th birthday when they landed in Israel. Yona Sabar thrived in Jerusalem, his fluency in Aramaic proving to be his ticket to a better life, via graduate study at Yale University. Like his parents, he also had trouble assimilating, finding the United States a very confusing place to live. His children grew up typical California children, embarrassed of their immigrant father. By traveling back to Zakho to learn about his ancestry, Sabar comes to write a very interesting and readable story.

It is a story of maturity and coming of age from the author, a story of the history of a little known group of Jews who evolved so differently from the more well known Jewish tribes, a story of the difficulties of immigrating and assimilating, and a story of tolerance and acceptance - from the Arabs who lived so peacefully with the Jews to the parents who accept their Gentile daughter-in-law to the son who embraces his Judaism but rejects customs that many Jewish parents would find unthinkable. Jan 21, Jeffrey rated it liked it Shelves: general-reading , israel-middle-east. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.

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  • Ariel Sabar – My Father’s Paradise. A Son's Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq?

I am a sucker for father son stories. My son gave me this book and I thank him for it and would encourage him to read it. In fact, I plan to send it to him tomorrow so that he can take it on vacation next week. I would divide this book into thirds. The first third is almost like a fairy tale as the author describes what he has learned about his father's family through interviews and historical research.

Like the beginning of Hanta Yo, you can't tell what is legend and what is fact. I really enjo I am a sucker for father son stories. I really enjoyed this part - who knew that there were Jews in Kurdistan speaking Aramaic in the 's? The second third describes his father's life, starting in Kurdistan and ending in Los Angeles.

Quite an amazing journey! Also very enlightening and interesting. The final third includes the author himself, his father's son, and his total rejection of his past, his total immersion in the LA lifestyle, his marriage to a non Jew not a terrible thing in and of itself, but I really didn't like him.

He tried to redeem himself with readers and with his father by engaging in what is ultimately a fruitless quest to find a long lost aunt. It really didn't work. In the end this is an easy to read and interesting story of a family who's story spans three continents and many centuries. The experiences in Israel of this "oriental" family uncovers and highlights some of the basic prejudices in Israeli society that probably still persist today.

Give it a read and see what you think. Nov 17, AnnaMay rated it really liked it. Fantastic book. Sabar is a GOOD writer. I was surprised at how enjoyable this book was and easy to read once I got into it I had selected it as one of my 'grow my brain' books to read inbetween my fun reads.

What a pleasant surprise. Sabar did a great job of interjecting snippets of history those paragraphs I sometimes had to read a few times to make sure they sunk in in a great great story of his father's upbringing and immigration to America. I was fascinated, having never been in touch with anyone's story who grew up in an isolated part of the world where Aramaic "the language of Christ" was the main language and just spoken at that.

Zahko, where Sabar's father grew up, was so isolated that many villagers didn't even read. They were born, lived and died in Zahko, having never ventured into the 'outside' world. I find myself more connected to my past after reading this book. I realize that I am much more a creation of those who went before me than I before acknowledged. My love for people just grew that much deeper. Thanks for broadening my Horizons, Sabar! View 2 comments. Mar 28, Gloria rated it really liked it. This book made the tremendous challenges of Arab-Jew relationshipscome alive as the author tells the story of his family and their roots in Kurdish Iraq.

Ariel Sabar, the author, is a journalist and begins exploring his father's story from a reporter's point of view, but soon gets caught up in the family dynamics and emotion. The changing roles of women and men , the desire of youth to embrace all things modern leaving behind the culture and language of their parents, and the changing political This book made the tremendous challenges of Arab-Jew relationshipscome alive as the author tells the story of his family and their roots in Kurdish Iraq.

The changing roles of women and men , the desire of youth to embrace all things modern leaving behind the culture and language of their parents, and the changing political status of Kurdish Jews in both Iraq and Israel present pressures on each family member and each responds in his own way.

I really liked this book, a true story, and admire the courage displayed. I was particularly caught up in the parents' hope to keep the children 'true to the faith' as the children moved deeper and deeper into modern culture that the parents didn't understand or embrace. Oct 01, Karen rated it it was amazing.

I enjoyed learning the history but really savored the personal story that parallels the history. What an interesting story of how the language persisted bc the Kurds became isolated, then I enjoyed learning the history but really savored the personal story that parallels the history. What an interesting story of how the language persisted bc the Kurds became isolated, then the mass exodus of Jews to Israel and the issues surrounding moving a mass amount of people to a new area, the journey to America, and how to preserve a culture while also wanting to integrate to a new country twice!

A great read — I looked forward to reading it each night. For details of the book, see the "description". This book combines my cravings in a book; an earnest to know your parent as a person, a place that is part of Iraq politically the least , Judaism and looking back.

Also, after reading few books such as this written by authors who are also journalists I am realizing they contain the perfect balance of literary embellishments and storytelling. Jul 02, Marsha rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. A very interesting book about the author's family of Kurdish Jews in Iraq. An interesting book which focuses on Jews who lived in Kurdistan, a part of Iraq. The author yearning to know more about his father, researches his families lives from Kurdistan to Israel and then the United States.

The Kurds are a unique group of Jews who spoke Aramaic while others around them spoke Arabic. They dressed differently than other Iraqis but also Eastern European Jews. As the author researches this book through 4 generations, he not only learns about his father and other family memb An interesting book which focuses on Jews who lived in Kurdistan, a part of Iraq. As the author researches this book through 4 generations, he not only learns about his father and other family members but also about himself and his unique background.

This was a good read although at times, it seemed to get bogged down with too many details. I read this for a book group and do wonder if I would have read it otherwise. I do recommend it for those that are interested in another culture and their way of life as their lives changed and they needed to adjust.

This book tells the story of the author, Ariel Sabar, and his father, Yona. The story begins when Yona is a Jewish boy growing up in Kurdish Iraq in the early twentieth century, a time when the Muslims, Christians, and Jews of the region lived in relative harmony. When religious tensions began to escalate in the Middle East mid-century, teenaged Yona and his family emigrate to Israel, thus forfeiting their Iraqi citizenship.

Yona eventually moves to the United States and becomes a leading schola This book tells the story of the author, Ariel Sabar, and his father, Yona. I was really fascinated by the part of the book that took place in Israel. Yona and his family struggled to make their way in a society dominated by European Jews, facing the stereotypes and prejudices against Kurdish Jews and Middle Eastern Jews in general. Ariel and Yona travel to Israel and Iraq together to gain insight into the past.

The book was very well balanced between history, politics, and personal narrative. I learned a lot about the history and politics of the time and region. The book is by no means overly political or religious, but there are definitely valuable insights into both. The personal story was very well-written and heartfelt. The author did an excellent job depicting himself, his father and their relationship. I was in tears by the end of the book seeing how their relationship progressed. I debated between four and five stars. I would definitely recommend this book. A truly captivating story. Ariel Sabar's exquisite telling of his family's history as they leave Kurdistan for Israel and points beyond.

It's not very often one finds a storyteller who can captivate an audience with a true story. Ariel is a modern day bard and the story he tells is one that everyone should listen to. Every poignant point of life is captured within these pages. The truly ancient way of Jewish life in a Kurdistan town brought to life how venerable and prolific Jewish religious tra A truly captivating story. The truly ancient way of Jewish life in a Kurdistan town brought to life how venerable and prolific Jewish religious tradition is. The tale of Kurdistan life illustrated the Middle Eastern sectarian violence experienced today is a recent development within a long history of this region.

It is not the norm. His family's forced adaptation to Western ways in the struggling infant country of Israel during the early '50's was eye opening. A migration of over , diasporadic Jews to the Land of Israel in less than a decade from the country's birth is almost too much to imagine. The struggles of the family to adapt from an older clannish based culture to a modern post-industrial city was heart breaking to experience through the written word.

My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for His Family's Past - Ariel Sabar - Google книги

The disenfranchisement of Ariel's grandparents while trying their very best to succeed for their family was a story that needs to be told in today's world as we experience mass migrations through many regions. Like his father, Ariel's book is an attempt to capture his family's history and experience for the generations to come. There are lessons between these pages for all of humanity that are told in a manner that all cultures will relate.

Jan 22, Suzanne rated it it was amazing Shelves: zany-zodiac , favorites , non-fiction , kindle , around-my-bookshelf-year-3 , memoir. Author Ariel Sabar grew up in California, but his father's family were Kurdish Jews who came from a mountainous village called Zakho in northern Iraq.

The people of this region were among the last to speak the ancient language of Aramaic, and Sabar's father is a pre-eminent scholar in this field. While life in Zakho was peaceful between the Arabs and the Jews, by the 's things began to change. Anti-Semitic behavior was on the rise, and made it's way throughout Iraq. It seemed to hit isolat Author Ariel Sabar grew up in California, but his father's family were Kurdish Jews who came from a mountainous village called Zakho in northern Iraq.

It seemed to hit isolated Zakho late, but eventually the family felt compelled to emigrate to Israel. Once there, they were confronted by a new kind of discrimination. With so many Jews coming to Israel from all over the world, a type of Jewish class system evolved - with Kurdish Jews at the bottom. Ariel's story of his father, Yona, and his rise to respectability through education is so compelling.

I'm certain he never thought that his knowledge of Aramaic would be his ticket to success. This work is a memoir of Sabar, his family history and a fascinating look into the study of Aramaic. I can't say enough good things about it. Not only is it well-researched, but it's incredibly interesting and well-written. Nov 16, Vicky rated it liked it. This book was recommended to me by one of my customers and I was not sure if I want to read it at all.

I am glad that I did. It is not an ordinary biography; this book is a window into the world that does not exist anymore. Imagine a "Lost tribe of Israel" left to live peacefully in the midst of an Arab world. Imagine people who were so cut from the modern world that they spoke the Ancient Aramaic in the 20th century, while scholars pronounced this language dead for hundreds of years. It was the This book was recommended to me by one of my customers and I was not sure if I want to read it at all. It was the language of Jesus, the language used by Assyrian and Persian empires.

Isolated and surrounded by Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria the Kurdish Jews kept their culture intact for nearly years. When they had to leave Iraq for Israel after the their Arab neighbours cried and mourned their departure.

In Israel they were looked upon as barbarians and dimwits without any prospects. Here is a book about the life in exile, about the drama of integration into the new culture and the gap between the fathers and sons. And the most important this book is about the power of language and the past that can destroy the family or bring it together. Sep 21, Andrew rated it it was amazing Shelves: biography. This is a very, very good read.