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Other titles in the Jewish Lives series:
Memories of Eden: A Journey Through Jewish Baghdad (Jewish Lives)by Violette Shamash
Synopses & Reviews
According to legend, the Garden of Eden was located in Iraq, and forand#160;millennia, Jews resided peacefully in metropolitan Baghdad. Memoriesand#160;of Eden: A Journey Through Jewish Baghdad reconstructs the last yearsand#160;of the oldest Jewish Diaspora community in the world through theand#160;recollections of Violette Shamash, a Jewish woman who was born inand#160;Baghdad in 1912, sent to her daughter Mira Rocca and son-in-law, theand#160;British journalist Tony Rocca. The result is a deeply textured memoirandmdash;an intimate portrait of an individual life, yet revealing of the complexand#160;dynamics of the Middle East in the twentieth century.
Toward the end of her long life, Violette Shamash began writing letters,and#160;notes, and essays and sending them to the Roccas. The resulting
book begins near the end of Ottoman rule and runs through the Britishand#160;Mandate, the emergence of an independent Iraq, and the start of
dictatorial government. Shamash clearly loved the world in which sheand#160;grew up but is altogether honest in her depiction of the transformationand#160;of attitudes toward Baghdadandrsquo;s Jewish population. Shamashandrsquo;s world isand#160;finally shattered by the Farhud, the name given to the massacre of hundredsand#160;of Iraqi Jews over three days in 1941. An event that has receivedand#160;very slight historical coverage, the Farhud is further described andand#160;placed in context in a concluding essay by Tony Rocca.
About the Author
Violette Shamash (1912andndash;2006) was born in Baghdad. In 1941, following the Farhud,and#160;she and her husband and their two children fled Iraq for India. They subsequentlyand#160;lived in Palestine, Cyprus, and Israel before settling in London in 1964. Violette beganand#160;writing what would become her memoir in the 1980s.
Tony Rocca, a journalist, spent much of his career on the staffs of the Daily Mail andand#160;the Sunday Times. He has worked with a variety of British newspapers and magazines,and#160;and heandrsquo;s the author of a memoir, Catching Fireflies (2005).
Mira Rocca, Violetteandrsquo;s daughter, worked in the American embassy in London and in the travel industryand#160;before she and Tony became hoteliers and winemakers in Tuscany.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
A Note about Language
Memories of Eden
High Holy Days
Love and Marriage
Postscript: January 2006
Inside Story: Behind the Farhud
and#160; and#160; and#160;Time Line
and#160; and#160; and#160;The Ishayek Dynasty
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