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Leaving Paradise

Adam Shatz: Iraqi Jews, 6 November 2008

Memories of Eden: A Journey through Jewish Baghdad 
by Violette Shamash, edited by Mira Rocca and Tona Rocca.
Forum, 326 pp., £14.99, February 2008, 978 0 9557095 0 0
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Baghdad, Yesterday: The Making of an Arab Jew 
by Sasson Somekh.
Ibis, 186 pp., £9.50, November 2007, 978 965 90125 8 9
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... first temple in 587 BCE, would have seemed unthinkable at the beginning of the 20th century. As Violette Shamash writes, Babylon was the home of ‘our patriarch Abraham Abinou’; the place where the Talmud was written and Jewish law codified. And if distant memories weren’t enough to bind Jews to their ancestral home, something more tangible ...

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