My Father's Paradise

My Father's Paradise

A Son's Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq

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My Father's Paradise is Ariel Sabar's quest to reconcile present and past. As Ariel's father, Yona, travels with him to today's postwar Iraq to find what's left of Yona's birthplace, Ariel brings to life the ancient town of Zakho, telling his family's story and discovering his own role in this sweeping saga. What he finds in the Sephardic Jews' millennia-long survival in Islamic lands is an improbable story of tolerance and hope.
Publisher: Chapel Hill, N.C. : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Copyright Date: ©2008
ISBN: 9781565129962
Characteristics: text file, rda
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor

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Nov 09, 2019

4/5 stars

Mar 07, 2019

I know the uncle of the author, who is also a university professor but in Israel and not in the U.S. so I was pulled to read the book and learn about the family's background. I was riveted to the book for four days and had a hard time putting it down.

The author wrote the book to get closer to his father, a man he had had a hard time relating to. By doing so, he learned about his Kurdish Jewish heritage and how his father spent the first twelve years in his life, in a small town in Northern Iraq, with Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Kurds, how the family was uprooted when they moved to Israel and how they were treated in the early 1950s there, and how the new generation worked extremely hard and succeeded in getting a good education.

This is in no way a work of fiction, but a story of a family, of a culture, how the culture and the language was recorded for the family and Jewish history, and of the relationship of the son to his father and his culture.

I strongly recommend that people with a Jewish heritage read this book and learn about this special Mizrachi Jewish culture and their adaptation to Israel.,

Jun 22, 2015

Interesting subject, part memoir, part fiction, journalistic writing.

Jun 04, 2013

As a history nut, I had never heard of this group of "lost" Jews, and found the account fascinating and well-written. Sabar's characters and their relationships live so clearly that I sometimes found myself in tears. As a journalist, he knows how to personalize larger issues. I'm the grandchild of immigrants, in an era when the mere word sets of firecrackers, the book is also even more timely than when it was written. He'd have gotten 5 stars from me if the end hadn't felt like a bit of a fizzle compared to the rest, and if the proofreading had been better.

BrigidScott Jan 17, 2012

I don't often pick up nonfiction, but this was fairly interesting.


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