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The articles in this issue have been divided up into the following categories







The Late Salim Dangoor

by Meer S. Basri

My cousin Salim Eliahou Dangoor was an affable, helpful, enterprising and a very considerate person. In 1930 he was eleven years old when our grandfather, the late Chief Rabbi Hakham Ezra Reuben Dangoor, died in Baghdad. An imposing memorial service was held for him in the Alliance School Synagogue in January 19, 1930, where the late Sasson Murad, known as the "Orator of the Community" and many other rabbis and laymen read his eulogies. Sasson Murad prepared a fitting mournful oration for the child Salim and he read it fluently in perfect Arabic, bringing tears from the moved audience.

Salim went to London in 1937 and, after returning to Baghdad, resided for a time in Beirut, Bombay and Tehran before settling in Stockholm in 1950. I visited him in the Swedish Capital in 1957 and passed with him and his family several pleasant days. In the autumn of the same year the inter-Parliamentary Conference was held in Stockholm. The Iraqi delegation was led by the late Said Qazzaz, the Minister of the Interior and Deputy for Sulaimaniyah. My friend Qazzaz visited me and told me he was going to Stockholm. I gave him Salim's telephone number and asked him to get in touch with him. When he returned to Baghdad he praised Salim's hospitality and gave me the photograph of Salim with him and Ahmed Ajil al-Yawer the deputy for Mosul and paramount Sheikh of the Shammar tribe.

Salim kept open house in Stockholm for many friends and visitors and kept cordial relations with the Ambassadors of Iraq, Iran and Israel, among others, and won the affection and esteem of all who knew him.



There is in Jewish thought a concept called yachas which is a blessing for some people and families and a curse for others. The word means class and station and it refers backward to those from whom one comes. The family name Dangoor is one of the most endowed among those whose home for century was Iraq and few scholars are unfamiliar with the name of the grandfather of the older generation of the present family, the saintly and scholarly Ezra Dangoor, former Chief Rabbi of Baghdad and the grandfather of Salim and his brothers and sisters - who are all here today.

A family with yachas can be a source of strength for those who are strong but a source of frustration for those who are not. What I mean is that yachas makes a claim for loyalty - loyalty to the generations behind and those yet to come.

Salim Dangoor was a family man. Nothing was more important to him than Ruth, his beloved wife, his four children, David, Sylvia, Carina, Bibbi and their families and his 11 grandchildren. Here as his heart and at his home there were always grandchildren who had come in to play. Salim had arranged for his family in Sweden to live in the same building. David in America was a phone call away and rare was the day that they did not speak twice with one another.

How his parents inculcated in each and every child a love for family and a mutuality between parents and children. Salim and his father, Eliyahu Dangoor, wrote to each other at least once weekly. I am certain that this was also true for the other family members. Together they gave the old man the strength to continue until he eventually came out in 1973, at the age of 90 when Salim and some of the other children saw him for the first time in about 25 years.

Salim left Iraq in the early 1930's and finished school in England. He studied at the American University in Lebanon and spent the war years in Bombay. He went to Teheran, just before the end of the war and there - he met Ruth Lehr, a Jewish refugee from Austria whose life destiny was as tangled as his own. They married, came to Sweden in 1950 (where he was the only Iraqi) and here these two international people, speaking quite a few international languages, founded an international home and a way of life that made their home into a centre for diplomats and businessmen. Ruth understood and sympathised with Salim's spontaneity. He could invite numerous guests home on a moment's whim and she, though annoyed, could always manage a banquet.

Salim came to love Sweden. He had many loves after family - his summer home, the Swedish nature, bridge which he played competitively and well becoming one of the so-called 13, the truly best in Sweden. Bridge was also an activity where Ruth and Salim shared their time and through which their best friends in the later years, were bridge friends.

Salim was religious in the tolerant, Middle Eastern way. He stood and prayed in synagogue on Yom Kippur. Never a word to a neighbour nor a joke to one passing by, an important about a man who truly loved a joke and recorded them for future use. He spoke to God with his entire being, as he did when he led the Seder at home on Passover. And since Hebrew was one of the seven languages that he spoke and wrote, he knew what he was saying and doing in synagogue and at home. He had a deep respect for sincere believers of all faiths. What he sought was wholeness, authenticity.

Salim was a generous person who frequently assisted individuals and charities without claiming fame or credit.

He died too early and he will be missed greatly by all who knew him.

Above : Stockholm 1957. Left to right : Sheikh Ahmad al - Yawer, M.P.; Said Qazzaz, Iraqi Minister of the Interior; Salim Dangoor.

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