Meer S. Basri
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.
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
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.
OF THE EULOGY READ BY RABBI MORTON NARROWE AT THE FUNERAL
LAST APRIL IN STOCKHOLM
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
was a generous person who frequently assisted individuals
and charities without claiming fame or credit.
died too early and he will be missed greatly by all who
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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