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by: Victor Ozair M.Sc., P.E.

At the 18th annual Seminar on Jewish Genealogy, which took place in July 1998 in Los Angeles, I was called with Dr. Hammou from University of California to take part and lecture on the Iraqi Jews. It appears that this was the first time that Jews from Iraq participated in this Seminar on Jewish Genealogy.

The lecture included slide presentation on historical and cultural background of the Iraqi community given by Dr. Hammou. After this presentation, I talked about the historical immigration of Jews from Iraq to other countries during the Islamic occupation, during the Abbasid Caliphate, during the Mongol take over of Iraq and during the Turkish reign. Details of the severity of Farhood (Pogrom) of June 1 and 2, 1941 was also given. Then I presented a thorough description of the Ozair's (Ezeir) family tree, which I had researched for several years. This generated a lot of interest among the audience.

This research on the family generates contacts with others, develops new friends and reinforces relationships with distance relatives. The family tree is a historical book, where so much about the family is exposed including the genetic information, so essential. The tree motivates the person with a sense of pride to learn about relatives and ancestors who have succeeded in their rich service to their communities. Thus the tree might be a personal inspiration to open vistas towards a successful future.

The lecture took place in Century Plaza Hotel and attracted the organiser of the Seminar Mr Ted Gestin and many members of the Genealogical Society, who came from several countries. It aroused the admiration and the curiosity of the audience, who asked lots of inquisitive questions. It was a good opportunity for us Iraqi Jews to participate with the Ashkenazi in the study of Jewish Genealogy and to show how the Sephardim and Ashkenazim might have interacted in the past.


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