to the Editor
am very impressed with your online publication as well as
your links page. I think it is wonderful that you are recording
Iraqi Jewish history and current events. My father escaped
Baghdad and came to the United States, and I am very interested
in learning more about my Sephardic/Mizrachi heritage. I
would also like to meet other Jews of Iraqi ancestry. Do
you know if there are any online communities (such as email
groups or web-based newsgroups) of Iraqi Jews? I would think
that in these days of the internet it would be fairly easy
to form an online community for sharing stories and meeting
people. I would also like to know if there are any Iraqi
Jewish organisations, either cultural or religious, in the
Maryland or central New Jersey/Philadelphia areas. I feel
somewhat separated from my culture due to living in a majority
Ashkenazi Jewish culture. Any information you can provide
will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
is a site on the internet of Iraqi Jews which might be helpful:
am very pleased to note from The Scribe issue 73, which
I came to receive just recently, that you have embarked
on a very noble act of building a Synagogue in London. Yishar
Kow-Hakh! Undoubtedly, by doing so you are putting more
and more superb humanity on display, which fact
gives delight and pleasure to all the community wherever
they are, seeing yourself harnessing all of your thoughts
and actions towards our national essence, so much embedded
in your consciousness, that at such moments our minds and
hearts are naturally captivated by your engagements, and
eternally noble acts. Please enjoy winning the grace of
regards importing chairs from Italy for the Synagogue, I
understand that Mr Victor Tchenguis who inaugurated a Synagogue
in Israel several months back, had the chairs imported from
can rather see even in Israel and among Sephardic Communities
a preference toward having benches such as those found in
the famous Synagogues in London, such as Marble Arch, Great
Portland Street, Hampstead Garden Suburb, etc.
would like to bring to you kind attention that the main
central Italian Synagogue in Milan which was re-structured
by Messrs Dwek and Picciotto a few years ago and who succeeded
to give it a new name "David and Mordechai" Synagogue
(the names of their respective fathers) preferred, as I
was informed, to bring the benches from Israel: the style
more or less enters in the category of the London Synagogues
which I mentioned before.
am writing to thank you for the copy of "Adi Zahav",
a commentary on Chumash by Rabbi Hakham Ezra Dangoor, who
is in fact my great great grandfather.
gave me great pleasure to read the pages of the Sefer, and
I look forward with anticipation to any future publications.
of Baghad and Basra
am writing my memoirs of my life in Iraq, and I need street
maps of Basrah and Baghdad. I would very much appreciate
it if you could tell me how I can get these maps. I have
not been able to get these maps in the USA. My email address
is email@example.com and my mailing address is 500 Manhattan
Drive, B4, Boulder, CO 80303. My phone number is 303-499-6193.
The Babylonian Jewry Heritage Centre
83 M Ben-Porat Avenue
Or Yehuda 60261
tel no: 972 3 533 9278-9
have been given to understand that a new issue of The Scribe
was received by friends residing in the USA. I have checked
here but no-one I talked to has received one in Montreal.
May I have a copy?
The Scribe is now on the internet and a colour print-out
is obtainable from anyone who has access to the internet.
are prepared to provide a print-out at a price of US$20
which includes airmail postage. However, we are sending
you a copy with our compliments for your own use.
would like to obtain a copy of this volume (69)... can anyone
help? Im more than happy to pay for it!
If you would like to email your postal address we shall
send issue No. 69 to you.
Thank you ever so much for graciously sending me a copy
of Vol. 69 of the Scribe. As I had hoped, the Somekh Family
Tree that appeared in the issue indeed tracks my own ancestors,
and I found my grandfather and my two great-aunts towards
the more recent generations. My grandfather will be thrilled
when he sees this, as I am sending a copy today. Thank you
very much, and best wishes to you.
My grandfathers name is Godfrey Somech, who appears
at the bottom centre of the second page.
was passing your premises today and noticed your brass plate.
Being very interested in Londons buildings and their
occupants, I should be very grateful if you could tell me
something about your organisation, its history and how long
you have occupied the premises.
I do not think I have ever heard of the Exilarchs
Foundation. Your help would be very much appreciated.
reference to your letter dated 29 January, we are a Charitable
Foundation. The Exilarch was the Head of the Jewish community
of Iraq, going back to King Yehoyakhin, who was the first
Exilarch. This office lasted until 1270 when it lapsed after
the Mongol invasion of the Middle East. The office was revived
by Mr Naim Dangoor in 1970 after a gap of 700 years.
enclose a copy of our publication which you may find of
would be obliged if you could help me to find the address
or telephone number or email address of Mr Albert Khabbaza.
Mr Khabbaza is the brother of the late Esther Mercado, who
was a very dear friend of my father the poet, Abraham Ovadiah.
My father wants to get in touch with Mr Khabbaza, because
he plans to publish poems translated by the late Esther.
know both Esther and Albert used to write to your journal.
Administrator Computing Division
University of Haifa
As a result of having the operation, Esther sent us a farewell
letter and a poem for her friends and the readers of The
Scribe which we published on page
47 of No. 73, which has since been appearing only on
the internet. If you wish to send any further material of
Esthers work we would be glad to consider it for future
issues. Enclosed requested address.
realise that we must move with the times and that the internet
is now the best form of communication, but The Scribe on
the internet cannot replace the pleasure of handling the
magazine and turning the pages and reminiscing about ones
childhood and youth.
it be possible to publish it at an economic price like other
A computer colour print-out can be sent to all interested
readers by sending a cheque for £10.00 (within the
UK) or US$20 (overseas) to The Exilarchs Foundation,
4 Carlos Place, Mayfair, London W1K 3AW, England
am researching the origin of my family name, Magasis. My
paternal lineage is from a Jewish village in or near Kobrin,
Belerus. However family legend maintained that we originally
came from a town which bore our family name (or from which
our name was derived).
have seen references to a town near the Tigris river (possibly
between Al Amarah and Al Kut) with the name, "Magasis".
example, the following is from a British historical reference:
the night of 24/25 April 1916 in Mesopotamia, an attempt
was made to re-provision the force besieged at Kut-el-Amara.
Lieutenant-Commander Cowley, with a lieutenant (FIRMAN,
K.O.P.) (commanding SS Julnar), a sub-lieutenant and 12
ratings, started off with 210 tons of stores up the River
Tigris. Unfortunately Julnar was attacked almost at once
by Turkish machine-guns and artillery. At Magasis, steel
hawsers stretched across the river halted the expedition,
the enemy opened fire at point-blank range and Julnars
bridge was smashed. Julnars commander was killed,
also several of his crew; Lieutenent-Coommader Cowley was
taken prisoner with the other survivors and almost certainly
executed by the Turks."
had also read of shelling between Iran and Iraq in December
1984 which targeted a town called Magasis.
information on the town and/or family name "Magasis"
would be greatly appreciated. (Known alternate family name
spellings include Magezis, Magzis, and Magesis)
write to me at:
Seattle, WA, USA
Phone/Fax: (206) 784-9980 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
would like to inform The Scribe readers of a new
website, dedicated to the Jews of Iraq who left Baghdad
during the 1960s and 1970s. The genealogy section
should interest all Iraqi Jews.
name is Ruth Sofaer and I am a daughter of Abraham Sofaer
the actor. I was enormously interested in Sassoon Meyer
Sofaers letter in The Scribe - I found Sassoon on
the family tree that I have been developing for the last
ten years. My great grandfather Hakham Abraham Sofaer married
Aziza Aghasi - who was a cousin I believe. They were all
of Bagdad. It was Hakham Abraham Sofaer who took his family
to Rangoon to escape the unfriendly attentions of Sheik
Daoud. My grandfather, Isaac Haim Sofaer, was born either
in Bagdad or en route to Rangoon. Sassoons grandfather,
Meyer Abraham Sofaer, and all subsquent children were born
in Rangoon. I would be happy to exchange information with
Sassoon Meyer Sofaer via email.
what a fantastically historical site you have!! My name
is Joseph ElHadef, and I live in NY. I am Greek, Hungarian,
Egyptian, and Iraqui. In the article from Montefiore Hall
the lecturer mentions that Mr.Dangoor spoke to a crypto
Jew in Saudia Arabia, tell me more about this incident?
I had two Kuwaiti friends at Hofstra University in NY and
they both told me that there are STILL Jews in Kuwait? As
well as Bahrain? Tell me more about the Saudi Jews!
A crypto Jewish couple from Saudi Arabia with their twelve
children came to London a few years ago and visited the
offices of the Exilarchs Foundation, asking for help
to obtain a visa to enable them to emigrate to Israel. However,
the Israel Embassy in London turned down their application
and they decided to travel to Jordan and move over to Israel
to their evidence there are thousands of crypto Jews in
Saudi Arabia who lead a separate existence from the main
population. To our knowledge, there are no Jews living in
Kuwait, but a number of Jewish families still live in Bahrain,
mainly of Iraqi origin.
My father, Moshe (Morris Mizrahi) paid for a lifetime subscription
of The Scribe to be sent to him in Los Angeles several years
ago, but has not received a new issue for over 2 years now.
He so looked forward to receiving his subscription twice
a year. Is this due to some lack of funds on your part or
an oversight? Please let me know. If you are still sending
out the Scribe in magazine form, please do so to his address
in Los Angeles:
The last printed issue in a magazine form of The Scribe
was published and sent out in September 1999, which we assume
your father has received. Since then it has been on the
internet at www.scribe1.com or www.thescribe.uk.com and
is no longer issued as a printed magazine. The current issue
is on the internet now. If you or your father wish to receive
future issues by email, please let me know.
a computer colour print-out can be obtained by sending a
cheque for US $20 to:
The Exilarchs Foundation
4 Carlos Place
regard to subscriptions: we never accepted subscriptions,
whether annual or lifetime, or advertising for that matter.
Please give particulars of your claim.
send me The Scribe as it comes out on the net. My e-mail
address is: email@example.com
I am Jeffrey Gabbay, the son of Abraham Gabbay and Daisy
Somekh, both from Baghdad. My parents moved to the USA in
1946 where I was born (in 1948). I moved to Jerusalem in
1973 where I reside with my wife and four wonderful children.
I want to take this opportunity to tell you how much I enjoy
the publication. I find the articles interesting and, in
many cases, touching. It is nice to see such an important
part of Jewish heritage being remembered and preserved.
I find it exceptionally nice to see the names of people
who were part of my childhood in many of your articles.
I know a lot of work goes into each publication and I want
you to know that it is appreciated.
Spencer Seliem Gabbay
Mr Naim Dangoor
was nice seeing you in London and hearing your sons
knowledgeable lecture on the history of Babylonian Jewry.
Thank you for the two issues of The Scribe. You provide
important information on Iraqi Jewry, the Holocaust, and
other aspects of Sephardic/Mizrachi Jewry. Ill try
to survey your publication soon in an upcoming issue of
my Sephardic email publication.
much appreciation. Shalom.
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Institute of Jewish Studies
Sefarad, The Sephardic Newsletter
Issue No. 72, page 26, Ramzi Loya, born in the late 1930s,
wrote a letter to the Editor of The Scribe criticising the
action or inaction of Hakham Sasson Khadoury during the
rule of Al-Bakr.
fact that was a very difficult period in the life of the
Jews of Iraq and my late father did all that he could do
in those difficult circumstances. He was powerless to do
Shimon Agassi zt'l
your SCRIBE issue no. 73, from July 2000, page 16,
you have published an article about my grandfather, HAKHAM
SHIMON AGASSI ztl.
the article you write: "Rabbenu did not accept comfort
for his oldest son until his last son Ezra Tzion grew up
and married his brothers intended wife."
facts correctly, HAKHAM SHIMON AGASSIs last son was
Eliyahu Chayim Agassi, who was born in 1909, 13 years after
Ezra Tzion. Eliyahu came to Israel in 1928, and later was
the Head of the Arabic Department in the Histadrut
Haklalit, and the publisher of the Hakikat Al
Amar newspaper. Eliyahu wrote four books for children,
which told many Baghdadi folklore stories, among them Husham
from Baghdad and Hayafa Bat Haruach.
am Eliyahus son, and am called after my Grandfather.
will be glad to share additional information about the family
of my Grandfather with whoever is interested.
e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
article on Hakham Shimon Agassi from Issue 73 of The
Jewish Musicians of Iraq
name is Shosh Gabay and Im an Israeli journalist,
daughter of Jewish immigrants from Iraq. I read in your
web the interesting article by Yeheskel Kojaman, about the
Iraqi music and the role of the Jews of Iraq in the Arabic
music. Im making a documentary movie about the subject
and I would like to get in touch with Mr Kojaman. Would
you be kind and pass this email to him?
Benjamin Elias Synagogue
Starnford Hill, London N16 6QT England
must thank you very much for the books that have been sent
to me and which were written by your grandfather, Hakham
Ezra Dangoor. 1 found this to be a most wonderful book,
very interesting, very digesting, so simple to understand.
grandfather, Hakham, had great wisdom to be able to write
a book such as this, to be able to learn to understand our
Bible. In his book he gives the translation in detail, which
even a child can understand and learn.
have given it to my Synagogue and my rabbi reads from it
to the people, who enjoy hearing the passages and learn
from it. I think you did a great job and a mitzvah having
this book published. I wish it could have been printed in
English, so that people unable to read Hebrew would have
would be greatly appreciated if you could let me have a
few more copies of this book to distribute to my other synagogues.
the Almighty give you strength, health and happiness to
you and your family. May you see the weddings of your children
and grandchildren. May the Almighty shower upon you all
His choicest blessings which you so richly deserve.
Elias D BEIVI.MWIXIWO
Glad to note that Mr Elias is making steady progress after
his recent illness.
carried a book review by Anna Dangoor on Jeffrey Pickerings
Britains Withdrawal from East of Suez (Read
review). I would like to read this but am unable to
locate it in the listings (Amazon, etc.) I would be grateful
if you could confirm the publisher and publication date
or the ISBN.
The publisher for Jeffrey Pickerings book is Macmillan,
231 pp, priced at £42.50, 0333 69526 7
There is another book which may be of interest to you, namely:
Demise of the British Empire in the Middle East
Britains response to nationalist movements, 1943-55
Michael J Cohen and Martin Kolinsky, editors
212 pp, Cass., £39.50, 0714 64804 3
really enjoyed your piece about the Lemba people. I am really
interested in their story as it unfolds.
at the end of the article you stated that several people
all over claim to be descended from biblical tribes but
dont have proof. Well I think instead of assuming
that these people lying, how about starting an International
Search for the Lost Tribes in Israel in which those who
claim to be blood descendants can be DNA tested. I think
that would be more productive, historical, controversial,
and interesting. Dont you think????
job guys, keep up the good work!
received your postcard giving the internet details of The
Scribe but found it very difficult to download issue no.
73. Please mail to me a print-out for which I enclose payment.
best to Renée Dangoor she and I went through
school together in Shanghai, even played piano duets at
community concerts a long time ago!
would like to know, according to the Shulhan Aruch, and
what page, what are the requirements for women to have their
heads covered by a hat.
kindly supplied by Rabbi Abraham Gubbay:
reference is in Shulchan, Orach Chayim, Chapter 75, sub-heading
last issue of The Scribe I received was on 9/99. I was wondering
what happened to the next two issues. I have been receiving
this valuable journal for several years. If youve
had a change of policy regarding subscription, please let
me know and Ill be glad to oblige. This journal is
a resource and, a very good one at that, to all of the Babylonian
Jews such as myself. I would like to continue receiving
this excellent journal.
The reason for your not receiving our current issue, No.
73, is because The Scribe is now appearing only on the internet
(www.thescribe.uk.com), one issue per year, and the last
printed edition was No. 72. However, if you wish, we can
send you a print-out in colour of the current issue at a
cost of US $20, including postage.
Rohl has personally seen to it that we have 6 of his colleagues
and co-authors with us including major contributors
to his 2 books, "Pharaohs & Kings", and "Legend".
In addition to Egypt, we are also looking at Mesopotamia,
Assyria and of course interesting subjects such as Santorini
Rohl is an Egyptologist, but as he works on the Timeline
for ancient Egypt, the Old Testament cities and characters
in the Bible really come to life more than ever before!
(His first book, "Pharaohs & Kings" covers
the time period of King David and King Solomon and works
back through time, with Moses & Joseph. Davids
second book, "Legend: Genesis of Civilisation",
covers the flood, and works back to the Garden of Eden).
hope you will consider joining us at least I want
you to know that you are invited.
you would like to make any comments or contribute to The
Scribe please contact