I thought you might be interested to have
a copy of my book "Two Worlds", written primarily
for my family and dealing with their origins. You will see
that your help is gratefully acknowledged on page 9 and
that I have paid tribute to your inspired leadership of
the Babylonian/Sephardi community on page 159.
Publication of an earlier effort in The Scribe resulted
in a flow on information from many people previously unknown,
for which I was grateful. If you can possibly mention Two
Worlds in The Scribe, I would be equally grateful. The book
is not for sale and I will gladly give copies to anyone
with an interest in its subject.
With kind regards
Two worlds tells
the fascinating story of how a group of energetic Jewish
families from the middle east abandoned the decaying Islamic
Their more enterprising members started to trade with Europe
some two centuries ago and then managed to get the protection
either of Great Britain or of one of the other European
countries- which status freed them from the onerous restrictions
endured by subjects of the Ottoman Empire. They visited
the west in the course of business and, attracted by the
prospect of a better quality of life there, eventually settled
in Europe and the Americas.
Lucian Gubbay was born in Buenos Aires and brought up in
the Sephardi Jewish Community of Manchester. Educated in
Llandudno, Manchester and Oxford, his other books include
Ages of Man, The Jewish Book of Why and
What, Quest of the Messiah, Origins, The Sephardim-
Their Glorious Tradition, and Sunlight and Shadow-
the Jewish Experience of Islam.
From the preface:
It was only after the passing of my father's
generation that I realized a unique opportunity had been
missed to learn more about my family's origins and to obtain
first-hand information on its abrupt translation - in the
course of my father's lifetime - from the twilight of the
decaying Ottoman Empire to the world of modern Europe. This
account was written to set out what little I know before
that too is lost forever.
The pedigree of our branch of the Gubbay family has been
charted for the past three hundred years but I have had
little success in tracing it back still further. Such a
task must wait for someone with the skill and resources
to access records in Aleppo and Baghdad- presently hostile
parts of the world- as well as Ottoman archives in Istanbul:
a search of records in Calcutta and Bombay may also yield
further clues. In my view, the general background is of
as much interest as is the tracing of lines of descent from
individuals about whom little other than their names can
now be learned.
The publication of Origins in 1989 and the reproduction
of parts of it in The Scribe stimulated a flow of previously
unknown information that rendered much of its text obsolete.
Our previously assumed line of descent from Aslan Gubbay
of Baghdad has been disproved; and from information gained
from Reuben Gubbay's 1799 tombstone in Istanbul, his father
Salah is now our earliest named ancestor of whose existence
there can be no doubt. The original book Orians has been
substantially expanded, corrected and re-written as Two
My grandfather Dr Hillel Farhi started the task of charting
the genealogy of my mother's family, the Farhis. It was
greatly extended by my cousin Alain Farhi, who established
the Farhi website (wwmfarhi.org) that now contains a vast
amount of information on the Farhis and related families,
including data on the Gubbays from this book.
Research into my wife's family the Shammahs, can only be
carried out in Aleppo and Istanbul for its members remained
subjects of the Ottoman Empire until they came to England
in about 1900. The family is not mentioned in the standard
reference books awl so I have not been able to find out
very much about them. We do however have the Shammah family
tree prepared by Lydia Collins.
Two Worlds was completed in London in 2004.
you would like to make any comments or contribute to The
Scribe please contact