Thursday, January 05, 2006

A souvenir from Baghdad

Imad Levy is one of the last Jews in Baghdad, a mid-40s car salesman in the midst of a senior citizen-heavy community. Last month, he sent a special present to his father in Israel, Ron Ben-Yishai reports in Y-net News (with thanks: Grace).

In the spring of 2003, when I got to Baghdad as part of the war effort, there was still one synagogue active in the city's Batween neighbourhood. Apart from serving as a prayer hall it served also as nursing home for two old Jews. The Jewish community then numbered 42 people, and there was a group with whom to celebrate the Passover seder.

Last month, when I returned to Baghdad on special assignment for Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel's leading daily newspaper, I found no trace of any of it. The synagogue was closed, and I didn't manage to make contact with any of the Jews I'd met then.

I finally managed to track down a phone number for Imad Levy, one of the only Jews left in Baghdad.

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