Friday, January 31, 2014

Sultana's story for the weekend

When she is not commenting on Point of No Return, our regular reader, Egyptian-born Sultana (aka Suzy), is busy writing memoirs of her family. She is pleased to announced that 12 of her stories, titled Sephardi Peregrinations, are now online. Here is an extract from the first story - about her ancestor Yehuda, who moved his Souery family from Iraq to Egypt : 

Yehuda addressed himself to his sons:“Weladi, my children, I have gathered you because the situation for us Jews is not good – not good at all! We must make a decision. But whatever we do we must remain together.” 

 “What can we do baba, father?” Asked his oldest son Moussa, (Moses)..“We must leave before the situation gets any worse.” “But Baba, how will that be possible? Leave everything, our home, our synagogue, friends and go?”

 “Yes! Ya ebni, my son, that is what we must do whether it breaks our hearts or not. For the moment we are still safe here but for how long? I have thought about that very seriously since the turmoil and aggressions started on our community. 

 "We shall form a caravan with donkeys, pack up everything and leave during the night when everyone is asleep. Then at one of the hams, caravan serail, we shall rejoin the camel caravans that spread out in many different routes. One of these routes is Samarkand on the Silk Route but that is not our goal.

 "We shall take the one going through to Syria and then Egypt. ”Egypt by then had developed and with the inauguration of the Suez Canal (Nov.17, 1869), would know a massive Europeanised era. 

 "Every one who longed to leave Iraq, and they were many, opted for Egypt because of the same language, a sound Jewish community and great possibilities offered.

 "At that time the Jewish Community was a small one in Egypt but with the on-coming Jews who chose Egypt it grew and became an important one. 

Consequently, apart from both the dangers and difficulties of an eventual voyage through the Desert, they would have fellow Jews to guide them once they reached Egypt. That was essential because mutual assistance from fellow Jews was not a vain word! 

 Any Jew going anywhere knew that if he went to his synagogue he would be directed to the right people who would in turn do what they could for the newcomer.

Read story in full 

Suzy Vidal's memories of a shattered world

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have been a 'foreigner' for over 50 years now. I don't think I'l ever be anything else. Everything in me is Jewish Egyptian, by my accent in French and my way of getting angry or less prosaic: my cooking Egyptian delights.
Your description of my life there has made me feel very homesick though I refuse to admit it.