Monday, May 11, 2015

The Jews of Baghdad and the (lack of) books printed in Vilna by Romm

In 1947, Avraham Yaari published the travel diary of Ephraim Neimark , an emissary from Tiberias, to Syria, Kurdistan, Iraq, Iran and Central Asia.

Neimark was a very keen observer and made note of many important observations of the Jewish Communities he traveled through as well as the general population. He also noted in every settlement he arrived, the condition of the Jews and their relations with their gentile neighbors.

In his writing on Baghdad he notes a curious thing; he writes how the worse curse you can give a Baghdadi is to call him a Widow's husband. A widow was considered such horrible luck that people would not purchase any books printed in Vilna by the Widow Romm's press. He writes that if you do not believe him, you can ask Shlomo Hussin, the local publisher and bookseller. He goes on to write "For those of you had did not understand the verse in Ben Sira בת לאביה מטמון שוא ( A daughter to her father is like a false treasure) shall travel to Baghdad and see how all his words were correct."

No comments:

Post a Comment