'The Star and Baghdad
A lost song by the rivers of
A book by Tova Murad Sadka
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Though the story is fictional, it is inspired by the life
of a famous Iraqi female Jewish singer whose contribution
to the local music has yet to be matched, and it is based
on actual historical events.
Widad, a Jewish singer with a golden voice, captured the
heart of Iraq during the forties through the seventies.
Her talent brought her fame and prestige yet caused her
a lifelong dilemma. While her Jewish community, ancient
and prosperous, was being persecuted and chased out of the
country, she had to choose between joining her fellow Jews
or remaining in Iraq, her cherished birthplace.
Widad began her singing career at the age of seventeen
and became the protégée of the Moslem ruling
elite. The king, the regent, the ministers were her devoted
fans. Her exposure and connections with Moslems led to romantic
involvement, but her Jewish roots stood in the way. Meanwhile,
political turmoil assailed Iraq-- Pan-Arabism, Communism
and the Arab Israeli conflict which fuelled Anti-Semitic
oppression. One coup followed another ending with the regime
of Saddam Hussein. The tumultuous events, as much as her
own choices, determined Widad's fate and destiny.
The story portrays the Jewish community, its culture, and
its relationship to the Arabs and to Israel. It also depicts
the Moslem community within the social and political struggle
of the time.
About the author: Tova Sadka is the author
of two historical novels about Iraqi Jews. She was born
and grew up in Iraq, and experienced many of the events
that form the background of her books. She later immigrated
to Israel where she worked as a newspaper correspondent
while her short stories appeared in various magazines. Several
years later she moved to the United States and studied English
writing. In the last ten years she has lectured about Iraqi
Jews at Yeshiva University, Hofstra University, and in various
book clubs and synagogues throughout the country.
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