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The articles in this issue have been divided upinto the following categories







'The Star and Baghdad Scimitar'

A lost song by the rivers of Babylon

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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