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







Two Worlds

Lucian Gubbay

Chroniclers, 2004

Dear Naim,

I thought you might be interested to have a copy of my book "Two Worlds", written primarily for my family and dealing with their origins. You will see that your help is gratefully acknowledged on page 9 and that I have paid tribute to your inspired leadership of the Babylonian/Sephardi community on page 159.

Publication of an earlier effort in The Scribe resulted in a flow on information from many people previously unknown, for which I was grateful. If you can possibly mention Two Worlds in The Scribe, I would be equally grateful. The book is not for sale and I will gladly give copies to anyone with an interest in its subject.

With kind regards

Yours sincerely

Lucian Gubbay


Two worlds tells the fascinating story of how a group of energetic Jewish families from the middle east abandoned the decaying Islamic world.
Their more enterprising members started to trade with Europe some two centuries ago and then managed to get the protection either of Great Britain or of one of the other European countries- which status freed them from the onerous restrictions endured by subjects of the Ottoman Empire. They visited the west in the course of business and, attracted by the prospect of a better quality of life there, eventually settled in Europe and the Americas.

Lucian Gubbay was born in Buenos Aires and brought up in the Sephardi Jewish Community of Manchester. Educated in Llandudno, Manchester and Oxford, his other books include Ages of Man, The Jewish Book of Why and What, Quest of the Messiah, Origins, The Sephardim- Their Glorious Tradition, and Sunlight and Shadow- the Jewish Experience of Islam.

From the preface:

It was only after the passing of my father's generation that I realized a unique opportunity had been missed to learn more about my family's origins and to obtain first-hand information on its abrupt translation - in the course of my father's lifetime - from the twilight of the decaying Ottoman Empire to the world of modern Europe. This account was written to set out what little I know before that too is lost forever.
The pedigree of our branch of the Gubbay family has been charted for the past three hundred years but I have had little success in tracing it back still further. Such a task must wait for someone with the skill and resources to access records in Aleppo and Baghdad- presently hostile parts of the world- as well as Ottoman archives in Istanbul: a search of records in Calcutta and Bombay may also yield further clues. In my view, the general background is of as much interest as is the tracing of lines of descent from individuals about whom little other than their names can now be learned.
The publication of Origins in 1989 and the reproduction of parts of it in The Scribe stimulated a flow of previously unknown information that rendered much of its text obsolete. Our previously assumed line of descent from Aslan Gubbay of Baghdad has been disproved; and from information gained from Reuben Gubbay's 1799 tombstone in Istanbul, his father Salah is now our earliest named ancestor of whose existence there can be no doubt. The original book Orians has been substantially expanded, corrected and re-written as Two Worlds.

My grandfather Dr Hillel Farhi started the task of charting the genealogy of my mother's family, the Farhis. It was greatly extended by my cousin Alain Farhi, who established the Farhi website ( that now contains a vast amount of information on the Farhis and related families, including data on the Gubbays from this book.

Research into my wife's family the Shammahs, can only be carried out in Aleppo and Istanbul for its members remained subjects of the Ottoman Empire until they came to England in about 1900. The family is not mentioned in the standard reference books awl so I have not been able to find out very much about them. We do however have the Shammah family tree prepared by Lydia Collins.
Two Worlds was completed in London in 2004.














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