by Sarah Blustain

Class and Caste: Jewish Women of India

FOR THE JEWS OF BAGHDAD and their descendants, of which I am one, the community exists as a weave of myth and ancient history. It is the root source for a fluid and now romanticized diaspora of Asian Jewry that spread its aristocratic culture and prosperity to Shanghai, Bombay, Basra, Calcutta, Rangoon and Singapore. It existed throughout the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries—and continues to exist, though now as an “imagined community,” as Jael Silliman calls it in her new book, Jewish Portraits, Indian Frames: Women ‘s Narratives from a Diaspora of Hope (Brandeis University Press/ University Press of New England).

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Homeland / Diaspora

The articles in this special section:

Ellinides Evraies

by Alice Sparberg Alexiou

Alice Sparberg Alexiou interviews the Jewish women of Salonika, Greece.

Class and Caste: Jewish Women of India

by Sarah Blustain

Sarah Blustain is troubled by a chilling portrait of Baghdadi Jews in India.

Persecution & Belonging Memory & Identity

by Paulette Kershenovich

Paulette Kershenovich listens to newly voluble Latin American Jewish women.

Beyond Borscht and Babushkas

by Rachel Kranson

Rachel Kranson reports on Mexican Jewish brides-to-be and on immigrants to America from the former Soviet Union.