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The Sassoons: The Great Global Merchants and the Making of an Empire with Joseph Sassoon

Hosted By: Yiddish Book Center (Amherst, MA)

The influential merchants of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries shaped the globalization of today. The Sassoons, a Baghdadi-Jewish trading family, built a global trading enterprise by taking advantage of major historical developments during the nineteenth century. Their story is not just one of an Arab Jewish family that settled in India, traded in China, and aspired to be British. It also presents an extraordinary vista into the world in which they lived and prospered economically, politically, and socially.

“The Global Merchants” is not only about their rise, but also about their decline: why it happened, how political and economic changes after the First World War adversely affected them, and finally, how realizing their aspirations to reach the upper echelons of British society led to their disengagement from business and prevented them from adapting to the new economic and political world order.

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Host

Yiddish Book Center (Amherst, MA)

The Yiddish Book Center is a nonprofit organization working to tell the whole Jewish story by rescuing, translating, and disseminating Yiddish books and presenting innovative educational programs that broaden understanding of modern Jewish identity. The Yiddish Book Center is home to permanent and visiting exhibits; two performance halls with a year-round schedule of educational programs, concerts (including the annual Yidstock: The Festival of New Yiddish Music), films, and events; an English-language bookstore; and a million Yiddish books.
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