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Tour of Jewish Egypt

Hosted By: My Jewish Learning

Every Passover, Jews around the world learn about the Exodus from Egypt. But what about the Jews who returned, those who were forced to leave in the 20th century—and those who never left? Join My Jewish Learning and Alec Nacamuli, the chairman of Sephardi Voices UK, to explore the history of Egypt’s Jewish community. Learn about Jewish life between the mid-19th and 20th centuries, known as the Golden Age of Jews in Egypt. Understand how various empires (Arab, Ottoman, British), the founding of the modern State of Israel, and emerging Egyptian nationalism shaped the lives and futures of Egyptian Jews. Finally, learn about what Egyptian Jewish life looks like today in the diaspora and Egypt, as well as ongoing heritage preservation projects.

Alec Nacamuli kindly shared his bibliography with us.

Alexandria: City of Memory
Michael Haag
This book is a literary, social, and political portrait of Alexandria at a high point of its history. Drawing on diaries, letters, and interviews, Michael Haag recovers the lost life of the city, its cosmopolitan inhabitants, and its literary characters. He recounts the city’s experience of the two world wars and explores the communities that gave Alexandria its unique flavor: the Greek, the Italian, and the Jewish. You can purchase it here.

Levant: Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean
Phillip Mansel
Not so long ago, in certain cities on the shores of the eastern Mediterranean, Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived and flourished side by side. What can the histories of these cities tell us? Levant is a book of cities. It describes three former centers of great wealth, pleasure, and freedom—Smyrna, Alexandria, and Beirut—cities of the Levant region along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean. In these key ports at the crossroads of East and West, against all expectations, cosmopolitanism and nationalism flourished simultaneously. You can purchase it here.

A Mediterranean Society: The Jewish Communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza
Volume IV: Daily Life, S.D.D. Goitein

Explore what can be discovered about city life, domestic architecture, furnishings and housewares, clothing and jewelry, food and drink, and other material culture from the Cairo Geniza.  You can purchase it here.

You can explore more suggested reading from Alec here.

Discover More

How Spain and Portugal Expelled Their Jews

Pirates and plague loomed, and prized possessions sold for a pittance.

Jews of the Middle East

While all Jews have roots in the Middle East, Mizrahi Jews never left it.

Sephardic Jews in Amsterdam

Amsterdam became a haven for Jewish refugees from the Inquisition.