My Fathers Paradise by Ariel Sabar 2008,328pg au.
I am always keen to read a new Jewish writer, and a gratefull for someone who has made an effort to write about the history and culture of a Jewish community that has dissapeared.
This is the biography of Yona Sabar written by his son. Yona was brought up in Kurdistan in the town.Zakho. At home he spoke Aramaic in the streets Kurdish and at school he learned Arabic, then arrived in Jerusalem when he was 12 years old. What is interesting is that he and his siblings were good students and finished school while most of his generation were dropouts. At university he was recognised as having something unique of mother tongue Aramaic and this resulted in him getting into Yale and he ends of living his life in America with an American wife and becomes a professor of Middle Eastern Languages.
His son only becomes interested in the family history when he has his own children and Ariel who by then is a reporter researches the whole family background.
It is also interesting that there are 35 million Kurds in the world and they don't have a national state. While the few million Palestinian who nobody is interested in have such a big noise because Jews are involved.
This book interests me as I learned 3 dead or dying languages. In South Africa , at school we had to learn the other official language Afrikaans, however in post Apartheid SA it has been relegated to one of many 9 tribal languages. Yiddish was the language my grandparents brought from Lithuania and that no longer has a new generation of speakers like when I was a kid. We had to learn a 3rd language at school and the only teachers available were Latin teachers and today very few learn classical dead languages.
It also interests me as my son's girlfriend is of Iraqi Kurdish extraction and is working on her Masters degree. So with time the 2nd or 3rd generations of Israelis have melted into the pot.