17 Facts About Baghdadi Jews


Baghdadi Jews settlement shifted first to Bombay and then principally to Calcutta, then the capital of British India and the centre of the jute, muslin, and opium trades.

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Baghdadi Jews were living and trading in Chinsura and Chandernagore outside Calcutta.

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Outside Bombay a Baghdadi Jews community was established in Poona where a synagogue, a school and hospital was established by David Sassoon by and for a Hebrew printing press was in operation.

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Those communities established beyond British India by Baghdadi Jews flourished during the British Empire and peaked in population shortly before the Second World War at 1500 in Singapore, 1000 in Shanghai, and 150 Hong Kong prior to the Second World War.

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Baghdadi Jews outposts are recorded as having been established in Canton and Tientsin.

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Baghdadi Jews were denied access to European electoral rolls in India.

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Beyond India, Baghdadi Jews sought the legal status of French or British Protected Person in China.

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Baghdadi Jews, whilst spread across continents, operated a network of kinship and trust throughout the trading posts of the Indian Ocean.

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Baghdadi Jews was born in Baghdad in 1846 and received his primary education of Calcutta, his secondary education in Singapore, before returning to Calcutta to learn bookkeeping and then moving to Rangoon, Burma, to established a small business.

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Baghdadi Jews was knighted in 1906 for his services to Singapore having sponsored the building of two synagogues and large scale real estate construction.

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Quite unlike Ashkenazi Baghdadi Jews departing for America, who were typically poor and scored by their religious elders for doing so, the Middle Eastern Baghdadi Jews who departed for India included some the leading Jewish families of Baghdad, and were looked up as admired figures, patrons, and sponsors of religious life back in Iraq.

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Politically, the Baghdadi Jews Jewish resembled an oligarchy, with all power and authority to represent the community towards colonial authorities being vested in the leading families, as it had been traditionally in the Middle East.

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The rise in British education and working in the British Empire resulted in Baghdadi Jews turning to English as their first language, both for international trade and cultural prestige in India.

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Whilst many of the wealthiest Baghdadi Jews families remained aloof from Zionism in the late 19th and early 20th century, the community's middle class established Zionist associations in Bombay and Calcutta.

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Religiously the Baghdadi Jews did not train their own rabbis but sought guidance and resolutions on matters of Jewish law from the rabbis of Baghdad, preserving the traditions and rituals of Iraqi Jews.

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Rather that focus on what pushed, these memoirs focus on what pulled the Baghdadi Jews to leave Asia, chiefly a sense that the opportunities that had drawn their ancestors there had dried up, and new glittering prizes lay in the West.

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Traditional Baghdadi Jews Jewish cuisine is a hybrid cuisine, with many Arab, Turkish, Persian and Indian influences.

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