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TITLE: Baghdad Jews in British Burma
SPEAKER: Ruth Fredman Cernea
EVENT DATE: 2008/09/09
FORMAT: Video + Captions
RUNNING TIME: 48 minutes
TRANSCRIPT: View Transcript (link will open in a new window)
Anthropologist Ruth Fredman Cernea discusses the Jewish experience in the land of Burma in a lecture titled "Almost Englishmen: Baghdadi Jews in British Burma." For more than a century, Jews from the Middle East--the Baghdadis--formed vibrant communities throughout Southeast Asia. Linked across the miles by tradition, family and economic ties, ideologically the Baghdadis existed between two promised lands: the religious ideal of Jerusalem and the political promise of England. Like other minorities in the complex society that was British India, the Baghdadis gradually refashioned their lifestyles and aspirations on the British model.
Speaker Biography: Ruth Fredman Cernea is the author of the anthropological study of the Passover Seder titled "Afikoman in Exile," the editor of "The Great Latke-Hamantash Debate" and numerous articles on Jewish society and culture. In her new book, she has reconstructed the history of the Jews of Burma through decades-long archival research and interviews in Burma, the United Kingdom, Australia, Israel, the United States and other places throughout the world. She has furthered Jewish and colonial studies by documenting a community and an experience that have been ignored in historical writings.