Sunday, October 12, 2008

What Newark, New Jersey and Basra, Iraq Have In Common...(Updated)

...Jewish cemeteries where large Jewish communities used to live.

In Basra, Iraq:
Municipal authorities in the southern city of Basra have mounted a campaign to clean up the Jewish cemetery there.

The cemetery is seen as one of Basra’s ‘cultural landmarks’ and the authorities want to keep it clean and tidy, said Ahmad al-Yasseri who heads the cleaning-up campaign.

There are no Jews left in the city which used to house a sizeable Jewish community of tens of thousands before the creation of Israel in 1948.

They were the finest goldsmiths and the most adventurous traders of Basra, known as the Venice of the Middle East.

The lived in one of the city’s smartest quarters with spacious villas adorned with palm trees and oranges.

Yasseri said in the tumultuous post-Saddam period, 62 houses were built on the cemetery grounds illegally.

“This cemetery is one of the cultural landmarks of Basra and we are determined to remove the illegal dwellings,” he said.
Newark, New Jersey:
The lively Jewish community that made Newark, N.J., one of the capitals of American Jewish life is long gone, but once a year a small spark of the community is rekindled — under police protection.

One day each year, typically the Sunday that falls between the High Holy Days, a detail of police officers creates a temporary bubble of security around Newark’s Jewish cemeteries. On that day, hundreds of Jews trickle back into Newark, and a faint shadow of the city’s once-bustling Jewish population is reborn, as visitors come to recall both the relatives and the community that have since passed on.

...Newark was once home to the fourth-largest Jewish population in the country. At the community’s peak in the 1930s and ’40s, roughly 65,000 of Newark’s 450,000 residents were Jewish. The community was based in Newark’s cramped Third Ward, which was full of pushcarts and sweatshops.
Note that the riots that sealed the fate of the Jewish community happened in New Jersey--not Iraq.

Update: That last was a silly comment on my part, considering what the Jewish community in Iraq has gone through. My wife is right--I shouldn't be blogging after midnight.

Technorati Tag: and .

No comments: