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(1,885 words)

Author(s): Orit Bashkin
Basra (Ar. al-Baṣra) is a city in southern Iraq on the Shatt al-Arab waterway formed by the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It lies 420 kilometers (279 miles) southeast of Baghdad. The site of the town has moved somewhat since the Middle Ages. The present site (New Basra) dates back to the eighteenth century.  1. Medieval Period The Jewish community of Basra was one of the oldest and most prosperous in Iraq. Although most studies of Iraqi Jewry tend to focus on the Baghdadi community, Basran Jews played an important role in Iraq and throu…

Shīna, Salmān

(372 words)

Author(s): Orit Bashkin
Salmān Shīna(1899–1978) was an Iraqi lawyer, member of parliament, and journalist. Educated at the Alliance Israélite Universelle school in Baghdad (established 1864), Shīna served as a translator for the Ottoman forces during World War I. He was captured by the British in 1917 and spent over a year in India as a prisoner of war. Years later, in the independent Iraqi state and in Israel, Shīna, unlike many Arab nationalists of the time, would recall the positive role the Ottoman Empire had played with respect to Middle Eastern Jewry. In Iraq, Shīna became the secretary of a pro-Zion…

Barīd al-Yawmī (Baghdad), al-

(291 words)

Author(s): Orit Bashkin
The Iraqi newspaper al-Barīd al-Yawmī (Daily Mail) was nominally edited by a Muslim, Hāshim al-Bannā, but most of its writers and all the members of its editorial board were Jewish intellectuals, most notably Edward Shā’ul (Suhīl Ibrāhīm) and Mīr Mu‘allim (1921–1978). Nissim Rejwan, Ezra Ḥaddād, and Shalom Darwīsh were contributors. The atmosphere in which al-Barīd al-Yawmī came into being was colored by events connected with the conflict in Palestine in 1948.  Iraq’s Jews were under attack by the right-wing press, while the affiliation of many radical young Jews w…

Hāṣid (Baghdad), al-

(395 words)

Author(s): Orit Bashkin
Al-Ḥāṣid (The Reaper), one of Iraq’s finest literary and cultural journals, was edited by the Jewish intellectual and lawyer Anwār Sha’ūl (1904–1984). The first issue appeared in February 1929, and it continued until April 1938. Al-Ḥāṣid symbolizes, perhaps more than any other cultural and literary artifact of the period, the Jewish community’s desire to be integrated into Iraqi society, and the openness of the Iraqi cultural field to the participation of Arab Jews in the creation of a new national culture. Al-Ḥāṣid published the works of Iraq’s leading intellectuals, including…

Misbāḥ (Baghdad), al-

(437 words)

Author(s): Orit Bashkin
Al-Misbāḥ (Ar. The Lamp; the masthead also had the Hebrew equivalent, Ha-Menora) was a Jewish journal in Arabic published in Iraq. It first appeared in April 1924 and survived until July 1929. Its first editor was the Jewish intellectual and lawyer Anwār Shā’ul (1904–1984), but in February 1925 the  publisher, Salmān Shīna (1899–1978), took over as editor. Issues of concern to the Iraqi Jewish community were regularly discussed in al-Misbāḥ. It advocated integration into Iraqi cultural and political institutions, called for greater rights for Jewish women, report…