The author has done a service to Jewish studies by this engagingly written book, documenting a community that has largely disappeared. She has also done a service to the descendants of the people described, who are enabled through this book to recognize their ancestral roots. (Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal Of Jewish Studies
Well-written with hardly a trace of politically-correct jargon or formulaic social-science talk . . . quite literary in its style. . . . [Cernea] seems to write . . . for general readers as well as the people it directly concerns. (Asian Journal of Social Science
offers a painstaking record of the rise, flourishing, and slow death of the prosperous community of Baghdadi Jews in Burma (today's Myanmar.) With the keen eye and sympathetic ear of the anthropologist, Cernea has gathered the memories and contemporary impressions of a lost world of merchants at once devoted to tradition and enchanted by the cosmopolitan modernity of British India. (H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online
This newly published volume is a delight: an easy read offering a fascinating account of the lives and times of the small but significant Jewish community—numbering some 2,100 at their peak—of Baghdadi origin in Burma (Myanmar) during and immediately after the Raj. It is illustrated with evocative photos and inventories of community members and their subsequent emigration details. (David Simon Hadashot
)The book is of interest to academics as well as non-academics who are personally committed to the history of the Jewish diaspora in South(East)-Asia. . . .Cernea’s analysis provides material for comparative anthropological as well as sociological and political research which is concerned with the establishment of religious minorities abroad. It offers a contribution to the analysis of international migratory movements in terms of patterns of assimilation, and the socio-political role and rights of religious minorities within the contexts of statehood and citizenship before and after colonialism.
(Allegra: A Virtual Lab of Legal Anthropology
About the Author
Anthropologist Ruth Fredman Cernea has been researching the history of the Baghdadi Jewish communities of Southeast Asia since her first visit to Burma in 1987.