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Almost Englishmen: Baghdadi Jews in British Burma Paperback – November 24, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 202 pages
  • Publisher: Lexington Books (November 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739116479
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739116470
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,393,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

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)

Almost Englishmen 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)

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.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ellis R. Shamash on August 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
I am a Baghdadi Jew who lived in Rangoon, Burma as a young child and boy in the 1950's. I found this book very interesting and brought back fond memories of my childhood. This book is well researched and should be of value to anyone interested in Jewish history.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eugenia on June 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My partner and I traveled to Myanmar last February. It was a fabulous adventure. We made a special trip to see the only synagogue in that country. Yangon is a big city with a tremendously powerful history. The synagogue is especially sweet. The gentle soul who tends to the prayers and the space is generous to give visitors a warm and welcoming tour. Eddie(my parter) wanted to get the book so I ordered it for him as soon as we got home and unpacked and slept for a week!
The book is a history of the Jewish people who came to Myanmar how they made the adventure and what has become if their legacy.
We both enjoyed the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Henry Yule on September 19, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jews in Burma are perhaps not the best known ethnic community in the world, but this short, engaging, and very well-researched book tells you all you might want to know about one of the world's least known but extremely interesting communities, that once numbered in the thousands. Good read for those already fascinated by Burma, and a good contribution to the study of the Jewish diaspora.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Publius on March 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Restoration of the Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue in Yangon, Myanmar

The US-ASEAN Council for Business and Technology, the US-ASEAN Business Council's 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, has recently obtained a license from the United States Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to raise funds for the maintenance and restoration of the Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue in Yangon, Myanmar (pictured above).

This is an exciting project for the Council not only because it is the first OFAC approved license for the purpose of providing assistance to a humanitarian project that we have received but also because the history of this Synagogue is so mesmerizing.

Yangon was once a thriving Jewish community consisting primarily of Jews from Cochin, Calcutta, Iraq and Iran. The Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue was built in 1893-1896 as a result of the growing Jewish population, which, at its peak was about 2500. During World War II, and in the years following, most of the Jews in Burma migrated to other countries. The Burmese government's nationalization of businesses in 1969 contributed greatly to this migration. Now, in 2007, there are only a small handful of Jewish people in the country and, as a result, the Synagogue, the only one in existence all of Myanmar, is in desperate need of restoration. Without restoration and maintenance, this unique piece of history will be lost.
Read more ›
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By M.A. Thompson on October 31, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Almost Englishmen and Beyond the Chindwin good reading and exactly like it was. Rangoon 1941 O.K. did not realize it was a novel with fictional characters. The other two very authentic I was there lived through the mess.
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