Where Do We Need to Go From Here?



ELDP Project Highlight: Jewish Iraqi spoken language documentation

On the ELAR blog this week, we’re featuring videos from Eli Timan’s deposit “Jewish Iraqi spoken language documentation” [0026] [0102].

Eli’s collection contains personal stories, songs and descriptions of life in Iraq in the first half of the 20th century as told by Jewish Iraqi speakers in London, Canada and Israel.

A wide variety of topics are covered, including life in Baghdad, schools, marriage, and historical events affecting the life of the Jewish community in Iraq.

At the time of fieldwork in December 2009, there were only 7 Jews left in Baghdad. Most of the community are settled in Israel and the West and have adopted the language of their host countries. It is hard to find anyone under the age of 45 who speaks Jewish Iraqi.

As part of his work, Eli has made a selection of the videos in his collection available on Youtube. By providing English subtitles for many of the videos, Eli hopes that younger generations will be able to enjoy them even if they cannot speak the dialect.

In the video below, Hanini Hay tells the story of Qasayruna. A tiny lady living in a tiny house finds a Para (penny) while cleaning her house and buys some Halawa with it, only for a stork to snatch it. The photo shows Hanini and Israel Hay at their wedding in Baghdad in 1921.

Below, Um Farid (Semha Cohen) describes the family house in Amara, Iraq in the 1930s and 1940s. This is an extract of an interview from July 2006.

Lastly, Eli Sawdayee describes Purim festivities at his house in old Baghdad during an interview conducted in December 2006.

You can explore all of Eli’s videos via his YouTube channel.