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Exploring The Jewish Urban Heritage
Author: Shaul Sapir
Price: $45.00
Format: Hard Cover
ISBN 10: 8192072134
ISBN 13: 9788192072135
Catalog Number: 9788192072135
Number of Pages: 294
Year Published: 2013

Bombay possesses an intense history in which it grew and developed as a city containing a variety of populations, religions, cultures and architectural styles. In the present volume, Dr. Sapir draws upon extensive research, to tell the captivating story of the Baghdadi Jewish Community in Bombay and their unique contribution to the urban landscape of the city during the latter period of the British Raj.Dr. Sapir’s lively text traces the scattered sites erected by the members of the Jewish community, explores their history and illuminates the evolution of their changes over the decades. Along with the famous Jewish sites, he pays tribute to the remarkable and vibrant history of Bombay, and gives a detailed account of many of the interesting and well-known sites and landmarks of the city, which is an architectural delight.
Dr. Sapir takes advantage of Bombay being an open museum with its rich heritage, and skillfully uses this unique opportunity to reveal its hidden treasures. He provides fresh insights into its design, based on intensive research of archival sources, inclusive of field study and comprehensive surveys as well as countless interviews with as many community members as he could track.
Readers are led from the very beginning to the very end of this scholarly and enlightening book into a rich experience of in-depth research, which will interest community members, past and present, Mumbai residents, as well as all curious readers.
In his book on Bombay, Dr. Shaul Sapir, has given us an important donation in getting to know the Jewish community in all its three varieties: The Baghdadi Jewish Community, the Jews of Kochi, and the Bene Israel Jews, and perhaps, also the Sons of Menashe. The Babylonian Jewry Heritage Centre, found in Or Yehuda (Israel), is attempting to uncover the contribution of the Baghdadi Jewish Community, as well as of the other communities of
Babylon and Ashur (Iraq).

The Babylonian Jewry Heritage Centre, is in close contact with all the communities and attempts to show this bond in their Nehardea magazine. In the entire world, there are approximately 2,80,000 Jews of Babylonian descent, 2,37,000 in Israel, of which they constitute a third of the Jewish population of Israel. The rest can be found in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and in the Far East.

A trait of the Jews of Babylonia, both in Israel and in the various communities, is their ability to integrate into any location on earth, no matter what the language, the administration, and into society in general, while still maintaining their special Baghdadi origins. Close contact has always been held between the Jews of Bombay and the Jews of Baghdad since they first settled in Bombay and in the Far East.

This book will be the cornerstone to all readers, students and scholars of the Baghdadi Jews in the Far East, and for this eye-opening contribution, Dr. Sapir is to be fervently blessed.
Mordechai Ben Porat
President of the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Centre, Israel

The book explores the social history of Colonial Bombay at a pivotal time in its emergence as a modern metropolis rising like a phoenix from a cluster of seven islands.

Dr. Shaul Sapir has highlighted in this volume the contribution of the Baghdadi Jews to the growth
of Bombay by drawing together strands that hitherto had remained relegated to musty archives and embedded in libraries and institutions across the globe. The author has delved deeply into the city’s history to present a momentous “magum opus” dedicated to the city of his birth. A sheer visual treat through historical and rare photographs and maps that illuminates the role played by the Baghdadi Jewish Community to the rise of Bombay.
This wide-ranging work makes essential reading for historians, students and any person who is interested in the urban social history of Bombay.
Deepak Rao
Bombay Historian

Dr. Shaul Sapir’s new book “Bombay: Exploring the Jewish Urban Heritage” offers a deep insight
into one of the world’s most fascinating Jewish communities.

The Jewish population of India is divided into distinct communities, each with its own antecedents and historical development. Dr. Sapir concentrates on the enthralling story of the Baghdadi-Jewish Community, a small but significant component of the Jewish presence in India and an integral part of Mumbai’s rich urban collage.

Although Jewish individuals and communities have been present in India for thousands of years,
they have never been exposed to hatred, discrimination or persecution, as opposed to their brethren in most other parts of the world. In fact, anti-Semitism has always been a practically unknown phenomenon in Indian society. It is against this background that today, friendship and partnership between Israel and India are flourishing, as the two nations share a glorious past and promising future. These two lone democracies in their respective regions, islands of stability in seas of instability, are today more than ever collaborating in every aspect of human endeavour—in agriculture, economy, industry,
technology, science, culture and so much more.

Dr. Sapir is a renowned scholar of history, geography and education. I am happy that he has taken upon himself to explore the history of this extraordinary and unique Jewish community, and to share his knowledge with others through this absorbing book.
Mark Sofer
Ambassador of Israel to India, New Delhi

In this volume, Dr. Shaul Sapir is presenting an extensive research, based upon hundreds of sources, many interviews, and hundreds of photos and references. In his work, the author conducted
inclusive surveys and field work, presenting us with a serial of new maps not published before, in
order to explore, restore and preserve the captivating epic of the urban heritage of the Baghdadi Jewish Community in Bombay - Mumbai.
Dr. Sapir skillfully provides the readers with fresh insights into the architectural design of the unique Jewish sites and monuments, as well as into the other famous landmarks of the city, through its remarkable and vibrant history, during the later period of the British Raj in India. No doubt this book is a masterpiece. I am sure that every visitor to Mumbai will find Dr. Sapir’s book enlightening and informative, and I hope this book will encourage tourists and “Mumbaikars” alike to pay closer attention to the beautiful hidden jewels of the Jewish history around the city.
Orna Sagiv
Consul General of Israel, Mumbai

Dr. Shaul Sapir has done a great service to the Indian Jewish community by writing the book
‘Bombay-Exploring the Jewish Urban Heritage’. It is a labour of love and I congratulate Dr. Sapir
for writing a book that is meticulously researched and highly readable. The Baghdadi Jewish
Community in India, and the Indian Jewish community as a whole, is an integral part of India’s rich social embroidery. By exploring the Jewish urban heritage, Dr. Sapir shows how the Indian Jews made important contributions to the life of one of India’s great cities, whether in the field of education, health, finance, commerce and industry or even youth empowerment. The brilliance of the creative and philanthropic energies of people like David Sassoon can be gauged from the fact that many of their buildings continue to be landmarks that define the modern city of Mumbai.

Irecommend the book to scholars and lay readers alike.
Jaideep Sarkar
Ambassador of India, Tel Aviv

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