Monday, August 27, 2012

Book Club Guest Vist: Jean Naggar

This morning we discussed the book, Sipping From the Nile by Jean Naggar.

I tried to sway the book club to discuss the book, before Jean called in( all arranged by her publicist-Wiley). But, it was not meant to be.  Instead, it was 5 minutes of discussing the book before the author called in, and then became a social conversation, about everyone and everything. But, it turned out ok.

Jean, I am sure is a marvelous speaker. By, the questions, we all asked her. She was so informative, which filled in the gaps of the book.

What was interesting was the Ashkenazi experience vs. Sephardic experience in the United States when she moved here as a young bride. She did tell us she did not expect her memoir, to do anything except be a legacy left to her family. She was surprised at first to hear the response of other older people are thinking of their own legacy.

  She was not aware of the political turmoil growing up in Egypt. Which was caused by the Muslim Brotherhood during the Suez Canal Crisis. Does she worry about the political arena in the presidency race in the United States?  What does she think about fundamentalists VS. Moderate Muslims? Jean, told us not to forget there are the Fundamentalists that are fanatics, and the moderates just like in the United States.

 What I had heard, and Jean confirmed was, that anti- Semitism blossomed after the Holocaust. Jews, and Muslims lived side by side without incidence before that. But, after Israel became a independent state, this caused problems for Jews living outside of Israel.

She talked about her growing up years, and her memories how vivid they are, or were confirmed by her cousins, and other relatives. How Egyptian Jewish families, wanted their family to stay with their own kind. It was not about the families wealth, by about the culture differences.

The interesting stories about the early days to impress her husband cooking, the traditional Egyptian recipes and stir up the memories was a joy to read.

The most unique I recall, her family had their own  synagogue, on their property.   Her family was not observant, but traditional in their Jewish ways, and rituals. That was different. I wish I had asked why did her family?, and why did the family feel the need to have one? Did other people in the community use it? or not?

You can visit Jean on her website.

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