Israeli Embassy in India Celebrates Jewish Immigration from Arab Countries

 Radio Bagdhad (photo credit: PR)
Radio Bagdhad
(photo credit: PR)

In Delhi, Israeli Ambassador to India, Naor Gilon hosted academics, media correspondents and guests from the cultural sphere at his residence, to share the rich heritage and traditions of Arabic Jewry, in commemoration of the Jewish exodus from Arab countries and Iran. The evening’s programs were a celebration of beautiful musical traditions of the Jewish community in Iraq, culminating in a musical performance by the Israeli band Radio Bagdhad.

Radio Baghdad digs into the vast repertoire of the urban tradition of Baghdad and the folk music of great Jewish Iraqi composers such as the Al Kuwaiti brothers, Filfel Gourgy and Salima Murad, who gained huge popularity in early 20th century Iraq.  

The trio’s vocalist-percussionist, Aviv Badri Ezra, grew up listening to this music with his father and late grandfather. Joined by violinist Johanna Riethmueller and oud player Yaniv Masel, Radio Baghdad aims to spread Iraqi Jewry’s deep rooted musical tradition and deliver the same raw energy of the past generations, while using amplification and sound manipulation for greater sonic impact.

Bike Bot Movie Poster (Credit: PR)Bike Bot Movie Poster (Credit: PR)

"We are excited that the Israeli band Radio Baghdad is in India to share their unique musical journey and songs with the people of India,” said Ambassador Naor Gilon, “It's also a great opportunity for the Israeli band to explore India's rich cultural heritage and music.”  

Radio Baghdad continued to perform the following evening at Amarrass Nights at Sunder Nursery, a monthly program held by India’s Amarass Society for Performing Arts. Ambassador Gilon shared his belief that “this musical event will further strengthen people-to-people connection and cultural ties between our nations." 

In Jerusalem, at the Kahn Theater, a new stage adaptation of “The Bicycle Boy,” based on the autobiographical novel by author Eli Amir, premiered February 4th and is running through May. Amir, an Iraqi-born Israeli writer and civil servant, draws inspiration from his own experiences as a young immigrant to Israel. 

“The Bicycle Boy” chronicles a period of cultural integration in Israel shared by many Iraqi Jews in the early days of the State of Israel.  The play’s protagonist, Nuri, a 16 year old immigrant from Baghdad, is sent by his father from the kibbutz where his family has been absorbed, to find his family a home in the city of Jerusalem. He earns a living as a currier for the Prime Minister’s office while grappling with his own struggle to find his identity in a new cultural landscape.  Through Nuri’s eyes, audiences get a glimpse of the challenges that many Mizrahi Jews at the time faced while gaining cultural acceptance in their new homeland.

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