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Westport's Conservative Synagogue Begins Second Community Read

The Conservative Synagogue of Westport, Weston and Wilton will host author Ariel Sabar on Sunday, March 29.
The Conservative Synagogue of Westport, Weston and Wilton will host author Ariel Sabar on Sunday, March 29. Photo Credit: Conservative Synagogue of Westport, Weston and Wilton

WESTPORT, Conn. — The Conservative Synagogue of Westport, Weston and Wilton announced the title for its second annual Books B’Yachad, or community read.

Ariel Sabar’s award winning “My Father’s Paradise” covers Sabar's travels with his father, Yona, back to Iraq in a quest for roots and reconciliation.

“What I discovered in writing [the book] was that my own life wasn’t the first chapter in some brand new story or the last chapter in an ancient one, but rather the very middle of a still-unfolding story of Jewish survival in lands not our own,” Sabar said.

Yona Sabar and his family were part of the mass exodus of 120,000 Jews from Iraq, one of the largest peacetime airlifts in history.

At first Sabar’s father was a little uneasy about the book. “But month by month, as he watched me collect family letters and photographs and travel to the Middle East to interview elderly Kurds, he came to see that I was trying to do for his people’s stories what he had tried to do for their language. And that was to build a kind of ark, to carry them to a new land,” Sabar said.

The synagogue will hold free programs, all designed to explore the book’s various themes.

The programs include a look at the ancient language of Aramaic, the lives of Jews in Arab countries, the way Jewish cuisine differs from country to country and the political landscape of Iraq as it relates to the Kurdish people.

The program's finale is set for Sunday, March 29, at 4 p.m. when Sabar visits the synagogue for an author talk.

Like the other events, it's free and open to the public. Advance registration is requested, but not required.

All events are held at The Conservative Synagogue, located at 30 Hillspoint Road in Westport.

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