Lebanese Jews Series- IV


Celebrating Bar Mitzvah of [—] (not visible in photo) at Magen Abraham Synagogue, 1967 (Beirut, Lebanon)


12 responses to “Lebanese Jews Series- IV

  1. Anarchorev,

    Interesting blog. It is very refreshing reading from Lebanese people. I came across your site by accident.

    I lived in Lebanon during the Civil War and have been living in the U.S. since 1986. I miss the old downtown Beirut. I was there last in 2005 when Hariri was murdered. I did not like the new “posh” downtown. Working people were angry and were expressing their anger daily: “We cannot afford to take our kids for an ice cream cone,” they would say. “Haida ma la’ilna (Lebanese poor),” they would say. “Hariri built all this for the Saudis, the Americans, and the Israelis for when they come here in the future.”

    I wish I had known more Jewish Lebanese growing up. My father and grandfather did. They lived in Zkak El Blat and then moved to Ras Ennabe’ in Beirut. They had a number of Jewish friends most of whom lived in Wadi Abu Jmil. I only knew one. He was our personal physician up until 1976 when he decided to immigrate to Israel because of the war. He absolutely hated it there. He talked about discrimination against Jewish Arabs and the job prospects for an Arab physician were not great. So he came back to Lebanon, packed his stuff and sold his practice and ended up in the United States. We never heard from him after that.

    My generation of close Lebanese freinds are all scattered across the globe. We were teenagers when the war started. I have hope in the new generation of young people that is currently moving things. I just hope that they are beginning to develop a sense of allegiance based on common human principles as opposed to feudal ones. The feudal and religious ones, sad to say, still exist to a great degree.

    Do you have any statistics about the number of Jews currently residing in Lebanon? I read an article recently in the current issue of “Main Gate” the quarterly alumnus publication from AUB. the article was entitled: “My Jewish Friends” by Patrick McGreevy. There are many of us, inside and outside Lebanon, who wish that the sense of diversity we had before would come back.

    Best Wishes.

  2. I’m confused by this picture. Are you sure you had the right caption for it? Who’s the bar mitzvah?

  3. Amos – these people are ‘celebrating’ the Bar MItzvah… the person whose Bar Mitzvah it is, is not in the picture of course. 🙂 I was going to put the name but decided not to. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Blog Archive » Lebanon: Politics of Economy

  5. You caught my attention and curiosity here [your name]. Who is this mysterious person who is celebrating Bar Mitzvah? Is it a known fact, or?

  6. Hi RC, the Lebanese Jews like to keep a low profile and not have their names spread around, which is why I did not post the name (which I do know).

  7. Nice picture; we all too often forget how diverse Lebanon really is. Diverse, but not equal; a few of the Lebanese Jews that I knew were actually registered under another confession, to avoid discrimination.

  8. Hi Marilyn,

    Thanks for your comment; to answer your question, there are many Jews still living in Lebanon, but they have changed their official sect/religion affiliation and often also their names.

  9. Anarcho, are these Jews who have changed their sect affiliation and names, perform their religious duties in secret? So as to say, are they Christians/Muslims from outside and affiliation, but keep the Jewish laws and prayers from inside in secret? There is a word for this, …

  10. No RC, they don’t. Most, from the new generation, do not know Hebrew, or for that matter much about Jewish traditions and beliefs.

  11. George Kassabian

    I will never forget just before the commence of the Lebanese civil war in 1974 as we used to wait for the public bus to take me and some buddies from hi school to home in West Beirut, we used to come across this Lebanese Jew Serge Janaji, the youngest of 3 brothers, they had rug business and home above across from the Arlequin just south of Burj El Murr.
    Almost a year later all 3 were murdered while defending their turf against the Mourabeetoun; but they also made mistakes, they could have negotiated, instead opened fire. The Mours were busy fighting the Lebanese Rightwing Militia The Phalange Al Kataeb at the 4th District in the Hotels’ district and they never intended the Wadi Abou Jamil Jews, however the Janaji’s made terrible mistakes and paid dearly with their lives. I will never forget them and my good friend Mr Serge Janaji, God May Bless their souls.

  12. George Kassabian

    …so…when I Rock today I have all these feelings in my heart
    how many innocents have died in Lebanon
    and similar to a Jew I a Lebanese Armenian was always in the sidelines and sidebars…


    Mark Dorian on Youtube

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