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Q&A: Sara Y. Aharon on Jews of Afghanistan

“From Kabul to Queens: The Jews of Afghanistan and Their Move to the United States” by Sara Y. Aharon tells the story of Afghanistan’s Jewish community and its resettlement in the United States. The American Sephardi Federation held a book launch party November 3 at the Center for Jewish History. Before the event, Aharon, whose father was born in Afghanistan, sat down with The Arty Semite to talk about her book and about the Jews of Afghanistan.

Shoshana Olidort: What inspired you to write this book?

Sara Aharon: My grandparents are from Herat, Afghanistan, and though I’ve had a long and fruitful Jewish education, the courses I took never mentioned the word “Afghanistan.” For my undergraduate thesis at Brandeis I decided to research the history of Jews in Afghanistan from their foundational myths until the 21st century. According to Afghan Jews, they are descendants of the 10 lost tribes. This myth has importance whether it’s true or not, because of how it made them feel. Afghan Jewry was extremely isolated from the Jewish world, and from the world at large. When you’re that isolated, this sort of myth makes you feel like part of greater klal yisrael [all of Israel].

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Q&A: Sara Y. Aharon on Jews of Afghanistan

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