Society for Sephardic Progress has awarded Edwin Black the 2004
Doña Gracia Medal for Best Book of The Year.
International Society for Sephardic Progress has awarded
Edwin Black the 2004 Doña Gracia Medal for Best Book
of The Year for his book Banking on Baghdad. The Doña
Gracia Medal is awarded annually in January for the most significant
book published during the preceding year that impacts the Sephardic
community. The book awarded is one which the ISFSP feels would
be strongly recommend for members of both the Jewish and non-Jewish
public to read.
Black's book Banking on Baghdad has become a catalyst for change,
bringing about a more accurate and inclusive educational curriculum
on Holocaust studies. When Holocaust educators teach about the
years 1933-1945, they aim to present a comprehensive overview.
But sadly, a major event that took place during this period, known
as the Farhud-the 1941 Nazi-allied pogrom against Iraqi Jewry,
has been all but forgotten about by historians. The subsequent
events culminating in the expulsion of 120,000 Iraqi Jews-a community
with a precious 2,600 year legacy-has also been forgotten. Edwin
Black's work has made a difference, evoking widespread discussion,
by both Jews and non-Jews, about the events that unfolded in Iraq
between the Arabs and their partnership with Hitler.
award is named in honor of Doña Gracia Mendes Nasi, a 16th
century banker who used her money, power and influence to develop
an escape network that saved thousands of her fellow Jews from
the terrors of the Inquisition. Doña Gracia used her considerable
wealth to help individuals and communities, supported academies
of learning as far away Jerusalem, and sponsored printing presses-which
were invaluable in keeping Jewish books alive.
International Society for Sephardic Progress is a Jewish
agency developed to serve the Sephardic community--the descendants
of the Jews of historic Spain, Portugal, North Africa and the
Levant who share both common religious and cultural bonds. Although
a Sephardic organization, the ISFSP is a Jewish advocacy agency
first and foremost.