That is the path of a most remarkable woman, Pearl Sofaer, who has come to be my neighbor. I got to meet her because I am around during the day, working from home. I was immediately struck by her positive attitude. You may be too when you read her memoir, Baghdad to Bombay – In the Kitchens of My Cousins. It chronicles her Jewish family’s flight from persecution in Iraq to growing up a British subject in India to ultimately alighting in the US. It also tells the stories of her cousins spread around the world and shares family recipes. Parts of the book remind me of one of my favorite college reading assignments: Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje of The English Patient fame.
Pearl Sofaer is also a vocal artist with a CD called Gems of Mizrahi Liturgy. You’ll have to click through the link to Amazon to see the CD artwork. Its actually a reproduction of an oil painting by Pearl! Here’s my review of the music on Amazon:
Excellent World Music From a True Woman of the World, September 13, 2008
I got this CD directly from Sofaer Press and love it! Eco-friendly packaging — no jewel case. It has traditional Jewish prayers and Psalms of David sung by a woman of Baghdadi Jewish heritage, who has lived all over the world. I also enjoyed reading her story in her book:Baghdad to Bombay – In the Kitchens of My Cousins
On the CD, Pearl Sofaer’s melodic voice fills the space, mostly unaccompanied. Some tracks are joyous, others are solemn, haunting. I consider this a fine addition to my collection of world music. I’m glad I got this in time for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur because its got songs for each. And I’m not even Jewish, I just like to listen to world music while I work!
Regardless of whether Amazon has it in stock, click on “Used & New” to buy directly from Sofaer Press — you’ll get an autograph besides.
To hear Pearl Sofaer tell her story in person, see the Events section of her website.