Submitted by: Saul Silas Fathi

Category: Books

Carried off in bondage:
The history of the Jews in ancient Mesopotamia
The importance of this region of the Middle East is far more than its oil reserves or its location as a buffer zone amid countries at war. It has been the center of moral and religious thought and learning that has influenced Jews, Christians, and Muslims all over the world. From this land of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers has flowed a wealth of culture and learning that spread throughout the region along many of the silk trade routes to India, along the coast of North Africa, and all the way to Spain. At the heart of this cultural explosion has been the Jewish people.

It is here that the Babylonian Talmud, by which every observant Jew today guides his life, was compiled and written down and eventually shared throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. The scholarship to produce this document alone generated the establishment of the first synagogue ever built and the founding of schools and rabbinical universities that were dispersed all over the region.

With the dissemination of knowledge and a moral code also came the transmission of culture in the form of cuisine, music, highly crafted wares, and art. Though this region was no large conquering nation like Rome or Greece or even Egypt, it nevertheless was truly the cradle of civilization, the place where moral thought was debated and codified and where education and skill became a means to elevate a people.

This cultural explosion did not happen on its own. It was stimulated by the experiences of Jews living in the region and how they dealt with landlessness and their own identity. It is a story of leaving and returning that repeats itself over the centuries and becomes a catalyst for self-examination of a people and its beliefs. This story also identifies some of the roots of conflict between Arabs and Jews today and helps to reveal the kinship of these two groups of people.

About the author:

Saul Silas Fathi is an author, historian, lecturer and acknowledged Islamic scholar. He has authored 5 already published books on history, biography, Islam and their leaders, Muslims and religion, which are all available on During the past seven years, Mr. Fathi has lectured at over 160 organizations, 2 universities, 26 public libraries, 3 summer camps, 8 district schools, 18 temples, 12 senior centers, 11 assisted living homes, 14 community centers, 2 churches and 2 rotary clubs.

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