In 2016, journalist and political advisor Annika Hernroth-Rothstein traveled to Iran in order to meet with one of the most allusive and historically significant Jewish communities in the world. She spent 24 days in Iran, visiting Jews in Esfahan, Shiraz and Tehran and what she found there was a small yet vibrant Jewish population, surviving despite extremely difficult circumstances. The journey to Iran posed several important questions: how did these remaining Jewish communities survive throughout the ages; what facilitated their ability to remain distinctly Jewish; and what is it within our people, faith and culture that ensures not only our survival, but also our prosperity and growth in the face of such adversity?

 

With these questions at top of mind, in early 2017, Ms. Rothstein set out to document the diverse Jewish diaspora in a comprehensive book. Ms. Rothstein will, throughout this work, visit the most remote and vulnerable Jewish communities of the world – many of them unknown to most of the general public, and even other Jewish communities themselves – to ask those very questions. The goal will be to understand how these vestiges of Jewish life, culture and people have survived and retained their distinctly Jewish identity in lands that have sought to extinguish it.

 

 

This upcoming project, working title “Like Diamonds . a journey into the Jewish diaspora” is meant to be a comprehensive study of the exotic and unexpected Jewish tribes in the diaspora. The breadth of countries covered in this book, combined with historical analysis, personal anecdotes, and vibrant photography is not only certain to delight the senses but also humanize and foster a greater understanding of the Jewish experience among members of the international community.

 

This is a story about survival, perseverance and human history told through the Jews of faraway lands. Beyond that, it is a study in pluralism, showing the many faces and colors of the Jewish world and their long tradition of co-habitation with non-Jewish neighbors.

 

In order to make this work as comprehensive as possible, the countries to be visited in this book were chosen based on several factors including: geographical diversity; historical significance; and the majority religion of the country. While the personality of each country documented is unique each chapter will remain within certain parameters, such as exploring a country’s relationship to Israel, its actions or lack thereof during the Holocaust, and how the religion and ethnicity of the majority population has either welcomed or challenged its Jewish citizens.

 

Each chapter will include a history of the country and its Jewish community, and an account of present-day life through research and in-depth interviews.Again, an emphasis on incorporating vibrant photography will ensure the book remains approachable and transports the reader to the communities and countries being explored.

 

Countries of the Jewish Diaspora included in this book:

 

  • Cuba
  • Morocco
  • Sweden
  • Iran
  • France
  • Italy
  • Finland
  • Russia
  • Iraq
  • Curaçao
  • Turkey
  • Ethiopia
  • Uzbekistan
  • Azerbaijan
  • China

 

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