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Afghan Jewish Literary Sources

Here are various interesting pieces of literary sources that can teach you about your Afghan Jewish Heritage.

From Kabul to Queens
Sara Y. Aharon

Follows the story of the Jews of Afghanistan and their move to the United States.

Jewish Folktales
Pinhas Sadeh

An entertaining gathering of Jewish folklore, with many oral stories originating in Afghanistan. Some stories to read are listed below.
  • Adam's Diamond - An oral story from Afghanistan.
  • Moses and the Ants - An oral story from Afghanistan.
  • The Woman and the Snake - An oral story from Afghanistan. In pagan legends, such lamias lure the male hero into the romantic wold of nature, but this Jewish version, the hero brings the snake-woman back with him to the domestic hearth.
  • The Singing Donkey and the Dancing Camel - An oral story from Afghanistan. Though a mere comic jest, it reminds me of a grimmer ninth-century Chinese tale, according to which the Emperor Tsung taught a thousand of his horses to dance. After he was deposed from his throne, the general who took his place ordered the horses, of whose special talents he knew nothing, put in the royal stables. One day, hearing the royal military band strike up in air in the palace, the horses began to dance. The general ordered them to beaten to make them desist from what seemed to him their madness, but the horses, thinking they were being punished for not dancing hard enough, danced even harder and were beaten to death in the end.
  • The Shirt of a Happy Man - An oral story from Afghanistan, having parallels all over the world.
  • A Treasure from Heaven - An oral story from Afghanistan.
  • The Sheep Herder and the Customs Official - An oral story from Afghanistan. Different versions of it exist.
  • The Lamp that Died - An oral story from Afghanistan.
  • The King's Horn - An oral story from Afghanistan. Its original source is the Greek myth of King Midas. In the Greek version, however, the king has donkey's ears instead of a horn (a punishment meted out to him by Apollo) and kills himself from shame when his secret is divulged. Yet as is conjectured by Robert Graves in his The Greek Myths, the story may be even older than that, going back to the Egyptian myth of the donkey-eared god Seth.

Afghan Jews: from H’orasan and Afghanistan to New York
Abe Mor

The main subject is Afghan Jews. A number of additional issues connected to the main subject have been divided into separate chapters. The book depicts the arrival and occupations of Afghan Jews who came to the America in the last century, and settled in the wider New York vicinity. Who were these Jews? What did they do to make a living? How did they choose their professions? How did they decide where to live? What is the reason that five immigrated on the trail of one, and on the trail of those five, twenty-five arrived? Why did they choose the same neighborhoods and similar occupations?

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