Adonis Diaries

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Short Stories of Lebanese Jews who immigrated… Part 2

Who lived in the Beirut block of Wadi Abu Jamil

By Nada Abdel Samad (Abridged translated from Arabic into English)

Story of Moussa Abadi (Hamadani) and Gmalo

Moussa Abadi (3abadi) is an Iranian Jew who was ordered by his father to move to Lebanon in the 50’s. Moussa learned the business of fabricating and distribution paper from his father’s florishing enterprise during the Rida Shah dictatorship.

The Jewish community in Wadi Abu Jamil aided Moussa in starting his paper industry. As the business prospered, Moussa decided to change his last name to Hamadani.

The Jewish immigrating to Lebanon had 3 choices for their temporal stay:

1. Hotel Tel Aviv owned and run by 3 people: Youssef Paryante, one from the Cohen family and the third by a Safra family.

2. A pansion (a house transformed for welcoming tourists on short term stay) owned by the Jewish Srour family, and

3. A pansion owned by the Jewish Safer family

Moussa married the Jewish Gmalo in an arranged marriage. Gmalo was in love with a Christian Maronite guy but the two families refused mixed marriages and Gmalo settled for the arranged wedding. They moved to the Kantari quarter.

The couple had many daughters and sons. The neighbors of the family were from the Kosba family and became very close.

The Hamadani family prepared the usual lemon rice with onion, a dish that didn’t match the Lebanese cuisine: The saying was “mixing rice with onion, Takhbeessa)” when someone goes on tangents during a discussion on a topic.

The Jewish celebration of Pissah or Easter was a week earlier than the Orthodox celebration. During an entire week, the block of Wadi Abu Jamil and the Street of France was packed with sweet vending merchants.

The unleavened bread was prepared for the Jewish community by the bakery of the Shiaa family of Hamadi. The Jews didn’t fry eggs in butter, on the ground of killing two souls.

The Jewish Agency (located in Hazmieh and in Cyprus) aided all the Abadi daughters and sons to immigrate to Israel. Moussa died of cerebral hemorrhage and was buried in Saida. Gmalo resumed running the business way into the first years of the civil war (1975-1989).  She eventually had to sell and immigrated to France.

Gmalo kept traveling and visiting her family members spread in the two America and Europe.

She met with the son of her best Lebanese friend Hanne in Canada who had opened a flourishing supermarket and called on Hanne once.

Note 1: Unleavened bread is of ancient usage in the Near East because it does not spoil during the hot season and particularly when traveling for long distances.

Note 2: The famous Iranian woman (lawyer/judge) who is engaged in Iran human rights is from the Abadi family.

Read part 1https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/short-stories-of-lebanese-jews-who-immigrated-part-1/


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