Jewish Community Center of Washington, DC

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Literary Festival--Sweet Dates in Basra
Washington DCJCC

Jessica Jiji, Sweet Dates in Basra
The Chaim Kempner Author Series

Sweet Dates in BasraTuesday, October 26
7:30 pm | Ina and Jack Kay Community Hall
Tickets: $11, Discounted Members/Seniors/Under 25 $9


Inspired by her family’s Jewish roots in Iraq, Jiji’s tale is a poignant tribute to the lost traditions and cultural harmony of Iraq before World War II. The novel tells the story of Kathmiya, an Arab girl sent to work as a servant in the city of Basra. Kathmiya meets Shafiq, a Jewish boy who proves that religion is no barrier to friendship. When British warplanes begin bombing Iraq, the power of an unbreakable childhood bond and a transcendent love must overcome the fractures of a collapsing society.

Jessica JijiThe daughter of an Iraqi immigrant, Jessica Jiji is a speechwriter for the Secretary-General of the United Nations, where she has worked for more than a decade as a news writer covering breaking international developments. She is also the author of Diamonds Take Forever, which was acclaimed for its positive portrayal of Arabic culture, as well as three full-length screenplays, including one that was optioned by Lantern Pictures. She lives in New York City with her husband and three sons.

“Jiji’s tale of star-crossed love is a reminder of the power of the heart over the strictures of tradition.” –Ariel Sabar, author of My Father’s Paradise

“The cultural perspective and setting are a nice break from the wartime norm, as is the unexpected ending.”Publishers Weekly

Supported by the Chaim Kempner Collection Library Fund, the Chaim Kempner Author Series brings authors of recently published books to the 16th Street J for the learning and enjoyment of the entire community.

This program is co-sponsored by American Sephardi Federation and Busboys and Poets.

See the full line up at


Time: 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM

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