AIRED: December 8, 2014– 11 am PST
TITLE: “FAREWELL, ALEPPO – Syria of the past when Jews Muslims & Christians lived in peace”
SPECIAL GUEST: Claudette Sutton
When we hear the word Syria, we think perpetual civil war, ISIS, and a death toll nearing a quarter million. Most of us aren’t aware of the Syria described in journalist Claudette Sutton’s new memoir, Farewell Aleppo, which explores Syria in her father’s day, just prior to World War II, a time when Jews, Muslims and Christians lived side by side as they had for centuries, attending school together, living and practicing what they believed.
That era of peaceful coexistence was coming to an end when Sutton’s grandfather, in 1941, sensing a rise in anti-Semitism in the country where his ancestors had lived for centuries, sent his two oldest sons to Shanghai, in hopes that they might find an opportunity to get to the United States. In this way Claudette’s father found himself on a journey from Syria across the world to China, where he would live under Japanese occupation throughout World War II, before reaching America and helping the rest of his family escape Aleppo.
At the heart of Claudette’s book are values passed down from her elders that have inspired her work and passion for building community, embracing the commonalities we all share, while simultaneously preserving the history, resilience and legacy of her family.
ABOUT CLAUDETTE SUTTON
It’s no coincidence that family is the central focus of Farewell, Aleppo and the work that has been the driving force of Claudette Sutton’s professional life.
As a young mother living in Santa Fe, Claudette founded Tumbleweeds, an award-winning publication that for almost twenty years has been expanding its role in serving her city’s families. As the quarterly newspaper has grown, so has her vision of providing a community resource to help her neighbors face, and embrace, the challenges of parenting.
Claudette grew up in a suburb of Washington, D.C., among a family of Syrian Jews. When the big city beckoned, she moved to New York, where she earned a bachelor’s degree from the New School for Social Research. Living in closer proximity to another side of her extensive family, she built a deeper understanding of the Jewish exodus from Syria that formed the backdrop for the story she tells so movingly in Farewell, Aleppo.
Farewell, Aleppo unveils a unique, and largely unknown, chapter of Jewish history, while exploring universal questions of identity, family and culture.