The Aris­to­crat: The Life and Lega­cy of Hil­lel Menashe Sutton

Abra­ham Sutton
  • Review
By – September 9, 2011

With this mem­oir, a trib­ute to the mem­o­ry of his father, Abra­ham (Al)Sutton presents a brief syn­op­sis of the his­to­ry of the Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty of Alep­po, Syr­ia, up to and through its dias­po­ras to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, New York, New Orleans, and Deal, New Jer­sey. All this in a thin vol­ume gen­er­ous­ly laced with photographs. 

Al Sut­ton lost his father when he was only eleven years old. He thought he knew him; but one day he dis­cov­ered that there had been a eulo­gy by a renowned kab­bal­ist. He even­tu­al­ly found the text; what he dis­cov­ered in the process pro­vides the foun­da­tion of The Aris­to­crat. The book is inter­est­ing, fast mov­ing, and sparkles with lit­tle glimpses of every­day life in a land (Alep­po) that was con­tin­u­ous­ly inhab­it­ed by Jew­ish peo­ple from Bib­li­cal times until the late 20th cen­tu­ry. There are also scenes of Israel dur­ing the War of Inde­pen­dence, and Syr­i­an Jew­ish life in the Unit­ed States. Author’s notes, bibliography.

Saba Soomekh, Ph.D., is a the­o­log­i­cal stud­ies pro­fes­sor at Loy­ola Mary­mount Uni­ver­si­ty in Los Ange­les, Calif. She also teach­es a course on Iran­ian Jew­ish his­to­ry at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Los Ange­les. Her forth­com­ing book on three gen­er­a­tions of Iran­ian Jew­ish women will be pub­lished by SUNY Press.

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