Damascus Jewish woman in her finest

Rare photographs of women in what was once the country of Syria and the home of a vibrant Jewish community.

Lenny Ben David ,

Jewish girl of Damascus
Jewish girl of Damascus
INN:British Library

In Honor of our 2 Millionth Viewer Today, This Damascus Jewish Woman Put on her Finest, 1865

Sometime today, our 2 millionth visitor will open this site.   

Jeune fille juive de Damas en grande toilette.  A Jewish girl of Damascus in her best outfit. (Paris, Musée d'Orsay)

Researching a recently digitized collection in France, we decided to celebrate and share one of the pictures we found this week. The photo was taken by French photographer Charles Lallemand in 1865 and can be found in the archives of the D'Orsay Museum in Paris.  The young woman welcomed us in her fanciest outfit, wearing on her feet elaborate platform shoes used in the hammam (Turkish baths). Some of the shoes at the time were inlaid with mother-of-pearl and silver.

This site has published features on early pictures of lost Jewish communities in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, and Iraq.  We recently published 19th century pictures of other Jewish girls from the Middle East, including Syrian/Damascus Jewish girls, found by the British Library in an endangered Beirut collection of Bonfils photographs.

"Jewish girl from Syria" (Bonfils, British Library)

"Jewish girl from Damascus" (Bonfils, British Library)

Jewish home in Damascus (1901, Library of Congress)