Dalia Sirkin was born Dalia Bokhobza in Tripoli, Libya. She grew up speaking Italian as her first language, though she also knew some Arabic and Hebrew. She remembers her home country as an aesthetically pleasing place with beautiful sandy beaches, Italian architecture, gardens and date palms.

However, her childhood always contained fear of persecution since she was Jewish. Walking down the street usually exposed her to the risk of being harassed as Libya had become a hot-bed of anti-Jewish hatred. One of her saddest memories was loosing a childhood friend to anti-Jewish violence. Murders of Jews occurred which went unpunished.

In 1967 the Libyan government confiscated her family’s assets as they fled Libya to Rome with one suitcase per person. Daliya spent 11 years in Rome thriving there and later studied English Literature at Oxford University. She is now a lecturer of English Composition at San Jose State University.

To read, “Once in Arab Lands” a J Weekly feature on Dalia, please click here.

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