Iraqi Jew describes escape from persecution

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A former refugee from Iraq is sharing her story in hopes of teaching others about tolerance and compassion.

Cynthia Kaplan Shamash describes her harrowing escape from persecution in the book "The Strangers We Became: Lessons in Exile from One of Iraq's Last Jews." Her book is a first-hand account of her family's escape from Iraq. It has opened up new conversations even with her children.

The message is one of understanding and openness has led to a number of speaking engagements in a time that feels heavily divided, if not in our own communities, certainly on the political front.

Her outlook is in many ways shaped by her experiences, found on these pages, finding acceptance and the peace that comes with it. This makes her prime candidate to discuss immigration policy.

She is a dentist by trade and a writer by choice, aware enough to drop a joke or two.