Published: Feb. 7, 2018

Ariel Sabar, an award-winning author and journalist, will host a public lecture titled “Paradise Lost and Found,” which will focus on his best-selling book, My Father’s Paradise: A Son’s Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq.

The lecture will take place on Thursday, Feb. 8, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Old Main Chapel on the University of Colorado Boulder campus. This event is free and open to the public. Space is limited; RSVPs are appreciated to

Ariel Sabar’s talk will weave together the story of the Kurdish Jewish and their Aramaic tongue with the moving tale of how a consummate California kid came to write a book about his family’s Kurdish roots.


Ariel Sabar

Yona Sabar, Ariel’s father, was a distinguished professor at UCLA and one of the world’s foremost experts on Aramaic, the 3,000-year-old language of the Jewish Talmud—and of Jesus.

But Ariel’s life seemed a far cry from his father’s. Yona had been born in an ancient village of Aramaic-speaking Jewish in the mountains of Kurdish Iraq ­– the oldest corner of the Jewish diaspora – but for Ariel, his father might as well have been born on the moon. Then Ariel had his own son, and everything changed.

Ariel Sabar won the National Book Critics Circle Award for his debut book, My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for his Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq (2008). His second book, Heart of the City (2011), was called a "beguiling romp" (New York Times) and an "engaging, moving and lively read" (Toronto Star). 

His Kindle Single, The Outsider: The Life and Times of Roger Barker (2014), was a best-selling nonfiction short. Sabar is also an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Harper's, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Mother Jones, and This American Life, among many other places. He graduated magna cum laude from Brown University.

His visit is part of the new Community Talks Series in the Program in Jewish Studies, made possible in part by a grant from the Rose Community Foundation.

This event is supported by CU Boulder’s Program in Jewish Studies, Department of Ethnic Studies, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations, Department of English, Department of Religious Studies, and Mediterranean Studies Group