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Spoils of War

Importing dates, Iraqi-style

Amanda Aronczyk
January 23, 2007

A few months ago, an unusual store opened on Atlantic Avenue in downtown Brooklyn, amid the mostly Muslim, Arab-owned shops, which sell everything from soaps and incense to hajibs and phone cards. “Davisons and Co., Import Export,” read the lettering in the window, “Iraqi Dates coming soon!”

The shop, as it happened, was not exactly a shop, but the work of Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz, who took the name “Davisons and Co.” from his grandfather, Nissim Isaac David, who once ran an import-export business in Baghdad. As to why Rakowitz is importing Iraqi dates? Amanda Aronczyk tells the story.

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Julie Subrin is Tablet Magazine’s executive producer for audio.