Ezra Gubbay was a businessman from Baghdad who settled in Calcutta and traded in indigo, textiles and precious stones. He was married to Miriam Wartell in 1945. Miriam was born in Queens, NY, and her mother came from Poland and her dad from White Russia. She was Ashkenazi while Ezra was Sephardic. Miriam was an army nurse assigned to a forward aid station in Burma, during World War II. As a nurse at Beth Israel Hospital in NYC she decided to join the Army. She was a second lieutenant and a nurse anesthetist. She met Ezra at a Purim party at Lady Ezra’s house. Lady Rachael Ezra always held holiday parities in Calcutta for the Jewish servicemen and women. They married in June, 1945. and their daughter Sallyanne was born in Darjeeling a year later. Miriam left India with Sallyanne in July 1947. Ezra joined them in the States 9 months later.”
Sallyanne mentions how their Calcutta house had two separate cooking areas, one for meat and one for dairy. Kitchen helps were all muslims while housekeeping staff and other helps were Hindus. A Yemenite jew planned the everyday meals in consultation with her mother and grandmother. The head chef had some knowledge of European cooking, so the menu consisted of both European as well as Indian Jewish cooking.
Ezra Gubbay is now 89 and lives in New Rochelle, New York.
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