Shalom chevra! I’m so excited that we’ve finally met. Now, I can show you around Bavel and help you become familiar with my language and culture.

My family lives in the southeastern region of Bavel. The important cities of Baghdad and Pumpedita, which you’ve probably heard of, are way up north. Our region is famous for the huge marshes that stretch on forever. That’s right – I live on a marsh, surrounded by water and reeds, and not much else. Even my home is made of reeds.

Most of the people in my community are farmers. My father has a flock of sheep, and I help him take care of them. One of my responsibilities is making sure the baby lambs don’t fall into the water. Some of our neighbors grow wheat and barley. And some are fishermen. We eat lots of fish around here.

Every morning, Abba wakes me before dawn so we can learn Gemara together before tefilat shacharit. We learn again before and after the evening meal. I love learning! Abba is preparing me for the rigorous learning schedule of the great Yeshiva of Pumpedita!

I know, I can hardly believe it myself! Once I am bar mitzvah, Abba will take me up the Tigris River to Pumpedita, to learn at the feet of the gaonim.

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