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VOA慢速英语:纽约博物馆展示在伊拉克犹太人的历史

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New York Museum Displays Iraqi Jewish History

Hello and welcome back to the program designed tohelp you learn and improve your American English. I’mJim Tedder in Washington. Today we are going tomake some money! We will visit a place not far from the VOA studios to find out how U.S. paper money ismade. We will also learn how officials protect the realmoney from being imitated by counterfeiters.

But first, the story of some things that may be morevaluable than money to some people who once lived inIraq.

Maurice Shohet is looking through a box filled with oldblack-and-white photos. The pictures recall his days inBaghdad, Iraq. Mr. Shohet grew up in the Iraqi capitalamong one of the world’s oldest Jewish communities. About 150,000 Jews once lived in Iraq.

The photos show family celebrations including weddings and bar-mitzvahs –coming of age ceremonies. In one picture, he and his mother and brothers are in a rowboat floating on the waters of the Tigris River.

The Shohet family fled Iraq in 1970 after Jews became unwelcome in thecountry. They left on foot at night during the rule of Saddam Hussein’s BaathParty. But Mr. Shohet still praises his former nation.

“I love Iraq because I was born and raised there. And the people arewonderful. We cannot equate what happened at the time by the Baath regimeas reflecting everybody.”

Mr. Shohet loaned his book of family photos to go with an exhibit seen first at the National Archives in Washington. The exhibit of religious books andcommunity documents now is in the National Museum of Jewish Heritage inNew York City.

American soldiers looking for nuclear weapons discovered the objects in theflooded lowest floor of the Mukhabarat. That agency served as SaddamHussein’s intelligence service.

More than 2,700 books and documents were recovered from the Mukhabaratheadquarters. They included many pieces from the Torah, the first five booksof Jewish scriptures, or writings. The soldiers found a case for the holy book.

They discovered documents as old as the 16th century. Many were publishedin Baghdad. But some came from faraway places like Venice.

The soldiers who rescued the objects found them wet and with pages stucktogether and covered with mold. Doris Hamburg directed the effort to savethe objects. She said they had to be frozen immediately. And even thoughwar was taking place around them, the rescuers found a freezer vehicle.

“They were able, believe it or not, to find a freezer truck in these very difficultcircumstances ((in this difficult situation.))”

The documents are to be shipped to Iraq this year after they are repaired andrestored. The U.S. State Department says it has trained Iraqi archivists tomake sure the collection is protected in Baghdad. But Iraqi Jews living in theUnited States say the American government had no right to promise to returnthe objects.

Iraq’s ambassador offered to delay the return of the objects. He made theproposal to the Jewish Daily Forward.

But for Maurice Shohet, that is not enough. He says Iraqi Jews were neverasked about the agreement. He says the objects were taken from the Jewishpeople, and still belong to them.

“So it has to be returned to the community, since there is no (Jewish)community left in Iraq. Only five people (are left) who are afraid even to meeteach other.”

The exhibit of religious books and community documents at the NationalMuseum of Jewish Heritage in New York City will be open until May 18th of thisyear.

Let's Make a Lot of Money

American dollars are popular both in the United States and around the world. For more than a century and a half, the U.S. Department of the Treasury hasworked to make sure that the bank notes are real. The department wantspeople to know their currency, their paper money, has value.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is part of the Department of theTreasury. The Bureau designs and produces millions of U.S. paper banknotes at two centers. One is in Texas and the other is here in Washington, D.C. The Bureau is among the largest printing operations of money in theworld.

The agency was established in 1862 during the Civil War. At the time,Abraham Lincoln, America’s sixteenth president, was in office.

Today, Bureau director Larry Felix says creating a bank note from start tofinish requires a number of steps and systems.

“It looks like ink on paper. And it is ink on paper. But there are anextraordinary amount of systems that are on that bank note.”

美元

America’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing Produces Millions of Dollars a Day.

The background color is put on during the first part of the process. Forexample, the Bureau’s off-set printing machines put the blue eagle, and theorange and green colors on the background of a $20 bill.

Next, the notes are pressed onto plates containing ink and engraving. A kindof design called Intaglio is used for pictures, numbers and lettering. These andother additions are different for the bank notes of differing value.

Just about anyone who produces a bank note wants to put Intaglio on thatnote. It gives bank notes a distinctive touch and feel.

“The United States puts more intaglio on than almost any other countrybecause we put Intaglio in the front and on the back.”

The next step involves the letter-press printing process. In this process, numbers and seals of the money areadded.

“So we put these features in these notes to assistpeople, to make sure that they can tell if the note isreal. And every step of the way it also helps machinesto identify if that note is real or not.”

He says the Bureau is always guarding against threatsof counterfeit, or false, notes. He says the Bureau hasdesigned special ways to protect the bank notes. These methods use digitaland other developing technologies.

Mr. Felix says there is no such thing as a note that cannot be madecounterfeit. But he says the counterfeit notes in use amount to less than oneone-hundredth of one percent.

U. S. Treasurer Rosie Rios agrees that the percentage of false notes incirculation is very small. But she says the government continues to redesignAmerican currency to prevent counterfeit.

Ms. Rios pointed to the example of the $100 note. The note was recentlydesigned with a special security feature.

“One of the first things you notice about this new $100 bill is that it has thisblue, 3-D security ribbon.”

The ribbon and other new security additions make it easier for the public tomake sure that the note is real. And they make it harder for criminals tocounterfeit.

“U.S. currency is trusted worldwide. People recognize it. So we want to makesure that we produce something that’s trusted, that’s secure, that’s safe andpeople can continue to use in the future.”

Rosie Rios’ job includes watching over both the Bureau of Engraving andPrinting and the U.S. Mint. They are separate agencies within the TreasuryDepartment. The Mint produces coins – metal money.

A copy of Ms. Rios’ signature appears on every American note.

Before we leave you, we’d like to help out a listener who wanted to know thehistory of dental floss. It seems that in the early 1800’s, a dentist named LeviSpear Parmly from New Orleans, Louisiana, told his patients to use a thin silkthread in order to better clean around their teeth and gums. Dentists in the U.S. still recommend brushing and flossing your teeth every day.

​That’s all for now, but stay tuned because more Learning English programsare headed your way. And there is world news at the beginning of each houron VOA. I’m Jim Tedder in Washington.


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