web analytics
November 21, 2014 / 28 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Light And Shadows: The Story Of Iranian Jews

Gathering of the Zionist Federation

Gathering of the Zionist Federation

Have you ever tasted the delectable dishes of Persian Jewry? If not, then you need to head to Colbeh immediately, or better yet, to your Persian friend’s Shabbat dinner. Have you ever witnessed the jovial customs of a Persian Jewish wedding? If not, then you need to find a way to land on the guest list. This culture knows how to channel its inner strength and tenacity toward uplifting simchat hachayim and celebratory joy.

Torah Finials

Torah Finials

A Wall Carpet

A Wall Carpet

Persian Jews possess a remarkable history. Like all other Jews, they have suffered their share of oppression, stigmatization, and anguish. And like all other Jews, they have never faltered. They have risen, and still continue to rise, above the tides of hatred, while being committed to tradition and dedicated to supporting the Jewish community. However, we would expect no less from the descendants of Esther and Mordechai. Jews from Iran carry fierce wit, admirable talent, fortitude, and trust in G-d in their very DNA structure.

Bearing this in mind, when I discovered that the Yeshiva University Museum at the Center for Jewish History is currently featuring an exhibit titled Light and Shadows: The Story of Iranian Jews, I knew I had to pay it a visit.  And not surprisingly, I am grateful that I went. The exhibit was originally created by Beit Hatfutsot in Tel Aviv, Israel, and the YU Museum, in collaboration with the American Sephardi Federation, has allowed us to view it in New York as well.

Light and Shadows is meticulously organized and artfully displayed. It documents the complex past of Iranian Jews, dating back nearly 2,700 years since the first Jews exiled from Jerusalem to Babylonia settled in Persia. The exhibit sweeps the visitor on a journey from the biblical plot of Purim to the Islamic conquering of Persia in the 7th century CE to forced conversion in 19th century Persia and, finally, to the 20th and 21st century state of Iranian Jews.

One learns how the Persian Jews experienced their history of light and shadows, success and despair, freedom and persecution. After the miracle of Purim, the Jews in Persia led a tranquil existence during the reign of King Cyrus the Great. Unfortunately, however, they were victimized and deemed ritually impure when the Muslims conquered Persia in the seventh century. The Muslim conquering ushered in many difficulties for Jews.

In fact, under the rule of the Safavid kingdom, Jews were no longer permitted to be wholesale merchants or bankers (trades that they were formerly successful in). Jews were also forbidden to have any kind of physical contact with Muslims, the latter fretting that the former would taint their souls through a mere handshake. Furthermore, like Germany and its Star of David, Persian Jews were also forced to publicize their inherent “impurity.” Their “badge of shame,” however, was not a yellow cloth with the word “Jude” on it, but mismatched shoes. Perfectly paired soles were forbidden for Jews in ancient Persia.Iran-020714-Doors

Although unfashionable and embarrassing, clashing footwear paled in comparison to the dire situation that Jewish inhabitants from Mashad found themselves in during the mid-19th century. Jews from this Persian city were not only cruelly attacked by mobs, but also forced to convert to Islam. While Mashadi Jews practiced Islam publicly, they did not yield completely. Like the Marranos, they were determined to keep all the Jewish laws within the privacy of their homes.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

13 Responses to “Light And Shadows: The Story Of Iranian Jews”

  1. Yeah, Jews against Islam, right? And Islam LOVES Jews, right?

  2. Karen Bryant says:

    the Jewish people have been cruelly treated by every country they ever lived in. Yet, they have contributed more to the world than any other people group. Just look at who most of the Nobel Peace Prize winners were when the Nobel Peace Prize actually awarded accomplishments. When people are against the Jews and Israel they are waging a war against God and He will be the winner! You can bet on it!

  3. Lina Deza says:

    They call the Jews as unjust and all other negative names when rockets are fire on Gaza! But who started the shelling of rocket? Its not the Jews! Everywhere Jews go, they are always cruelly being treated. Never will a Jew start a war, they are reacting because antisemitism people wants all the Jewish people to perish! Where is justice for the Jews?

  4. Seth Burris says:

    One line agenda Islam agents the world who don’t believe in ALLAH.

  5. Seth Burris says:

    Dah its Yeshua and Romains killed him maybe you need to study history before open your Big Mouth.

  6. I find it difficult to believe that the current reality of Islam just emerged suddenly. I thoroughly am convinced that this mirage of lies or historical revisionism has been concocted to make them and their religion seem peaceful and loving…But reality through all the preponderance of evidence is screaming that the opposite is the case…We need to stand up for the innocent and punish the guilty…we need to promote liberty and justice even if it takes our very lives….

  7. The peace prize thing…yeah, true when the peace prize wasn’t a rigged and corrupt thing….lately, it isn’t worth the acclaim….It might as well be a prize from Cracker Jacks….

  8. Historic persecution of the Hebrew is proof’ there is a Satan.

  9. Jerry Raketti says:

    As a Christian I often Pray for Jerusalem & Jewry; The Protecters of our Sacred Truths.

  10. G-d spoke in and through Israel. They were chosen to allow HaSham speak to the whole world and even today their science is beneficial to us all. So they win on many fronts. Jersusalem is on my daily prayer list too.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Masked Arabs clash with Israeli security forces  in anti-Israel riot outside the Ofer prison between Jerusalem and  Ramallah.
Israel Law Center Wins Landmark Decision Against PA in NY Court
Latest Sections Stories
L to R: Sheldon Adelson, Shawn Evenhaim, Haim Saban

As Rabbi Shemtov stood on the stage and looked out at the attendees, he told them that “Rather than take photos with your cellphones, take a mental photo and keep this Shabbat in your mind and take it with you throughout your life.”

South-Florida-logo

Yeshiva v’Kollel Bais Moshe Chaim will be holding a grand celebration on the occasion of the institution’s 40th anniversary on Sunday evening, December 7. Alumni, students, friends and faculty of the yeshiva, also known as Talmudic University of Florida, will celebrate the achievement and vision of its founders and the spiritual guidance of its educational […]

South-Florida-logo

The yeshiva night accommodates all levels of Jewish education.

South-Florida-logo

Recently, Fort Lauderdale has been the focus of international news, and it has not been about the wonderful weather.

Rabbi Sacks held the position of chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth for 22 years until September 2013.

The event included a dvar Torah by student Pesach Bixon, an overview of courses, information about student life and a student panel that answered frequently asked questions from a student perspective.

It is difficult to write about such a holy person, for I fear I will not accurately portray his greatness…

“Grandpa,” I wondered, as the swing began to slow down, “why are there numbers on your arm?”

So the real question is, “How can we, as hosts, make sure our guest beds are comfortable?” Because your guests will never say anything.

It was a land of opportunity, a place where someone who wasn’t afraid of a little hard work, or the challenges of adapting to a different climate and culture, could prosper.

Rule #1: A wife should never accompany her husband to hang out with his buddies at a fantasy football draft. Unless beer and cigars are her thing, that is.

There are many people today with very little training who put out shingles and proclaim themselves to be marital coaches, shalom bayis helpers, advisers etc.

The two World Series combatants, the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants, were Wild Card teams (meaning they didn’t win their respective divisions) that got hot at the right time.

It seems ironic to use the words “Ronald McDonald” and “kosher” in the same sentence, but venture out to New Hyde Park and the two go hand in hand.

More Articles from Rebecca Mordechai
Mordechai-082214-Armoire

As of late, vintage has definitely been in vogue in the Orthodox community.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Curious as to whether Sophie’s Bistro is able to host events like a sheva berachot or a pidyon haben, I asked about party rooms. Amar answered with a broad smile and a display of Sophie’s party room, which is at once spacious and intimately elegant.

Jews from this Persian city were not only cruelly attacked by mobs, but also forced to convert to Islam.

It’s been over a year since global headlines featured Naama Margolese, eight years old at the time, being spit on and verbally assaulted by several haredim in Beit Shemesh for not adhering to their standards of modesty. Understandably, the image of a young girl being called “prostitute” during her walk to school evoked the ire of thousands. The rift between secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews grew in size and depth.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/feautures-on-jewish-world/light-and-shadows-the-story-of-iranian-jews/2014/02/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: