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Posts Tagged ‘Iranian Jewish Association’

Jewish wedding in beautiful synagogue in Iran.

Jewish wedding in beautiful synagogue in Tehran.

Hello Everyone!

We are officially a listserv now. Welcome to the “Window on Iran”
listserv!  It took just a bit longer than I thought. Now that the list
is up and working, the weekly updates should be back on track. Let us
move to the updates:

Current Issues:

* This week, Iran responded to the package of incentives
aimed at suspending its nuclear program with a 30 page
document which is not public yet. Comments from various
European and American officials point to the fact that the
Iranian government has given signs of interest in starting
“serious”  negotiations while at the same time, it wishes to
save face by not suspending enrichment as a “pre-condition”
to the start of the negotiations. Some experts in Washington
warned against a hasty rejection of the Iranian response and
suggested to open up to Iran’s indication of readiness for
negotiations. Such negotiations should ideally include:
enrichment suspension, the Iranian role in the region, and
keeping Iran accountable for its own human rights record.
You may read more on these at:
http://www.niacouncil.org/pressreleases/press423.asp

* In the meantime, a key House committee issued a
stinging critique of U.S. intelligence on Iran yesterday,
charging that the CIA and other agencies have failed to find
information on Iran’s true intentions for its nuclear
program and its ties to terrorism! It is not clear how the
committee knows about these “intentions” and “ties” if
intelligence agencies are not able to find any information
about them. Here is the article on this in Washington Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/23/AR2006082301309.html?referrer=email

Cultural/Social

A lot questions are asked about Iranian religious and ethnic
minorities in the west. Many people think, for example, that
Jews cannot freely worship. Some even wonder if Jews still live
in Iran. Again, I don’t wish to present ideal conditions for
minorities in Iran. Iranian activists will tell you that legal
reform is needed with regard to minority rights. Furthermore,
modern nation-states are built on nationalistic ideologies that
— despite their rhetoric of national unity — marginalize
racial difference. The 1979 Iranian revolution further
emphasized such differences by fore grounding religion as one of
its organizing principles. Despite all of that, the answer to
the above question is: yes Jews — and other minorities — do
live in present day Iran and are very much a part of the social
and cultural scene. The main problems that the Iranian Jews face
at this point is the antagonistic relations between the two
countries of Iran and Israel. Not being able to travel between
the countries affects their personal lives.

The Jewish Community in Iran:

The current population of the Iranian Jews is estimated
approximately 30,000 (one of the oldest and largest in the
Middle East). The official web page of the Iranian Jewish
Association
says:

Synagogues

There are about 100 synagogues in Iran of which about 26 are in
Tehran. Iranian synagogues in terms of the history and place of
construction have a variety of architectural styles. There are
several synagogues in Tehran, Yazd and Isfahan cities, which
because of their antiquity and beauty of architecture have been
ear marked as national historic sites by Cultural Heritage
Organization

The most widely known Iranian Jewish Scholar is Solomon Haim the
author of Persian-Hebrew Dictionary.
This dictionary is compiled by “Solomon Haim” (1889-1968), one
of the most famous Jewish scientists of Iran. He has compiled
the most well known French-Persian, Persian-English, and
English-Persian dictionaries and for this he is of high respect
and prestige among the people of Iran.

You can visit the site at:
http://www.iranjewish.com/Essay_E/Essay_e1.htm to read about
cultural organizations, schools, libraries, journals, community
centers and more.

Suggested Reading:

Esther’s Children: A Portrait of Iranian Jews (Hardcover) by Houman
Sarshar (Editor)
<http://www.amazon.com/s/002-3695249-7660814?ie=UTF8&index=books&rank=-relevance%2C%2Bavailability%2C-daterank&field-author-exact=Houman%20Sarshar>

This week’s visual delight:

The paintings of  Yacob Amamepich, a Jewish painter from
Tabriz, was on display in July 2006 in the Elahe Gallery in
Tehran. Please click on:
http://www.elahe.net/thumb.php?gallery=38 to view the paintings.

And please click here to read more about some young members of the
Iranian Jewish Community: http://www.mfjc.org/board_briefings/dec2005.htm .

Fatemeh
========================
Fatemeh Keshavarz, Chair
Dept. of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatuares
Washington University in St. Louis
Tel: (314) 935-5156
Fax: (314) 935-4399
========================

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