June 28, 2005

Silent Judaism in Iran

I decided to point out this article about Jews in Iran. It reminds me of something from the (not so distant) past.

The Mahariv synagogue in Tehran Photo: Orly Azoulay

TEHRAN - "What do you want?" asked a suspicious and angry elderly local, as I entered the Mahariv synagogue in Tehran on Friday night.

When I explained to him that I was Jewish, and asked to join the prayer service, he was incredulous.

"We haven't seen Jews from outside of Iran for 30 years," he said.

On my first day in Tehran, I asked my cab driver to take me to the local synagogue. I didn't have an exact address, only the name of the neighborhood.

The driver sensed my disappointment.

"If you would like to see the Jewish cemetery, I can take you there," he said. "It will be interesting for you. The grandmother of the president of Israel is buried there."

I asked him who the president of Israel was.

"Moshe Dayan," said the cab driver. I didn't rush to correct him. It seemed to me that in the heart of Tehran, on a road that connected the synagogue to the Jewish cemetery, accompanied by an unknown driver, it was preferable not to reveal familiarity with Israeli affairs.

"Nearly 300 people took part in prayers. The experienced ones held the prayer book, and became lost in themselves, as they mumbled silent Hebrew words, a forbidden language in the streets of Tehran outside of the confines of a synagogue or a Jewish school."

Rest of article

Posted by Maria at June 28, 2005 03:11 AM
Comments & Trackbacks

Amazing article. My husband is Persian, so anything having to do with Jewish life in Iran is definitely of interest.

Posted by: She at June 30, 2005 03:30 PM Permalink

There are a lot of Persian Jews here where I live. We hang out all the time. They are party animals. I love them.

Posted by: Max L at July 1, 2005 12:33 AM Permalink