Iranian Jews

On View: The Story of Esther’s Children

The story of Esther, who courageously foiled a plot to exterminate the Jews of ancient Persia (modern-day Iran), is the keystone of the Purim tradition and Iranian Jews have always strongly identified with that singular Jewish heroine.  Even today, Iran’s remaining 25,000 Jews go to pray at the tomb of Esther and Mordechai ‒ yes, there is such a place ‒ and the Jewish queen is remembered on a daily basis through amulets seeking her protection and beautifully illustrated renderings of the megillah (scroll) telling her story.  No surprise that modern Iranian Jews are occasionally referred to as Esther’s children. 

Painted Doors; Iran, 19th century; wood, pigment. Collection of Miriam Kove, New York. Photo courtesy Beit Hatfutsot – The M

Iranian Jewish Man Murdered In Tehran

01/03/2013

 

A Jewish man dating the daughter of a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard was murdered, an Israeli television station reported.

Daniel Magrufta, 24, the son of a well-known Iranian businessman and a member of one of the wealthiest Jewish families in Iran, was killed last week in Tehran, Israel's Channel 2 reported Wednesday. 

The Jewish community reportedly believes he was murdered because of his relationship with the Iranian woman, but Iranian authorities say he was killed during a robbery.

Jewish Woman Reportedly Murdered, Mutilated In Iran

11/30/2012

A Jewish woman in the central Iranian city of Isfahan was murdered in what her family is calling a religiously motivated attack, Israeli media are reporting.

The woman, 57, was murdered in her home and her body was mutilated on Nov. 26, according to the reports.

Iran Tries To Convert Jewish Students

08/13/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

School days can be stressful enough. In Iran it is a challenging experience in more ways than usual for a Jewish teenager.

At a recent ISEF luncheon at Sotheby’s in New York, to raise scholarship funds for needy students in Israel, Roya Hakakian recounted growing up in Iran after the 1979 revolution.

For a Christian, Jew or Zoroastrian there was constant pressure at school to convert. Roya could not evade such pressure, even though she went to a Hebrew day school.

One day her class was called to assemble in the basement near the cafeteria.

Dr. Shemtov Cohen, Yemenite-born, and Roya Hakakian, Iranian-born, both now in U.S., meet at ISEF luncheon. Photo by Tim Boxer
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