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A decade after the mass immigration of a large population of Iranian Jews to the United States, and once the early problems of settlement, financial security, and adapting to a new environment were somewhat resolved, some members of the community noticed the lack of written history and documentation on twenty seven centuries of their life in Iran. They also became cognizant of the lack of knowledge and awareness of the society toward their historic and cultural heritage. At this transitional point in history, this group felt a need to shed light on and preserve this rich heritage for the generations to come. They wanted their children to be aware of their identity and roots, and they wanted to provide information on this long forgotten and neglected Iranian branch of Jewish history.

The Graduate Society Foundation - Daneshvaran

The Jews of Iran in the Ninteen Century

About the Book

Re:  Abstract of this Book, entitled “The Jews of Iran in the Nineteenth Century: Sources and Investigations Related to the History, Community and Culture of Iranian Jewry in the Nineteenth Century

Consisting of approximately fifty archival and published sources annotated and discussed in detail, this book (in English) deals with some of the important aspects of life among the Jews of Iran in the course of the nineteenth century.  The book is conceived and structured to serve two closely related academic and research purpose.  First and foremost, it aims to acquaint the English readers, and particularly those who are interested in the heritage Iranian Jews, with some of the major areas, aspects and issues of the life among the Jews of Iran in the course of the nineteenth-century and earlier.  Secondly, it is designed to provide both the general and specialized reader with an extensive body of primary sources as well as testimonies, reports and studies (in Persian, Judeo-Persian, Hebrew, as well as in European languages) that provide valuable information and insight with regard to Iran’s Jewish communities and settlements during the period under discussion.

Estimated at some fifteen to twenty thousand souls in the 1850s, and approximately forty to forty-five thousand in the 1890s, Iran’s Jewish population was highly dispersed and, for the most part, poorly protected and subjected to diverse forms of legal, socio-economic, physical and cultural restrictions and hardships.  The latter restrictions and disabilities had far-reaching negative impact on the material, communal, demographic, and socio-cultural lives of the vast majority of Iranian Jews in the nineteenth century and earlier.  The book attempts to present a realistic and (as much as possible) an objective and concrete picture of Iranian Jewry prior to its accelerated modernization in the course of the twentieth century.  The various notes, extensive bibliographical references and discussions that accompany each of the original sources and selections in the book strive to explain and clarify the respective content of the source and point to its broader relevance and meaning in the context of the general history, society, culture and religion of Iranian Jewry in the course of the 18th-19th centuries.