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From the Shahs to Los Angeles: The Modern Iranian Jewish Experience with Saba Soomekh

  • Jewish Community Library 1835 Ellis Street San Francisco, CA, 94115 (map)

Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

Professor Soomekh will discuss the history of the Jews of Iran in the modern era. What was life like for Jews under Shi’a Islam, how did conditions change under the secular regime of the Pahlavis, and how did the 1979 Islamic Revolution affect Iranian Jews? She will also address life in America for the thousands of Jews who immigrated to the United States in the wake of the Iranian Revolution and the government-sponsored discrimination that followed. Soomekh will explore how the Iranian Jewish community has maintained its hybrid identity and its relationship with non-Iranian Jews, the Ashkenazi community, and Israel.

Dr. Saba Soomekh is the assistant director of interreligious and intercommunity affairs at
the American Jewish Committee. She teaches religious studies, Middle Eastern history,
and women’s studies courses at UCLA. Professor Soomekh is the editor of Sephardi and
Mizrahi Jews in America
and the author of From the Shahs to Los Angeles: Three Generations of Iranian Jewish Women between Religion and Culture. Dr. Soomekh was the exhibition coordinator for Light and Shadows: The Story of Iranian Jews at UCLA’s Fowler Museum.

Co-sponsored by JIMENA: Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa.