Living continuously in Iran for over 2700 years, Jews have played an integral role in the history of the country. Frequently understood as a passive minority group, and often marginalized by the Zoroastrian and succeeding Muslim hegemony, the Jews of Iran are instead portrayed in this book as having had an active role in the development of Iranian history, society, and culture. Examining ancient texts, objects, and art from a wide range of times and places throughout Iranian history, as well as the medieval trade routes along which these would have travelled, The Jews of Iran offers in-depth analysis of the material and visual culture of this community. Additionally, an exploration of more modern accounts of Jewish women's experiences sheds light on the social history and transformations of the Jews of Iran from the rule of Cyrus the Great (c. 600-530 BCE) to the Iranian Revolution of 1978/9. This long view of the Jewish cultural influence on Iran's social, economic, and political development makes this book a unique contribution to the field of Judeo-Iranian studies and to the study of Iranian history.
Houman Sarshar is an independent scholar and director of publications at the Center for Iranian Jewish Oral History (CIJOH) in Los Angeles. He is consulting editor of Judeo-Persian Studies for the Encyclopaedia Iranica. He has edited and co-edited a number of books on Iranian Jews, including Esther's Children: A Portrait of Iranian Jews (CIJOH, 2002) and Jewish Communities of Iran: Entries on Judeo-Persian Communities Published by the Encyclop dia Iranica (New York, 2011). He holds a PhD in comparative literature from Columbia University.
Introduction. Houman M. Sarshar Chapter 1: New Vistas on the History of Iranian Jewry in Late Antiquity: Patterns of Jewish Settlement in Iran. Parvaneh Pourshariati Chapter 2: Loter?'i. Martin Schwartz Chapter 3: The Intellectual and Polemical Dimensions of Hovot Rafa'el by El`azar Hayim b. ha-Dayyan Eliahu. Vera B. Moreen and David Yeroushalmi Chapter 4: Two Wars, Two Cities, Two Religions: The Jews of Mashhad and the Herat Wars. Haideh Sahim Chapter 5: The Origins of the Decorated Ketubbah in Iran and Afghanistan. Shalom Sabar Chapter 6: The Material Culture and Ritual Objects of the Jews of Iran. Orit Carmeli Chapter 7: The Things They Left Behind. Judith L. Goldstein Chapter 8: Voices of Marginality: Diversity in Jewish Iranian Women's Memoirs and Beyond. Jaleh Pirnazar Chapter 9: Flights from History in Gina Barkhordar Nahai and Dalia Sofer's Fiction. Nasrin Rahimieh Chapter 10: Fantasies of Flight and Inclusion: Gina Nahai's Reclaiming of Jewish Iranian Identity in the American Diaspora. Mojgan Behmand