Cover image for Jews of Iran: A Photographic Chronicle By Hassan Sarbakhshian, Lior B. Sternfeld, and ByParvaneh Vahidmanesh

Jews of Iran

A Photographic Chronicle

Hassan Sarbakhshian, Lior B. Sternfeld, and Parvaneh Vahidmanesh

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$29.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-09264-5

128 pages
8.66" × 8.66"
101 color illustrations/1 map
2022

Dimyonot: Jews and the Cultural Imagination

Jews of Iran

A Photographic Chronicle

Hassan Sarbakhshian, Lior B. Sternfeld, and Parvaneh Vahidmanesh

“A remarkable feat—Jews of Iran is a vivid portrayal of the largest Jewish community in the Middle East outside Israel, documenting a group rendered invisible by global geopolitics.”

 

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This book reveals one of the most beautiful and complicated untold stories of our time.

Westerners often imagine Jews in Iran as a captive and oppressed community, alienated within their home nation yet restricted from leaving it. The reality is much more complex. Jews of Iran is a photographic journey through twenty-first-century Iran, providing a unique view of the country’s Jewish community in situations typically unknown to the Western world. Photojournalist Hassan Sarbakhshian spent two years living among Iran’s Jewish communities, joining them for holidays, family gatherings, and travels, and—with the help of fellow journalist Parvaneh Vahidmanesh—documenting how they lived. Moving beyond the well-known state and regional confrontations, the photos that Sarbakhshian took tell a broader story about a community of people who live in the figurative and literal middle. They are Iranian nationals by birth and by choice, and they are Jews by religious affiliation. Full loyalty to their country is expected, even as their ancestral homeland is at odds with their political homeland. This photographic chronicle illuminates the grey zone that they inhabit.

Featuring over one hundred full-color photos, contextualized with extensive annotations, and accompanied by a substantive introduction written by historian Lior B. Sternfeld, Jews of Iran calls into question Western views of this religious community.

“A remarkable feat—Jews of Iran is a vivid portrayal of the largest Jewish community in the Middle East outside Israel, documenting a group rendered invisible by global geopolitics.”
“A rare glimpse into the lives of a community that has survived in Iran through thick and thin for 2,700 years, bringing together identities that are distinctively Jewish yet thoroughly Iranian.”
“This remarkable collection of photographs beautifully captures the daily life of Iranian Jews under the Islamic Republic. It shows how survival involves daily compromise, and how this dwindling community has maintained its cultural and religious identity against all odds.”
“If ‘one picture is worth more than a thousand words,’ this book captures the complex world of the Jews of Iran. With sensitivity and artistic talent, Sarbakhshian and Vahidmanesh reveal their humanity, which is too often hidden from view.”

Hassan Sarbakhshian has thirty years of experience in journalism, television production, and photojournalism. He began his journalism career at Voice of America in Washington, DC. His photographs have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington PostNewsweekTimeThe Economist, and other international newspapers and magazines.

Lior B. Sternfeld is Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies at The Pennsylvania State University and the author of Between Iran and Zion: Jewish Histories of Twentieth-Century Iran.

Parvaneh Vahidmanesh has seventeen years of experience in journalism inside and outside of Iran. She is currently a broadcast journalist at Radio Free Europe’s Persian service in Prague.

Acknowledgements

Introduction: Iranian Jews in the Twenty-First Century

Business and Everyday Life

Religious Life and Rituals

Conclusion

Bibliography

Index

Download a PDF sample chapter here: Introduction

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