29 June 2007

The Jews of Iran: A simple view

YnetNews posted a recent interview with non-Jewish Ramin Farahani, director of The Jews of Iran, which will be screened (along with 43 other films) at the 27th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy (July 15-20 in Salt Lake City).

Although the film should be seen as one portrayal of contemporary Jewish life in Iran, the interview - with a director who admittedly knew little about this ancient community and a reporter who understood less - was simplistic. It persists with stereotyping of certain cities and values (materialism and education) within the community.

Among reader comments was the question on why Persians use classical Persian names instead of "Jewish" names. At least Farahani answered that one correctly - with 2,700 years of life in Iran, its Jews are Persian and typical Persian names, taken from classic literature and used by all religions in the country, are a natural outgrowth of that long association and history.

Readers should not dismiss the fact that Farahani is not Jewish and that his governmental permit to make the film necessarily entailed restrictions and censorship. It must also be understood that the community in Iran does not feel confident in revealing what might be more correct answers to what Farahani attempted to show.

As someone who has lived in Iran and the U.S - within the community - I am dubious about the comments and motives of those who appeared in the film.

Farahani, according to the story, is soon returning to Iran, and his interview in Israel ahead of a recent screening of the film, may not have been the safest thing he has done, considering the current state of affairs.

The interview is here.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:39 AM

    Ramin, I am very impressed with your research and documentary. Well done.

    However I just have to say, and this is for evey reader, I am sick and tired of hearing about Palestin and their problems, does anyone ever thing and look at the history these days? Why do we close our eye and believe in media? We do have brain, don’t we?
    Does anyone ever use their logic these days to see Israel is not the only problem, in fact Palestinians create most of the problems.
    Why can’t we just open our eye and see it wisely. Who cares what Iranian President says.
    Jew, muslim, Christian, Baha’i or Zoroastrian they all are Persian no matter what.
    Persian Jews are the kindest Jews ever, in fact, they are just like any other Persian.
    Let’s just leave the rest behind and say , “We are Persian and we are proud of it”.