15 February 2008

Iran: Purim in Susa

In recent years, Jews in Iran have made pilgrimage to Susa in southwest Iran - where the tomb of Prophet Daniel is located - to celebrate their roots.

Members of Iran's tiny Jewish minority gathered at the holy shrine of the Prophet Daniel in the southwest of the country Thursday to celebrate their Persian roots and keep alive a dwindling community.

More than 200 Iranian Jews embarked on the long journey to Susa from cities across Iran to celebrate their Jewishness in an event organized by a local Jewish youth group to support the community.

When we lived in Iran we visited many places of Jewish interest except for Susa and Hamadan - where the purported graves of Esther and Mordecai are located - and I've always regretted that.

The AP story is a bit ingenuous, saying that Jews in the country face no restrictions other than females being required to wear headscarves, which is not exactly true. Jewish schools must stay open on Saturday and there are restrictions on the teaching of Hebrew.

According to the story, there are some 25,000 Jews today in Iran. On the eve of the Iranian revolution in 1978, there were 100,000 and many left for Isrel, the US and elsewhere following Khomeini's return.

Read more here.

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