Conference: From Ancient Persia to Contemporary LA: 2,700 Years of Iranian Jewish History


Organized in conjunction with the exhibition Light and Shadows: The Story of Iranian Jews, this day-long conference brings together distinguished scholars to examine topics including religions and cultures in ancient Persia, religious minorities under Shiite Islamic rule, and contemporary issues of identity and culture, including women in Iran and the Jewish-Persian diaspora.

Conference Kick-off Concert with Galeet Dardashti, Saturday, Jan 26


Morning Session 10:00 am–12:30 pm

Welcome and opening remarks by Marla C. Berns, Shirley & Ralph Shapiro Director, Fowler Museum and Todd Presner, Sady and Ludwig Kahn Director, UCLA Center for Jewish Studies

Light and Shadows: 2,700 Years of Iranian Jewish History
Introduction and Moderation by David Myers, Chair, Department of History, UCLA


David Yerushalmi, Professor, Center of Iranian Studies, Tel Aviv University
Introduction to Iranian Jewish Culture and History

Jason Mokhtarian (pictured, left), Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Indiana University
Jewish Culture in Ancient Iran: From Ezra the Scribe to the Babylonian Talmud

Daniel Tsadik, Assistant Professor of Sephardic and Iranian Studies, Yeshiva University
Jews Under Shiite Islamic Rule

Afternoon Session 2:00–5:30 pm

Contemporary Issues of Identity and Culture

Panel One 2:00–3:30 pm

Special Topics on Women in Iran
Moderator: Morgan Hakimi, Co-Chair, Department of Psychology, Touro College Los Angeles


Janet Afary, Professor, Mellichamp Chair in Global Religion and Modernity, UC Santa Barbara
Eliz Sanasarian, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Southern California
Jaleh Pirnazar, senior lecturer, Iranian Studies, UC Berkeley
Saba Soomekh, scholar, author and project coordinator for Light and Shadows

Panel Two 3:45–5:30 pm

Contemporary Explorations of Heritage and Memory
Moderator: Houman Sarshar, Director of Publications, Center for Iranian Jewish Oral History
Introduction to the Jewish Iranian Community of Los Angeles since the Revolution


Yassi Gabbay, architect
Controversies over the Tomb of Esther and Mordechai in Iran

Hasan Sarbakshian (pictured, right), photojournalist
Religious Liberty and Freedom of the Press in Iran

Free and open to the public.


Co-sponsored by the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies and UCLA's  Y & S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, and Department of History, and G.E. von Grunebaum Center for Near Eastern Studies



Conference: From Ancient Persia to Contemporary LA: 2,700 Years of Iranian Jewish History
Sunday, January 27, 2013
10 - 5:30 pm
Free Program


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