In Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Jewish Ladies Organization of Iran
Although the role of women in the preservation of a nation's religious and social identity is undeniable, throughout the past 2700 years of Iranian Jewish history, we rarely come across the name of any woman. Therefore, we find ourselves responsible to make a brief record of the activities of some such women in the past fifty years, in order to provide our future generations with what we miss today. A brief survey in the social life of Iranian Jewish communities, both in Iran and abroad, shows how women were pioneers in social, philanthropic and cultural activities. Iranian Jewish Ladies Organization, as an example of such women, was conceived fifty years ago by some married and unmarried women first in Tehran and, later on, throughout the country. Thirty years later, with the encouragement of the ladies from Iran, the same development took place in Los Angeles. Although both organizations have worked independently to serve the needs of their communities and their era, they have shared one common goal which is to serve the family of human beings. They both have shared dedication and a sense of responsibility, and offered love and care to whoever is needy of them. If not for the revolution in Iran, the Board of Iranian Jewish Ladies Organization would have continued its services in Iran to this day.
In gratitude for their efforts and in the memory of those beloved women who spent their lives serving people with love and perseverance, it is our honor and pleasure to commemorate their Golden Anniversary. May their dedication, goals and sincerity always inspire future generations.
In September 1998, Iranian Jewish Women's Organization of Southern California celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the Jewish Ladies Organization of Iran. As a token of appreciation for the services of the Board in Iran (1947-1978), a booklet was to be published and distributed to the guests. Due to the lack of access to files or reliable informants for the identification of the individuals in the pictures, the booklet was not completed on time. However, our wish to reflect the work of our predecessors in Iran and our organization in Los Angeles motivated us to put together a more comprehensive and detailed book. The result is what you have in your hand today with a written introduction briefly setting forth the goals, activities, and the names of the board members in Iran and Los Angeles.
This collection is a family album in which Jewish women are portrayed as wives, mothers, daughters and social volunteers. The criteria in the selection of the pictures were the individuals in the picture, the nature of the event and its social value rather than clarity or identification of all the people in group pictures. When possible, we have written accurate dates for the pictures. In those cases when this was impossible, we have given an approximate date or categorized them according to subject matter. An effort has been made to show the individual portraits of at least the Tehran and Los Angeles board members. In the case of the Tehran Board, due to lack of access, we have enlarged some faces from group pictures which resulted in a few unclear pictures. In this collection we have tried to categorize all the available information in an unbiased manner. Yet no doubt we have missed events and names that were significant to the organization. We apologize for such shortcomings.
Due to our fine belief in the paternal and married identification of women, we have been
able to accomplish this goal for at least the board members of Tehran and Los Angeles. They are all introduced with both maiden and married names. However, other members and affiliated persons, guests and supporters in most cases are mentioned only with the last name they are mostly known by.
In spite of all the difficulties and the cost, this collection is presented in both English and Persian as a token of appreciation to our mothers' generation and as a legacy and source of inspiration to our daughters. We can trace the social development of Iranian Jewish women through these pictures. After the Second World War, we see them as volunteers in Alliance schools and teaching nursing aid classes at the Day Care Center. In the 1960's and 1970's we see them on national and international Jewish platforms struggling for their legal rights. Finally, at the end of the second millennium, we see them holding high academic and social positions as physicians, professors, space and electrical engineers, as well as economic specialists, artists, laboratory and DNA researchers in the most advanced countries of the world. We take pride in demonstrating this growth. This book is compiled with the assistance of the Los Angeles board as well as the cooperation of some of the board members of Iran who provided us with priceless information. In the spirit of the comradery promoted by the Iranian Jewish Women's Organization, the names of the individuals who have assisted me in compiling the photos and proofreading of this book are not listed as a symbol of the unity of our group.