Ex-Iranian "Secret Jews" Gather

A conference of descendants of 19th-century Iranian Jews forced to convert to Islam and live as secret Jews will convene in Jerusalem on Monday.

Hillel Fendel ,

Reviving Jewish tradition
Reviving Jewish tradition
Israel news photo: Mashadirabbi.com

A conference of descendants of 19th-century Iranian Jews forced to convert to Islam and live as secret Jews will convene in Jerusalem on Monday.

The newly formed Global Mashadi Jewish Federation will officially be launched on Monday, July 6th, with its first-ever conference in Jerusalem. Three generations of Mashadi were forced to live as secret Jews in the 19th and 20th centuries, after having been forced to “convert” to Islam by their Iranian neighbors.

The forced conversions occurred during the period known as “Allah-Dadi,” beginning in 1839 and lasting almost a century. For more information on the community, visit http://mashadirabbi.com/.

The mission of the new federation, founded by Mr. Bahman Kamali, is to ensure the survival of the Mashadi heritage and preserve it in all locations where Mashadis live. Mashad is Iran’s second largest city and capital of an important province in the northeast region of the country.

With the establishment of the State of Israel, many Mashadi Jews immigrated to the Jewish State, and today nearly 15,000 of them live in Israel, comprising the world's largest Mashadi community. Additional communities were established in New York, Hamburg, London and Milan.

"By strengthening our global ties, we are working towards promoting the survival of our Mashadi heritage as well as Judaism overall,” Kamali said. “This is a group with a particularly unique history and series of traditions that we are proud to embrace, and this gathering will give us the chance to so here in Jerusalem, the center of the Jewish world.”

The day-long conference will be held at the Jerusalem Sheraton Plaza hotel, attended by leaders and individuals from the Mashadi Jewish communities worldwide. It will cover topics such as the alarming assimilation of the Iranian Jewish Community in the United States and Italy, a reaffirmation of the Mashadi traditions, and the creation of a Mashadi archive museum documenting Mashadi history, books and artifacts.



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