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The articles in this issue have been divided up into the following categories







On the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of The Scribe, we reprint selected articles from previous issues.

From World Jewry:
The Review of the World Jewish Congress
November 1971

Iranian Jewry Celebrates Cyrus

Moussa Kermanian

The Jewish Community in Iran is one of the oldest in the the Diaspora, dating back to the destruction of the First Temple at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. It has now been the witness of unique and unprecedented celebrations, of fourfold significance to Iranian Jews.

First of all, Iran is their home and they have shared its joys and sorrows. It is the resting place of their ancestors, and their holy shrines such as tomb of Daniel, Esther and Ezra are located here. Aside from that, parts of the Old Testament have either been written in this land or relate to it.

Secondly, these celebrations did honour a king who occupies the highest spiritual position in the religious literature of the Jews.

Cyrus the Great, as it is written in Ezra, c. I and Isaiah, c. 44-45, as well as in the last Chapter of Kings, has been given the titles of Shibban and Messiah by God, which even the prophets do not have.

Thirdly, from the national and political points of view, the celebrations commemorated the declaration of Human Rights and Liberties by Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Iranian Monarchy.

It was through this declaration and other decrees that the prisoners of Babylon were not only freed but were encouraged to lay the foundations of the Second Temple.

Cyrus did not confine his benevolence to this act alone but also ordered that all the gold and silver utensils looted from the First Temple be restored to the Jews and that the people of the Achaemenian lands should not spare any moral and material support to assist the exodus of the Jews, which was carried out in an orderly manner.

Fourthly, with the arrival of the Jews from Babylon as free men and citizens of the Achaemenian Empire, the Iranian Jews became a community. In fact they are as old as the Persian Empire and as such the celebrations also commemorated the beginning of the Jewish community in Iran.

In the reign of His Imperial Majesty, the Shahanshah Aryamehr, the present sovereign of Iran, such great magnanimity and humanitarian love has been shown them that the Iranian Jews, like all their compatriots have made considerable progress. In contrast to their neighbouring countries they have been shown extra-ordinary kindness and generosity and it is the sacred duty of the Iranian Jewish society to express its gratitude in the best possible manner.

Iranian Jewry shared the celebrations without reservations and tried to express its feeling of gratitude and thankfulness in every possible way.

Among the measures adopted by the Iranian Jewish society through the decisions of a special committee, were the organising of meetings, the decorating and illuminating of all Jewish establishments, such as synagogues and schools, and the holding of prayer and thanksgiving ceremonies.

For many years ago, the Jewish community had planned to set up establishments such as a hospital and a girl’s secondary school, both of which have now been set up and named after Cyrus the Great, to commemorate the occasion. The Central Committee of Iranian Jewry, or individual members of the community, have set up more than 30 schools throughout the country.

Perhaps, the most outstanding action for the occasion was the extensive repairs to the Shrine of Esther and Mordchai in the city of Hamadan (Ekbatan), the summer capital of Xerxes, which has attracted Jewish and Christian pilgrims from time immemorial and constitutes one of the most valuable archaeological treasures of Iran. Adjacent to the shrine, a huge garden with new commemorative buildings, chapel and library have been created and the site is today a major tourist attraction. The new facilities are expected to be inaugurated soon in the presence of the dignitaries of the country.

In the educational field, arrangements have been under way for several years for the publication of a Hebrew-Persian and Persian-Hebrew dictionary by the late Suleiman Haim, the noted Iranian Jewish scholar. The Hebrew-Persian dictionary has already been printed in Jerusalem and the other works were made ready during the last days of his life.

Cyrus the Great loved the Jews and took a number of positive measures in the cause of justice and righteousness, and that too in the hard and cruel world of his times. The present Monarch of Iran also has spared no effort to show kindness and generosity to the Jews and to bring about international peace and understanding. The traditions of humanitarianism established by Cyrus the Great and the equality of men were one of the first ideas expressed and outlined by the Shahanshah.

If circumstances had permitted, the joy of the Iranian Jewish community would have reached its peak. In the great gathering of world rulers and leaders on the occasion of the 25th centenary of the Iranian monarchy, the absence of the representatives of the Jewish nation is to be regretted.

It would appear that if political and other considerations had allowed, the representatives of the nation that was so favoured by Cyrus the Great might have participated in this illustrious gathering as proof of human justice and vivid witness to the glory of that magnificent monarch.


Dr Nahum Goldmann, President of the World Jewish Congress sent the following message to the Shah of Iran:

"On behalf of the World Jewish Congress and its member communities and organisations throughout the world, I wish to convey to your Imperial Majesty and to the Iranian people our joyous participation in the celebrations commemorating the founding of the Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great. The Jewish people will always remember his historic act, sanctioning their first return from exile to their homeland. We wish you and your people happiness and prosperity."


Other selected articles from previous issues :

Abraham, Father of the Middle East
The Cellar Club
In the Footsteps of Adam
The Arabs Will Never Make Peace with Reality

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