the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of The Scribe, we
reprint selected articles from previous issues.
The Review of the World Jewish Congress
Jewry Celebrates Cyrus
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.
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
these celebrations did honour a king who occupies the highest
spiritual position in the religious literature of the Jews.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jewry shared the celebrations without reservations and tried
to express its feeling of gratitude and thankfulness in
every possible way.
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.
many years ago, the Jewish community had planned to set
up establishments such as a hospital and a girls 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nahum Goldmann, President of the World Jewish Congress sent
the following message to the Shah of Iran:
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."
selected articles from previous issues :
Father of the Middle East
The Cellar Club
In the Footsteps of Adam
The Arabs Will Never Make Peace with
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