Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Persian Jews in US cookie culture clash

A little historical anecdote tells much about the transition of Iranian Jews in Los Angeles over a 25-year span, from strangers to integral -- though distinctive -- members of the larger Jewish community, Tom Tugend writes in Jewish Journal of LA (with thanks: Albert).

"In the late 1970s and early '80s, following Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamic Revolution, the first sizeable wave of Iranian Jews arrived in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills.

"Many chose the conveniently located Sinai Temple in Westwood, a prominent Conservative synagogue, as their Shabbat gathering place.

"Soon their large, extended families, speaking Persian, socialized in the lobby on Friday evenings, ate oneg Shabbat cookies, and attended services the following morning.

"Ashkenazi old-timers started grumbling about "free rides" for the newcomers, quite unaware that to the Iranians, paying membership dues to a synagogue was a foreign concept and that it was considered a blessing for guests to take home some cookies and candy after a bar mitzvah or wedding.

Read article in full

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