This book reveals one of the most beautiful and complicated untold stories of our time.
Westerners often imagine Jews in Iran as a captive and oppressed community, alienated within their home nation yet restricted from leaving it. The reality is much more complex. Jews of Iran is a photographic journey through twenty-first-century Iran, providing a unique view of the country’s Jewish community in situations typically unknown to the Western world. Photojournalist Hassan Sarbakhshian spent two years living among Iran’s Jewish communities, joining them for holidays, family gatherings, and travels, and―with the help of fellow journalist Parvaneh Vahidmanesh―documenting how they lived. Moving beyond the well-known state and regional confrontations, the photos that Sarbakhshian took tell a broader story about a community of people who live in the figurative and literal middle. They are Iranian nationals by birth and by choice, and they are Jews by religious affiliation. Full loyalty to their country is expected, even as their ancestral homeland is at odds with their political homeland. This photographic chronicle illuminates the grey zone that they inhabit.
Featuring over one hundred full-color photos, contextualized with extensive annotations, and accompanied by a substantive introduction written by historian Lior B. Sternfeld, Jews of Iran calls into question Western views of this religious community.