Episode 116: Jewish Life in 20th Century Iran

Host: Christopher Rose, Department of History
Guest: Lior Sternfeld, Department of History and Jewish Studies, Penn State

Iran is home to the largest Jewish population in the Middle East outside of Israel. At its peak in the 20th century, the population of Jews was over 100,000; today about 25,000 Jews still live in Iran. Iranian Jews rejected the siren call of the Zionist movement to instead participate in the Iranian nationbuilding process, welcoming European refugees during World War II, and participating in international exchanges between Iran and Israel.

Guest Lior Sternfeld from Penn State discusses the rich history of Iran’s Jewish community in the 20th century, and discusses the unique place of the community in Iran under the Shah, and how Jews even contributed to the 1979 revolution.

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