Iran's Jewish community is one of the oldest diaspora communities in the world. But is there more to those 2700 years than Queen Esther and the Islamic Revolution? This talk examines the lesser-known parts of Iran's Jewish History, a vast story of prophets, autonomous nations, divergent sects, epic poetry, and political intrigue. Through the music, languages, foods, writings, traditions, and stories of two millennia, along with their ties to neighboring and faraway communities, the Jews of Iran have forged a culture at once Persian and Jewish, with traditions and aesthetics uniquely their own. In this two-part series, we will explore notable personalities in this rich history, from over 1,500 years ago and more recently.
About the speaker:
Alan Niku is a filmmaker, writer, and scholar of Mizrahi culture from San Luis Obispo, California, based in Los Angeles. A native speaker of Persian, he spends his time learning related Jewish languages, deciphering Judeo-Persian manuscripts, and interviewing community members about their stories. He is also a musician and an amateur chef, teaches history and Jewish heritage at various levels, and seeks to educate the world about the underrepresented cultures of the Middle East through his writing and films.