Jerusalem (Sep. 9)
A delegate of a Jewish Emigration Committee has proposed to the Persian Government that it should allow 20,000 Jewish immigrants from Poland, Roumania and Czecho-Slovakia to enter the country, says a report carried here by the Eastern Press Bureau. The Persian Government, it adds, is considering the proposal.
Rabbi Kornfeld, who was United States Minister to Persia for several years, and knows the conditions there, told the J.T.A. when he returned to America at the expiration of his term of office, that with regard to the economic conditions, the Jews of Persia are neither better nor worse off than the non-Jews. There are 80,000 Jews in Persia, he said, the majority earning their livelihood by peddling merchandise of all sorts from house to house, or working as artisans at trades such as carpet-weaving, woodwork, etc. But the country, he went on, suffers from lack of industrial development, so that the Jews, as well as the non-Jews are necessarily confined to a limited number of occupations. The Persian Jews are very religious, he continued, conservatively so. They speak Persian, but also have a knowledge of Hebrew. Their prayer books are written in a sort of jargon, which is a mixture of Hebrew and Persian. Conversion to Mohammedanism, which was greatly in vogue in past years, has of late been decreasing steadily, and occurs to-day very rarely. Rabbi Kornfeld attributed this to the influence of the Alliance Israelite Universelle, to which he paid a high tribute for its work among the Persian Jews. It is a veritable oasis of culture and enlightenment, he said. I have rarely seen a group of men so cultured and idealistically devoted to the cause of education among the Jews of the Orient. From personal observation I saw the school in Teheran, and can attest that they are performing a wonderful service. The Persian Jews are fully appreciative of this and look to the Alliance with love and respect.
The Persian Jews have a Zionist Organisation and are enthusiastic believers in Zionism, Rabbi Kornfeld added, but there is a sad lack of leadership and organisation among them.