Teheran’s Chief Rabbi Says Iran’s Jews Have Nothing to Fear

An overflow crowd attending a Purim program at a Manhattan synagogue last night, heard a declaration from Teheran’s Chief Rabbi David Shofet that Iran’s 60,000 to 80,000 Jews had nothing to fear from the new regime.

Shofet, in a telephone conversation with Dr. William Berkowitz, Rabbi of Congregation Bnai Jeshurun, recorded just prior to the program, said that as Jews were celebrating the safety of the Jewish community achieved by Mordechai and Esther in ancient Persia, the Jewish community in present day Persia “is safe and secure.” He said no Jews were killed in the Iranian revolution.

The rabbi, who is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, added that last Shabat a Jewish delegation visited Iranian Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan who told them that their “rights are the same, if not more” than under the Shah’s rule.

Berkowitz, in a message to the Iranian Jews, assured them that they are not. “forgotten” or “forsaken” by Jews elsewhere. Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, the Hosidic folk singer and composer, who entertained at the Purim concert, sang several songs directly aimed at the Iranian Jews. The audience, under Carlebach’s leadership, sounded a loud and enthusiastic “Good Purim” to the Iranian Jews.

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