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Rabbi Kornfeld, U.S. Minister to Persia, a “second Mordeccai”

April 30, 1923
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Recognition of the “beneficient influence” of Rabbi Joseph S. Kornfeld of Columbus, Ohio, American Minister to Persia, in intervening on behalf of the Persian Jews who were threatened and attacked last year, was expressed in a resolution adopted by the first Congress of Persian Zionists held here March 2.

Minister Kornfeld was presented with a silver plate inscribed with the Ten Commandments, surmounted by a gold crown bearing the legend in Hebrew characters, “Crown of a Good Name”.

President Cohensedegh pictured the precarious condition in which the Jews of Persia found themselves during the anti-Jewish riots in Teheran the past year, emphasising that it was largely through Dr. Kornfeld’s efforts that the riots did no spread throughout the rest of Persia.

Describing Dr. Kornfeld as an “actual savior” and a “second Mordeccai”, the President drew a vivid picture of the sad events which were ended by the prompt intervention of Minister Kornfeld. The following is part of his report:

“During the first quarter of 1922, an anti, Semitic (or rather anti-minority) feeling began to increase in Persia, and Jews of different provinces were persecuted and subjected to indignities such as being made to wear special kind of hate”, President Cohensedegh said. “A committee was organized called ‘NEDAYE ISLAM’, composed of Mohamedan Mullahs and anti-Jews, who instigated the non-educated Persians to persecute the Jews.

“One unhappy Wednesday -27 Illul 5682 – a big body of Mohamedans rushed to the Jewish quarter, with swords and arms. wounded a number of Jews and broke into many houses, showing no pity even to women and children. This was not confined to the Jewish quarter, but spread throughout the whole city. Whenever a Jew was seen, he was mercilessly beaten.

“The next day the affair took on the most serious aspect, and an actual pogrom took place. Armed Mohamedans barred all roads leading out of the Jewish quarter, and awaited the order of their leading Mullah to slaughter the Jews, who were denounced as worse than dogs, and plunder their property.

“Dr. Kornfeld decided to stop it, and finding no carriage to ride down to the city, walked down 6 miles and, thanks to Good he had influence enough on the Government that he did stop it instantly.

“Armed troops were stationed all around and th### the Jewish quarter and were explicitly ordered to protect the Jews who had their shops closed for a week and would not leave their homes except for urgent necessary supplies.

“Blessed the country that brought up such a benevolent gentleman and the Government that has so merciful a representative”, concluded the aged President.

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