Pedram Tabibi, 29


A voice for Jewish-Iranians in the U.S.

A decade ago, as an undergraduate at New York University, Pedram Tabibi attended a meeting of the school’s Persian Cultural Society.

An Iranian Jew born in Tehran and brought to American at age 4, he had an idea: start an organization for Iranian Jews on campus. The Iranian Jewish Club, which began with two dozen students at a social night, has grown to a group that has welcomed “hundreds” of participants to its series of religious, educational and cultural events.

After completing Cardozo Law School, where he concentrated in intellectual property law, he became a founding member of “30 Years After,” an organization of which he’s now president. The group encourages young Iranian Jews to get involved in civic and pro-Israel causes. Its name reflects its formation three decades after the Iranian Revolution.

One of the organization’s activities, the “My Legacy” project, tapes the oral histories of Iranian-born Jews in Great Neck, where a large number of Iranian Jews live.

Tabibi said all his activities share one theme: to strengthen the Iranian-Jewish community in the States, and to give Iranian Jews pride.

Unlike many Iranian Jews his age, he said, he did not take on an American-sounding name. No Peter, for instance. “It never entered my mind,” Tabibi said. “Pedram” is assertively Iranian. “It makes me distinctive.”

High aspirations: As a child, Tabibi’s goal was to be U.S. president, because of “the ideal of service to everyone who is less fortunate.” He realized eventually that the nation’s highest office was unattainable for someone foreign-born. But … he did get to serve as president for a day, sort of — president of his high school class for two years, he portrayed George Washington on a crossing-the-Delaware float one year. Uniform, wig, boots. “I was president” — actually, general — “for a day.”