The upper class Jews of Persia are rapidly embracing the Bahai religion, and the Jewish communities are disintegrating, according to Dr. W. Fishel, lecturer in the Oriental Institute of the Hebrew University, who has just returned from a trip to Persia, Iraq and Kurdistan.
Dr. Fishel stated to a representative of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that English and American Christian missions are making the most of the disintegration of Jewish communities, establishing missions and schools among the poorer classes as the community leaders turn to Bahaism. “The Persian Jews are not only being converted but are being used as instruments for converting Jews of neighboring countries,” says Dr. Fishel.
He spoke of a “Marrano” community of five thousand families in Meshed, who secretly continued to practice their Judaism, and supported Jewish schools. In many cities, he said, Jews had openly applied to missions to establish schools for their children, as they found the establishments of the Alliance Israelite and of the Anglo-Jewish Association inadequate.
One-third of the Jewish children of Teheran were attending the mission schools, said Dr. Fishel, and the Church of England has decided to open a new school within the ghetto. The same conditions are prevalent in Amadan and Isphahan, he asserted, half the Jews of Amadan having adopted an oriental faith.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.