Jewish and Persian Connections Mission

In response to statements emanating from the Middle East regarding nuclear threat to both the Jewish and Persian peoples, we seek to project an alternative voice on Jewish- Persian relations that disseminates knowledge about the historical and cultural ties between these two peoples, fosters friendship and openings for creative exchange, and contributes to the identity of adults and children of mixed Jewish and Persian ancestry.

Seeking Your Personal Stories and Intellectual Contributions!

Please submit your personal writings on the following topics:
a) Relationships between Persians and Jews
b) Raising a Persian Jewish child
C) Historical and/or current affairs between Persians and Jews/ Iran and Israel
D) Current Debate: Is the current conflict between Iran and Israel inherently tied into the Israeli- Palestinian conflict?

All submissions welcome including poetry, links and other recommendations. Please email any submissions to Authors are responsible for providing respectful, factually accurate, and fully citated submissions as a pre-requisite for inclusion. Articles should be a minimum of 2 paragraphs in length up to a maximum of 10 pages. Please use proper citation when referencing another writer or speaker. Assume no specific religious knowledge and explain all references to any religions. Translate all non-English words used, including Farsi, Hebrew, Arabic, Ladino or Yiddish. Writers wishing to anonymously post may use their first name only. Please send all submissions to All information outside of your submission will remain strictly confidential including your email and contact information. Thank you for your contributions!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Three Iranians seeking conversion to Judaism denied Israel visas

Yoav Stern. Haaretz. 12/28/2006. (

Three Iranians interested in converting to Judaism recently left their native country, but have been unable to find any entity to assist them.

The three Shi'ite Muslims left Iran and approached the Israeli embassy and Jewish communities in Azerbaijan, but were rejected. It is impossible to convert to Judaism in Iran, as they would be considered heretics, a crime punishable by death. They are now waiting in a makeshift city in Turkey for a United Nations hearing on their application for refugee status.

The three left Iran two months ago and immediately approached the Israeli embassy in Baku. According to N., they were given a chilly reception. N. points out that embassy officials did not invite them into the building, but talked to them on the street.

"We told them we want visas to Israel in order to convert," N. recounts. "They told us that if we are not Jewish, our parents aren't Jewish and we have no family members in Israel, we cannot get visas."

The three also did not receive warm welcomes in Baku synagogues. At one place of worship, they were laughed at, at another - locked out. They were told there is no rabbinical court that can handle conversion in Baku.

N. says he became interested in other religions while still a practicing Shi'ite, and learned that Judaism was the basis of the other religions. N. wrote to the United Nations: "Since I stopped obeying the Muslim commandments, my soul has sought a way home. In order to be a complete Jew, it is necessary to undergo official processes."

Iran does not officially allow its citizens to travel to Israel, although many of the 25,000-strong Jewish community have done so through Turkey.

The three potential converts are now waiting for a February hearing date, and dependent on financial help from their families. "The Iranian authorities are aware of our plans. They can't hurt us so they are trying to harm our families." They hope to get assistance from some Israeli or Jewish institutions.

Contact with the three is mostly through e-mail and the occasional phone call from N., who always verifies at the beginning of each call that recent e-mails really originated in Israel and not with Iranian security forces.

The Foreign Ministry stated that the three approached the Baku embassy on a weekend when offices were closed, and have not returned. They would have been helped during regular office hours. The ministry also noted that Israeli law prohibits entry to Israel for the purposes of conversion, although there is an appeals committee to examine specific cases