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Between Equal Citizenship and the Promise of Redemption

A lecture by Lior Sternfeld (Ben Gurion University)

Early in the twentieth century, Iranian-Jewish communities experienced two different pressures from two different developments, each pulling them in another direction. First came the Constitutional Revolution in Iran (1906-911), which promised equal citizenship, and then the Balfour Declaration (1917) and the emergence of Zionism, which stirred thoughts of redemption in the holy land. Iranian Jews considered both movements as fundamental shifts in their relationship to their country, and they sought to evaluate how the subsequent changes might transform their everyday lives and their overall sense of belonging. This talk analyzes discussions within the Jewish communities regarding these two developments, focusing specifically on the ways in which the communities understood the impact of these moments on Iranian-Jewish life.



Lior Sternfeld is an Assistant Professor of History and Jewish Studies at Ben Gurion University. His first book Between Iran and Zion: Jewish Histories of Twentieth-Century Iran will be published in 2018 by Stanford University Press.