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"Light and Shadows" - in New York


Kamāncheh, Iran, 20th century. The Menashe Sasson collection, Tel Aviv. Photo: Elad Haggai Friedman LIGHT AND SHADOWS: THE STORY OF IRANIAN JEWS BEIT HATFUTSOT SEMINAL EXHIBITION IS COMING TO NEW YORK

Beit Hatfutsot’s groundbreaking exhibition Light and Shadows: The Story of Iranian Jews was presented at Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv from December 2010-August 2011. More than 45,000 people visited the exhibit while in Israel.
Beit Hatfutsot is committed to bringing the exhibit to major venues in the United States. The exhibit will be presented to the public at the Center of Jewish History-Yeshiva University Museum from the fall of 2013 through the winter of 2014 for a period of six month. 
It will come to New York after a six-month run at the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles from October 2012-March 2013 where close to 20,000 people visited it. In Los Angeles it provided a platform for extended, diverse and rich programming on variety of subjects including issues faced by young Persian Jews as they navigate between their Persian, American, and Jewish identities. The concluding program at the Fowler was Persian-American Women's Conference providing a platform to showcase the accomplishment of Iranian-American women, as well as to empower, educate, and encourage leadership among Iranian women of all ages. Two remarkable panel discussions focused on the achievement of Iranian women as entrepreneurs and overcoming obstacles. The conference chair was Morgan Hakimi, Ph.D., M.B.A. Featured speakers and moderators included: Parisa Khosravi, Senior Vice President, CNN International News Gathering; Angella Nazarian, author and speaker; Mariam Khosravani, Founder, Iranian American Women Foundation; Shahla Javadan, President, Iranian American Jewish Federation and Elizabeth Mossanen, Co-Founder, Looking Beyond.
The exhibit exposes the rich and unique history and culture of this millennia-old community while prompting an exploration of one’s own Jewish identity, connectivity and peoplehood. Indeed it is one of the most successful exhibitions in Beit Hatfutsot’s history.
Over one hundred artifacts, some over 2,500 years old displayed publicly for the first time, impressive illuminated manuscripts, beautiful Judaica and amulets, paintings, photographs, videos, and documentary ephemera presented, will highlight the key features of the vibrant history of Jews in Iran as well as Iranian American Jewish life in greater New York.  The story of Iranian Jews is universal, transformative and transcends all boundaries as it highlights the values and creativity of the Jewish people and the potential and capacity of all Diasporas to thrive.  It is a story of people living and thriving among other people.  
The exhibit will be augmented with lectures and performances that will shed light on the Iranian Jewish community, its complexities and diversity. Distinguished scholars will examine topics including religions and cultures in ancient Persia, religious minorities under Shiite Islamic rule, and contemporary issues of identity and culture, including women in Iran and the Jewish-Persian Diaspora and the relationship with Iran.
The exhibit will come to New York shortly after the Cyrus Cylinder will be presented at the Metropolitan Museum. This historic artifact, which helped frame Jewish life in ancient Persia by declaring freedom of religion as a basic right and gave legitimacy to return of Jews to the Land of Israel, will add to momentum to Light and Shadows as it highlight the historic event that enabled the first Jewish to live in freedom, and demonstrate its connectivity to the Jewish people and to practice its precepts.   To quote Dr. Irving Finkel, Assistant Keeper at the British Museum, "The exhibit highlights the moral underpinning of the Jewish people."