The Center for Iranian Jewish Oral History
The Center for Iranian Jewish Oral History (CIJOH) was established on August 9, 1995 in Los Angeles. CIJOH is a California non-profit organization and was created to gather information and interview people knowledgeable in the fields of Iranian Jewish history, culture, science, literature, social life, politics, art, and economics. The objective was to reconcile the current absence of documented Jewish Iranian oral history in the existing body of oral history projects around the world.
During its decade of work, CIJOH has conducted 125 interviews with Iranian Jews who have played a significant role in the history, literature, and culture of Iran since that country's Constitutional Revolution in 1906. Recorded on archival tape, these interviews are now available to researchers working on the history of Jews in twentieth-century Iran.
CIJOH has also gathered over 1,500 photographs and 500 culturally, socially, and historically significant documents pertaining to 19th and 20th century Iranian Jewry, close to 500 of which were reproduced in our latest publication, Esther's Children: A Portrait of Iranian Jews.
CIJOH has produced over 20 video documentaries about the history and lives of Iranian Jews. A complete collection of these videos is now part of the permanent audio visual collection of the Library of Congress.
To date, CIJOH has organized four three-day long academic conferences, all of which were attended by Jewish-Iranian studies scholars and researchers from around the world. The proceeds from these conferences have been published in consecutive volumes of The History of Contemporary Iranian Jews, copies of which were distributed to a selection of public and university libraries throughout the United States, Europe, and the Middle East.
The Shoa Foundation, the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies-Tel Aviv University, the Department of Jewish Studies-UCLA, Diaspora Research Institute-Tel Aviv University, the Skirball Cultural Center, Sinai Temple, the New York Jewish Museum, University of Judaism, Museum of Tolerance, Albert & Victoria Museum of London, and Hebrew College Museum, are among some of the organizations which have collaborated with us in the past on these and other projects.
At this point and after meeting all our goals, CIJOH's archive of video documentaries, taped interviews, documents, pictures, and lore will be open to researchers and the public, starting year 2007, in three different Centers in two different countries: a Center located in Los Angeles at UCLA-Jewish & Middle Eastern Library, in Washington, at The Library of Congress, and at the Tel Aviv University-Center for Iranian Studies.
This project was founded by Homa Sarshar. The Center's Board of Directors includes: Debbie Adhami, Farah Nourmand, Roxana Rastegar, Homa Sarshar, and Houman Sarshar.