Persian Jews Celebrate Passover With Traditional Foods From Iran

YOU might say that Maryam Maddahi and her relatives hold a dry run for the Passover Seder every Friday night, when they have a rotating Sabbath dinner for four dozen to five dozen family members.

It’s a common practice for the family, as it is for their fellow Iranian Jews in Southern California, who began settling there after the fall of the Shah in 1979. The population has grown to about 40,000.

Iran has one of the oldest known Jewish communities, going back over 2,500 years to when Jews fled the land of Israel after the destruction of the First Temple. “We take pride in the country of Persia,” said Mrs. Maddahi, who will host the first Seder on Monday night. “It was an old monarchy, with thousands of years of history.”

On a recent night here at Ms. Maddahi’s home, some 60 family members were listening and dancing to Persian music performed by a violinist to celebrate the birthdays of Mrs. Maddahi and another relative, Younes Nazarian. The guests, talking mostly in Farsi, nibbled on pistachios, plump dates, nuts and raisins, signs of welcome in Iran.


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