July 20, 2023

Dear Community, 

I will soon complete one year as the President of this organization. I will be providing my annual report to the Executive Committee on July 26, the anniversary of my election. The full report will be published in the next Newsletter. 

I have had the benefit of incredible amount of advice and support from the staff and the Executive Committee. I have had the benefit of the institutional knowledge and wisdom of our past presidents Dr. Shokrollah Baravarian, Manouchehr Nazarian, Shahla Javdan (who is featured in this Newsletter), and Susan Azizzadeh. 

We are coming out of the Covid lull strong and vigorous. We hope that you find our programming interesting. 

We are most grateful to the Consul General of Israel, Dr. Hillel Newman for participating in a joint programming of IAJF and PACAN on the series called “Jews and Iran“. We are privileged to have Dr. Newman who is an expert in the Second Temple period to speak with us. The Second Temple period covers the Persian, Greek, and the Roman periods. The happiest period for the Jews was the Persian period as we all know. (See flyer below). 

Please be sure to register for it so we know how many to expect. In the future, we will make the process of registration easier, but for now you have to email iajflaoffice@gmail.com or click on https://mailchi.mp/5af34a0bf9d9/2021-5781-ki-tavo-8112121 and identify name, email and phone number of those attending. 

We look forward to welcoming you on July 31st.

Shabbat Shalom, 

M. Elie Alyeshmerni
To 120: Growing Old, Staying Young
دواریم- به سوی صد و بیست سالگی: پیرشدن اما جوان ماندن
The Israelites who have reached the Promised Land are not the same as those who left Egypt. The generation who knew slavery, who witnessed the Golden Calf and Moses' descent with the Ten Commandments have all passed away. Moses wants to prepare the new generation of Israelites for their future by informing them of their past. The philosopher George Santayana said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Moses knew he must educate them with history so they may absorb the lessons and experiences of their ancestors and, therefore avoid the mistakes that have already been made. Moses gives the children of Israel ownership of their history and reminds them that history is not something that simply happens to us. It is an account of our actions and choices.      

Young Shahla Javdan from her teen years had developed a passion for community service which she inherited from her parents - keeping the legacy of her family alive. She also had a deep love for literature, poetry, and writing. The poetry she penned in her teen years were recited at Tehran University’s cultural events.

While at college, Shahla was selected to participate in the city wide “4th of Aban’s Parade “, and to speak with His Majesty Mohamad Reza Shah Pahlavi representing Tehran University’s Institute of Food Chemistry and Nutrition (Institute Taghzieh).

Shahla married Dr. Parviz Javdan, and against the expectations of the time in Iran, continued her education, even while pregnant with David and after moving to the United States in 1968 and giving birth to her other two children Ray, and Mona.

In the United States, Shahla has a long history in volunteering and philanthropic services. For this reason, she has been honored and has received numerous distinguished service awards from various Iranian and national American organizations, including certificates from the Heart Association, Cancer Society, Red Cross, Hadassah, State of Israel Prime Minister’s Club, Eleanor Roosevelt Humanities Award, Jewish National Fund, IAJF and many more. Additionally, she was the recipient of several State and Congressional citations.

In 1992, Shahla served as the youngest and first ever Iranian to serve as the President of “The Alliance with the Medical Society of the State of New York”, affiliated with American Medical Association’s Alliance which at the time had about 40,000 members nationally. During her term, she presented two resolutions to the house of delegates of  the American Medical Association, in support of victims of domestic violence which they both unanimously passed.

Shahla is the first and only known Iranian Jewish woman in the USA , who was appointed by the State’s Governor Pataki to serve as one of the three judges on the panel of a Medical Board, giving them authority to decide on the faith of physicians and their licensing, where she served honorably for ten years until she moved to California. In Los Angeles, she started with serving Golda Magbit, Iranian Jewish Women’s Organization and as the Chairwoman of the Women’s Division of IAJF.

In 2010, Shahla was elected as the President of the Iranian American Jewish Federation. As the President, Shahla chose the theme of “Unity in Our Community” and began her term with a series of gatherings of the boards of all affiliated organizations which indeed created the much-welcomed unity in the community. Additionally, Shahla set up the precedent for Presidents to become a member of the Emergency Fund.

Amongst the other most memorable events held during her years of service as President, were the Welcoming Celebration of Cyrus the Great’s Cylinder, Group Mission Trip to Israel, Honoring Mr. Pazooki’s Concert, holding the Peace and Unity Concert between people of Iran and people of Israel by presenting Israeli/Iranian super star Rita singing both Farsi and Hebrew songs which drew in a slew of audience from different backgrounds, initiation of PAWC Group, initiating IAJF’s “JewPers” young group, the first Interfaith gathering of representatives of all faiths and nationalities, becoming a member of Department of Homeland Security (DHS)  Community watch, holding the first Holocaust Memorial ceremony in response to Holocaust deniers, and many more.
Today, Shahla, is honored to serve her second term as the President of the Iranian Jewish Women’s Organization and is proud to have continued serving IAJF in various positions including at the Emergency Fund.

The great honor of being the first woman ever elected as the President of Iranian American Jewish Federation, a position held by such valiant people as Mr. Elghanian in Iran, as humbling as it is, it has secured a special place for Shahla in the book of history of the Iranian Jewish Community.

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