Isfahan Jews and Synagogues

Written by Super User. Posted in Isfahan History



Jews have settled in Isfahan since ancient time. Isfahan’s Pre-Islamic populations were Jews and Zoroastrians. When Isfahan was invaded by moslem forces in 636 A.D. three kinds solution was proposed to Isfahan population.

1- Convert to Isfahan
2- Keeping their own religion and paying yearly Kharaj (a kind of Tax).
3- Leave the city.
Historians mention a small group of Zoroastrian left to Yazd and central area of Iran. The majority of Zoroastrians, and Jews converted to Islam and limited number preserved their former religions.
Jews are wealthy minority. Similar to Armenians and Zoroastrians, they enjoy their freedom of religion and ceremonies. They have elected their representative to the parliament regularly and take advantage of social privileges. Most of them are working in trade and business.

They have their own synagogues in Isfahan. One of the oldest sections of Isfahan is called Jubarreh, which means “the Jews city”. Most of their synagogues were built in Jubarreh and few of synagogues were constructed in modern parts of Isfahan.

Dr. Honarfar a well-known Isfahanologist mentions that Jews had 20 synagogues in 1970. Most of their synagogues are simply decorated. Every Saturday they hold their weekly religious ceremony at different synagogues.
Molla Neissan Synagogue.

A Persian Jew prays in a synagogue

List of synagogues in Isfahan:
Kenisa-ye Bozorg (Mirakhor's kenisa)
Kenisa-ye Keter David
Kenisa-ye Sang-bast
Mullah Jacob Synagogue
Mullah Neissan Synagogue

A remarkable numbers of Jews were converted to Islam during Qajar time. Although they are moslem, but there is a close relation between them and their former community. Above all followers of all religions have lived in peace and prosperity; all have taken part in Isfahan’s development.

Some of the most famous synagogues are called as below:
- Molla Yaqub
- Molla Neissan
- Molla Rabi
- Great Synagogue
- Small Synagogue
- Golbahar
- Ettehad
- Dr. Davood

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