Jewish Journal

Iranian Jewish Spiritual Icon Dies

by Karmel Melamed

Posted on Jun. 30, 2005 at 8:00 pm

Hacham Yedidia Shofet, a spiritual icon for Persian Jews both in Iran and the United States died last week at 96 in Los Angeles.

In Iran, Shofet served both as a religious leader and as the liaison representing Iran's Jewish community before the Shah's government. Shofet joined the thousands of Jews who left Iran following the 1979 Iranian revolution, but he continued to intercede for Jews in Iran by maintaining contact with various government and religious officials both within and outside of Iran.

"The death of this great man closes a chapter in the history of Iranian Jews," said Rabbi David Zargari of Torat Hayim.

Shofet was born in the central Iranian city of Kashan into a family with 12 generations of rabbis. Following his arrival in Tehran after World War II, he gradually gained prominence among Iran's Jews and non-Jews for his eloquent speeches and ability to easily connect with all who approached for help.

Shofet is survived by his wife; six children; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


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