Today will mark the final day for Iranian Jewish City Council member of Beverly Hills, Jimmy Delshad in his post as mayor of the city. In March 2007 he made history by narrowly winning re-election to the City Council and became the first Iranian American Jew to serve as mayor of a city in America. The post of mayor rotates among the Council members every year according to their seniority on the council.
There have been many articles written about Delshad in Jewish and secular publications, but they have failed to identify the true historical significance of his role in local government. His position on the Council is important to Iranian Jewry because for centuries Jews in Iran were prohibited from participating politics or elections. Here you have a representative of that same community (which a few generations ago lived in ghettos) now taking part in the incredible democracy of America! No doubt Delshad made splash during his time as mayor by introducing some unique measures dealing with 21st century technology being incorporated in city services as well as an Iran divestment measure. He has in many ways inspired the younger generation of Iranian Jews in Southern California serve in the public sector.
On March 10th he met with his Iranian Jewish supporters at Beverly Hills City Hall to thank them for their backing during his term as mayor and to recite a prayer of thanksgiving. Below are some photos of that gathering. Afterwards I had a chance to chat with Delshad about his activities and efforts as mayor during the last year.
Our blog’s exclusive podcast interview with former Mayor Delshad can be heard here.