Mayor Jimmy Delshad was surrounded by nearly two dozen local Iranian Jews at his Beverly Hills City Hall office on March 10. Holdings hands, they recited a prayer of thanksgiving and he personally thanked his supporters in the community for backing his efforts as mayor.
Nearly three decades after arriving in Southern California and adjusting to a new way of life, some successful Iranian Jews are venturing into the political arena. That half of candidates on the ballot for the Beverly Hills City Council races are from the Iranian Jewish community speaks to a shift among immigrants who were historically denied political participation in their native country.
In 1973, when then-33-year-old Jimmy Delshad was sitting in Sinai Temple, he asked his father-in-law, "Who's that man sitting next to the rabbi on the bimah?"