In his introduction to Esther's Children," (Jewish Publication Society, $110) editor Houman Sarshar speaks of a time when, at 6 years old and about to start elementary school, he discovered his legacy as an Iranian Jew. Over breakfast in their apartment in Tehran, Houman's father, a top planning commissioner in the Shah's Iran, notices the Star of David pendant -- a recent gift from a grandmother -- hanging from his son's neck. He reaches over and slips the necklace under Houman's shirt.
"If anyone in school asks about your religion," he instructs his son, "lie. Tell them you're Muslim."