Nearly 300 young Iranian Jews packed UCLA’s Fowler Museum auditorium on March 7 for a discussion featuring five prominent young Iranian-Jewish professionals openly discussing topics considered to be taboo within their community. The gathering was historic not only because young Iranian-Jews do not typically discuss their problems regarding career choices and personal relationships in a public forum — but also because this event marked the first time an openly gay member of the community has discussed issues of homosexuality facing Iranian-Jews in Los Angeles.
On any given weekday, Elat Market, the Pico-Robertson supermarket, is already a hub of hustle and bustle for the Persian community. So one can imagine the human traffic on the Friday morning before Yom Kippur - getting ready before Shabbat and yontiff. Standing outside the market on this busy morning, it becomes apparent that Elat is somewhat of a de facto community center, a nexus where friends - young and old - run into one another and splinter off into small congregations of conversation.