Our Legacy Project
Written by Eman Esmailzadeh and Sam Yebri.
This past December, 30 Years After launched “Our Legacy Project,” an unprecedented community-wide endeavor to commemorate and preserve Iranian Jewish history by connecting the future of the Jewish people with the legacy of their past.
Each of our families has compelling stories about the Jewish experience in Iran. We have heard them at our Shabbat tables. Some saw loved ones arrested and imprisoned as political prisoners. Others fled across borders like nomads on the backs of donkeys or camels. More escaped the Islamic Republic as political refugees in search of safety and opportunity. Yet, these stories of sacrifice and courage that sustained our community have never been fully told in a public fashion.
30 Years After strives to document these stories and memories before they disappear from our community’s collective memory. Our Legacy Project is a unique venture to tell an entire Jewish community’s history through videotaped stories and interviews conducted, collected and organized by the community’s youth and young leaders.
In just two months, the project has collected over 100 videos in categories ranging from the Exodus from Iran, Life During the Revolution, Relations with Non-Jews and Traditional Jewish Life in Iran.
The stories have been captured in both English and Farsi in order to cross generational boundaries. Videos are available for all to view at www.OurLegacyProject.org. This YouTube-like website enables the community to easily upload brief (five minutes or less) videotaped stories directly on the website. Our first videotaping day at Nessah Synagogue in December 2009, at which dozens of individuals shared their stories, will be repeated at synagogues and senior centers throughout Los Angeles. In the upcoming year, we also plan to expand the project to other major Iranian Jewish population centers, including New York and Israel. This will help the Project develop a comprehensive picture of Jewish Life in Iran.
One end goal of Our Legacy Project is to share our community’s most vivid and interesting stories as part of a video documentary that can be seen in homes across the globe. In the process, we hope all Iranian Jews – young and old – will develop a better understanding of the Jewish experience in Iran and an appreciation for how our Jewish values and identity sustained our community.
If you are interested in helping 30 Years After with this new and exciting endeavor, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please visit www.OurLegacyProject.org for more information.