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Cuba's Last Jews 17
Havana, Cuba
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
28 Aug 2015

August 29th, 2015, La Habana, Cuba. Before the 1959 revolution in Cuba, there was about 15 thousand Jews living within the country's borders. Today, a mere 1500 are left. Most Jews in Cuba were business people thriving due to the adequate business environment within the country. With the arrival of Fidel Castro and his Communist ideas, many of these Jews lost their bunsiness and moved to the US, mostly in Miami. Though never persecuted, but rather well treated by the regime, most prefered to leave to prosper economically somehwere else. There are three main Jewish/Synagogues within Habana which are quite active in keeping the renmants of the community together, with the help of money coming from Jewish organizations in the US and Isreal. (Jonathan Alpeyrie/Transterra Media)

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Cuba's Last Jews 18
Havana, Cuba
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
28 Aug 2015

August 29th, 2015, La Habana, Cuba. Before the 1959 revolution in Cuba, there was about 15 thousand Jews living within the country's borders. Today, a mere 1500 are left. Most Jews in Cuba were business people thriving due to the adequate business environment within the country. With the arrival of Fidel Castro and his Communist ideas, many of these Jews lost their bunsiness and moved to the US, mostly in Miami. Though never persecuted, but rather well treated by the regime, most prefered to leave to prosper economically somehwere else. There are three main Jewish/Synagogues within Habana which are quite active in keeping the renmants of the community together, with the help of money coming from Jewish organizations in the US and Isreal. (Jonathan Alpeyrie/Transterra Media)

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Cuba's Last Jews 19
Havana, Cuba
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
28 Aug 2015

August 29th, 2015, La Habana, Cuba. Before the 1959 revolution in Cuba, there was about 15 thousand Jews living within the country's borders. Today, a mere 1500 are left. Most Jews in Cuba were business people thriving due to the adequate business environment within the country. With the arrival of Fidel Castro and his Communist ideas, many of these Jews lost their bunsiness and moved to the US, mostly in Miami. Though never persecuted, but rather well treated by the regime, most prefered to leave to prosper economically somehwere else. There are three main Jewish/Synagogues within Habana which are quite active in keeping the renmants of the community together, with the help of money coming from Jewish organizations in the US and Isreal. (Jonathan Alpeyrie/Transterra Media)

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Cuba's Last Jews 12
Havana, Cuba
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
26 Aug 2015

September 27th, 2015, La Habana, Cuba. Before the 1959 revolution in Cuba, there was about 15 thousand Jews living within the country's borders. Today, a mere 1500 are left. Most Jews in Cuba were business people thriving due to the adequate business environment within the country. With the arrival of Fidel Castro and his Communist ideas, many of these Jews lost their bunsiness and moved to the US, mostly in Miami. Though never persecuted, but rather well treated by the regime, most prefered to leave to prosper economically somehwere else. There are three main Jewish/Synagogues within Habana which are quite active in keeping the renmants of the community together, with the help of money coming from Jewish organizations in the US and Isreal. (Jonathan Alpeyrie/Transterra Media)

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Cuba's Last Jews 13
Havana, Cuba
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
26 Aug 2015

September 27th, 2015, La Habana, Cuba. Before the 1959 revolution in Cuba, there was about 15 thousand Jews living within the country's borders. Today, a mere 1500 are left. Most Jews in Cuba were business people thriving due to the adequate business environment within the country. With the arrival of Fidel Castro and his Communist ideas, many of these Jews lost their bunsiness and moved to the US, mostly in Miami. Though never persecuted, but rather well treated by the regime, most prefered to leave to prosper economically somehwere else. There are three main Jewish/Synagogues within Habana which are quite active in keeping the renmants of the community together, with the help of money coming from Jewish organizations in the US and Isreal. (Jonathan Alpeyrie/Transterra Media)

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The Last Jews of Cuba
Havana, Cuba
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
25 Aug 2015

Before the 1959 revolution in Cuba, there was about 15,000 Jews living within the country's borders. Today, a mere 1500 are left. Most Jews in Cuba were business people thriving due to the adequate business environment within the country. With the arrival of Fidel Castro and his Communist ideas, many of these Jews lost their business and moved to the US, mostly in Miami. Though never persecuted, but rather well treated by the regime, most prefered to leave to prosper economically somehwere else. There are three main Jewish/Synagogues within Havana which are quite active in keeping the renmants of the community together, with the help of money coming from Jewish organizations in the US and Israel.

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Cuba's Last Jews 02
Havana, Cuba
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
25 Aug 2015

September 26th, 2015, La Habana, Cuba. Before the 1959 revolution in Cuba, there was about 15 thousand Jews living within the country's borders. Today, a mere 1500 are left. Most Jews in Cuba were business people thriving due to the adequate business environment within the country. With the arrival of Fidel Castro and his Communist ideas, many of these Jews lost their bunsiness and moved to the US, mostly in Miami. Though never persecuted, but rather well treated by the regime, most prefered to leave to prosper economically somehwere else. There are three main Jewish/Synagogues within Habana which are quite active in keeping the renmants of the community together, with the help of money coming from Jewish organizations in the US and Isreal. (Jonathan Alpeyrie/Transterra Media)

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Cuba's Last Jews 03
Havana, Cuba
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
25 Aug 2015

September 26th, 2015, La Habana, Cuba. Before the 1959 revolution in Cuba, there was about 15 thousand Jews living within the country's borders. Today, a mere 1500 are left. Most Jews in Cuba were business people thriving due to the adequate business environment within the country. With the arrival of Fidel Castro and his Communist ideas, many of these Jews lost their bunsiness and moved to the US, mostly in Miami. Though never persecuted, but rather well treated by the regime, most prefered to leave to prosper economically somehwere else. There are three main Jewish/Synagogues within Habana which are quite active in keeping the renmants of the community together, with the help of money coming from Jewish organizations in the US and Isreal. (Jonathan Alpeyrie/Transterra Media)

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Cuba's Last Jews 04
Havana, Cuba
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
25 Aug 2015

September 26th, 2015, La Habana, Cuba. Before the 1959 revolution in Cuba, there was about 15 thousand Jews living within the country's borders. Today, a mere 1500 are left. Most Jews in Cuba were business people thriving due to the adequate business environment within the country. With the arrival of Fidel Castro and his Communist ideas, many of these Jews lost their bunsiness and moved to the US, mostly in Miami. Though never persecuted, but rather well treated by the regime, most prefered to leave to prosper economically somehwere else. There are three main Jewish/Synagogues within Habana which are quite active in keeping the renmants of the community together, with the help of money coming from Jewish organizations in the US and Isreal. (Jonathan Alpeyrie/Transterra Media)

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Cuba's Last Jews 05
Havana, Cuba
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
25 Aug 2015

September 26th, 2015, La Habana, Cuba. Before the 1959 revolution in Cuba, there was about 15 thousand Jews living within the country's borders. Today, a mere 1500 are left. Most Jews in Cuba were business people thriving due to the adequate business environment within the country. With the arrival of Fidel Castro and his Communist ideas, many of these Jews lost their bunsiness and moved to the US, mostly in Miami. Though never persecuted, but rather well treated by the regime, most prefered to leave to prosper economically somehwere else. There are three main Jewish/Synagogues within Habana which are quite active in keeping the renmants of the community together, with the help of money coming from Jewish organizations in the US and Isreal. (Jonathan Alpeyrie/Transterra Media)

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Cuba's Last Jews 25
Havana, Cuba
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
25 Aug 2015

September 26th, 2015, La Habana, Cuba. Before the 1959 revolution in Cuba, there was about 15 thousand Jews living within the country's borders. Today, a mere 1500 are left. Most Jews in Cuba were business people thriving due to the adequate business environment within the country. With the arrival of Fidel Castro and his Communist ideas, many of these Jews lost their bunsiness and moved to the US, mostly in Miami. Though never persecuted, but rather well treated by the regime, most prefered to leave to prosper economically somehwere else. There are three main Jewish/Synagogues within Habana which are quite active in keeping the renmants of the community together, with the help of money coming from Jewish organizations in the US and Isreal. (Jonathan Alpeyrie/Transterra Media)

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Cuba's Last Jews 06
Havana, Cuba
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
25 Aug 2015

September 26th, 2015, La Habana, Cuba. Before the 1959 revolution in Cuba, there was about 15 thousand Jews living within the country's borders. Today, a mere 1500 are left. Most Jews in Cuba were business people thriving due to the adequate business environment within the country. With the arrival of Fidel Castro and his Communist ideas, many of these Jews lost their bunsiness and moved to the US, mostly in Miami. Though never persecuted, but rather well treated by the regime, most prefered to leave to prosper economically somehwere else. There are three main Jewish/Synagogues within Habana which are quite active in keeping the renmants of the community together, with the help of money coming from Jewish organizations in the US and Isreal. (Jonathan Alpeyrie/Transterra Media)

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Cuba's Last Jews 07
Havana, Cuba
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
25 Aug 2015

September 26th, 2015, La Habana, Cuba. Before the 1959 revolution in Cuba, there was about 15 thousand Jews living within the country's borders. Today, a mere 1500 are left. Most Jews in Cuba were business people thriving due to the adequate business environment within the country. With the arrival of Fidel Castro and his Communist ideas, many of these Jews lost their bunsiness and moved to the US, mostly in Miami. Though never persecuted, but rather well treated by the regime, most prefered to leave to prosper economically somehwere else. There are three main Jewish/Synagogues within Habana which are quite active in keeping the renmants of the community together, with the help of money coming from Jewish organizations in the US and Isreal. (Jonathan Alpeyrie/Transterra Media)

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Cuba's Last Jews 08
Havana, Cuba
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
25 Aug 2015

September 26th, 2015, La Habana, Cuba. Before the 1959 revolution in Cuba, there was about 15 thousand Jews living within the country's borders. Today, a mere 1500 are left. Most Jews in Cuba were business people thriving due to the adequate business environment within the country. With the arrival of Fidel Castro and his Communist ideas, many of these Jews lost their bunsiness and moved to the US, mostly in Miami. Though never persecuted, but rather well treated by the regime, most prefered to leave to prosper economically somehwere else. There are three main Jewish/Synagogues within Habana which are quite active in keeping the renmants of the community together, with the help of money coming from Jewish organizations in the US and Isreal. (Jonathan Alpeyrie/Transterra Media)

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Cuba's Last Jews 09
Havana, Cuba
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
25 Aug 2015

September 26th, 2015, La Habana, Cuba. Before the 1959 revolution in Cuba, there was about 15 thousand Jews living within the country's borders. Today, a mere 1500 are left. Most Jews in Cuba were business people thriving due to the adequate business environment within the country. With the arrival of Fidel Castro and his Communist ideas, many of these Jews lost their bunsiness and moved to the US, mostly in Miami. Though never persecuted, but rather well treated by the regime, most prefered to leave to prosper economically somehwere else. There are three main Jewish/Synagogues within Habana which are quite active in keeping the renmants of the community together, with the help of money coming from Jewish organizations in the US and Isreal. (Jonathan Alpeyrie/Transterra Media)

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Cuba's Last Jews 10
Havana, Cuba
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
25 Aug 2015

September 26th, 2015, La Habana, Cuba. Before the 1959 revolution in Cuba, there was about 15 thousand Jews living within the country's borders. Today, a mere 1500 are left. Most Jews in Cuba were business people thriving due to the adequate business environment within the country. With the arrival of Fidel Castro and his Communist ideas, many of these Jews lost their bunsiness and moved to the US, mostly in Miami. Though never persecuted, but rather well treated by the regime, most prefered to leave to prosper economically somehwere else. There are three main Jewish/Synagogues within Habana which are quite active in keeping the renmants of the community together, with the help of money coming from Jewish organizations in the US and Isreal. (Jonathan Alpeyrie/Transterra Media)

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Cuba's Last Jews 01
Havana, Cuba
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
25 Aug 2015

September 26th, 2015, La Habana, Cuba. Before the 1959 revolution in Cuba, there was about 15 thousand Jews living within the country's borders. Today, a mere 1500 are left. Most Jews in Cuba were business people thriving due to the adequate business environment within the country. With the arrival of Fidel Castro and his Communist ideas, many of these Jews lost their bunsiness and moved to the US, mostly in Miami. Though never persecuted, but rather well treated by the regime, most prefered to leave to prosper economically somehwere else. There are three main Jewish/Synagogues within Habana which are quite active in keeping the renmants of the community together, with the help of money coming from Jewish organizations in the US and Isreal. (Jonathan Alpeyrie/Transterra Media)

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Cuba's Last Jews 11
Havana, Cuba
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
25 Aug 2015

September 26th, 2015, La Habana, Cuba. Before the 1959 revolution in Cuba, there was about 15 thousand Jews living within the country's borders. Today, a mere 1500 are left. Most Jews in Cuba were business people thriving due to the adequate business environment within the country. With the arrival of Fidel Castro and his Communist ideas, many of these Jews lost their bunsiness and moved to the US, mostly in Miami. Though never persecuted, but rather well treated by the regime, most prefered to leave to prosper economically somehwere else. There are three main Jewish/Synagogues within Habana which are quite active in keeping the renmants of the community together, with the help of money coming from Jewish organizations in the US and Isreal. (Jonathan Alpeyrie/Transterra Media)

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Protecting an Ancient Damascus Synagogue
Damascus
By Abdu al-Fadel
19 Sep 2014

September 19, 2014
al-Madares Street, Jobar, Damascus

Local citizens protect and maintain an ancient Jewish synagogue in the besieged Damascus suburb of Jobar, despite the heavy damage inflicted on it by heavy clashes between the FSA and Syrian Army. Located at the end of al-Madares street, the synagogue is believed to date from 720 BCE and was a temple for the prophet Khedr and prophet Elias.

The monument was largely neglected by the Syrian government before the war and has been damaged many times with mortars and bombs during the war. However, its local caretaker, and the inhabitants of the area continue to care for the building, as they have for decades.

Shot list:
Various shots show the location of the synagogue and the damage to the building.
Various shots show the remains of the synagogue, such as historical artifacts and some ancient writings
Various shots show an underground chamber that is said to have been used by prophet Khedr to pray
Various shots show the massive destruction that happened around the synagogue

Sound Bites:
Abu Loay, a member of the local committee of Jobar, interested in the issue of the synagogue, explains the story of the synagogue from its establishment to the present day.
(00:39)

Interviewer: How long have you had this job?

Abu Loay: We have been taking care of the synagogue for the past 2-3 years. There used to be a guard here, but he left after the problems started, and then the inhabitants of the area left, so we came here, the men and myself. We are taking care of it. The citizens and the elderly of this town asked us to stay here and guard the synagogue and until now, it has not been attacked.

Interviewer: How was the synagogue looking when you started working here?

Abu Loay: It was amazing, it had fence and it was an ancient historical monument, it goes back thousands of years.
Interviewer: Were there any Jews living in the area?

Abu Loay: Here in Jobar we did not have any Jews, but back in the days of our grandparents, we used to have Jews. When I was a child, I remember there was a big percentage of Jews in the Jewish street. They used to come every Saturday from the Jewish street to visit the synagogue here. When Israel was established, many of the Jews left, that was along time ago.

Interviewer: Were there huge numbers of Jews in Damascus?

Abu Loay: Yes of course, they all used to live in the Jewish street, an area named the Jewish street, in the old city of Damascus.

Interviewer: When did they leave and where did they go?

Abu Loay: Most of them went to Israel, the government back then gave them a choice, to either stay here or leave, and a lot of them chose to leave.

Interviewer: How was the synagogue destroyed?

Abu Loay: About two years ago, from the side of Harasta, they [Syrian Army] attacked us with the multiple rocket launcher. Over 15 shells were dropped at the same time. I took footage of the incident and then I tried [to expose the attack], I went to many media outlets, trying to call the Jews to come and protect the synagogue, but nobody responded. They [Syrian Army] hit the ceiling in two spots and the kitchen burnt down.

Interviewer: Why did you keep protecting the synagogue if the Jews themselves did not respond and did not come to protect it?

Abu Loay: First of all, the synagogue is located in my town, I am from Jobar. Secondly, it is a legacy, not only for the Jews, but also for us. It is a legacy for the citizens of Jobar. It is thousands of years old and it is as valuable as any church or mosque.

Interviewer: Being here in the synagogue, do you feel any attachment to this place?

Abu Loay: I swear I feel like it is my own home. I was sleeping right here, with my wife and children, and if I have to go somewhere I lock the place up. I was residing here for about six months.

Interviewer: How did you feel when the synagogue was attacked and destroyed?

Abu Loay: I felt like I lost a piece of my heart. Only someone who lives here will understand the true value of this synagogue.

Interviewer: Do you think there is a way to repair the synagogue?

Abu Loay: In this condition, all of this wreckage must be removed, they destroyed it. Go back to the old pictures of the synagogue and compare, it used to be heaven.

Interviewer: Do you speak Hebrew?

Abu Loay: No I only speak the language of Jobar.

Interviewer: Do you mind escorting us on a tour around the synagogue?

Abu Loay: Of course, I do not mind, let’s take the tour.
(04:28)

(04:33) Here there used to be the main door, and there, it used to be a kitchen. There is the room I used to sleep in.
This room was an office and I used to sleep in it. The women used to sleep upstairs, and this was a storage room. The main temple is in the back. This is the only tree that is still living.

(05:44) This is a new building, and there were rooms and the rooftop.
That used to be the entrance of the synagogue, and there use to be two rooms up there. And there was a water well.
Can you see this slot in the wall, they used to store the oil cans in their. Near the pile of rocks there used to be the alter. Those two chambers are completely destroyed.

(07:17) Look at the pigeon nest in the gap in the wall. That was here before the shelling.
This is an old school, and there used to be a wall here, the old school is for UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency].
There used to be a room, then a small hall and then another room, all ancient.
This carpet is from the remains of the temple, they used to love those colors, our brothers the Jews. This is another one, everything valuable we were able to find after the destruction, we removed it.

(08:39) Here used to be a huge bronze round plate, and here is the step of the prophet. Here they used to keep the oil, here they used to have books, and there was the seating area. The building was ancient and the temple had a very high ceiling.

(09:30) Here, where I am walking, used to be the few steps leading to the alter. Where I am standing now is the location of the alter. It was about half a circle and made out of wood and the chandeliers above it, it used to be amazing.

(10:20) Those gaps in the walls used to have frames, and here used to be a painting, and next to it a bronze box labeled "Charity".
And here, as we said before, they used to keep the oil.

(11:28) Here is the prayer chamber, our grandfathers used to say that the prophet Khedr used to come to pray here. This hole in the ceiling was an air vent for this chamber, but the shelling has destroyed most of the room.

(12:21) Look what the destruction did to it. The last time they dropped vacuum bombs on this area, the buildings around the synagogue were also destroyed.

(12:41) There used to be four candlesticks and a chair, an antique chair, they are not destroyed, we preserved them.

(13:05) This is the wreckage of the synagogue. They [Syrian Military] attacked us with many types of weapons, including jets. The last airstrike, they dropped vacuum bombs on us and destroyed all of the buildings.

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Iranian Jews Celebrate Bar-Mitzvah in...
Tehran
By Alireza Firouzi
17 Jul 2014

Tehran, Iran

An Iranian-Jewish family celebrates the Bar Mitzvah for their oldest son in Tehran's largest synagogue. Iran has the largest Jewish population in the Middle East outside of Israel. Today, nearly ten thousand Jews live in Iran. Iran's Jewish community is officially recognized as a religious minority by the government and have their own seat in the Iranian parliament. Their cultural institutions remain strong in the country with a network of schools, hospitals, libraries, and seminaries.

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Iranian Jews
Tehran
By Alireza Firouzi
08 Nov 2012

Arvin , a 13 year old Iranian Jewish boy learning to read the Torah for his Bar Mitzvah at a Synagogue in Yussef Abad, in the North Of Tehran.

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Iranian Jews
Tehran
By Alireza Firouzi
08 Nov 2012

Arvin, a 13 years old Iranian Jewish boy celebrating his Bar Mitzvah at the biggest Synagogue in Yussef Abad in the North of Teheran.
Out of the 80 000 Jews present in Iran under the Shah, there are barely 10,000 today. This religious minority has its Member of Parliament, schools ... but must live in discretion.

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Iranian Jews
Tehran
By Alireza Firouzi
08 Nov 2012

Arvin , learning to read the Torah for his Bar Mitzvah. His standing on carved altar carved in wood and gold in the biggest Synagogue of Yussef Abad, in the North of Teheran.

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Iranian Jews
Tehran
By Alireza Firouzi
08 Nov 2012

An iranian Jewish boy carrying the torah scroll with his father for his Bar mitzvah at a Synagogue in Tehran.

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Iranian Jews
Tehran
By Alireza Firouzi
08 Nov 2012

Arvin carrying the Torah scroll with his father for his Bar Mitzvah at the biggest Synagogue in Tehran.

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Iranian Jews
Tehran
By Alireza Firouzi
08 Nov 2012

Arvin 's friends reading the Torah. They are all educated in Jewish schools. Only five Jewish schools remain in Tehran. They subsist thanks to grants from the Ministry of Education.

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Iranian Jews
Tehran
By Alireza Firouzi
08 Nov 2012

An Iranian Jewish boy reading the Torah in the biggest synagogue of Tehran.

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Iranian Jews
Tehran
By Alireza Firouzi
08 Nov 2012

An Iranian Jewish boy reading the Torah in the synagogue of Yussef Abad in the North of Tehran.

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Iranian Jews
Tehran
By Alireza Firouzi
08 Nov 2012

Jewish boys reading the Torah during Arvin's Bar-Mitzva . Although Jews can be discriminated against , those who decided to stay declared feeling more secure in Iran than in other countries such as Israel.

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Iranian Jews
Tehran
By Alireza Firouzi
08 Nov 2012

Jewish boys reading the Torah during Arvin's Bar-Mitzvah. After the ceremony, guests gather around a sumptuous buffet. On the menu: traditional Iranian dishes and ... wine. Within the Islamic Republic, alcohol is prohibited for muslims, but tolerated for religious minorities like Jews and Christians.

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Iranian Jews
Tehran
By Alireza Firouzi
08 Nov 2012

Arvin celebrating his Bar Mitzvah and reading the Torah. He is surrounded by the Rabbi , his father and a friend.

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Iranian Jews
Tehran
By Alireza Firouzi
08 Nov 2012

An Iranian Jewish man praying during Arvin's Bar Mitzvah at the biggest Synagogue in Tehran.

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Iranian Jews
Tehran
By Alireza Firouzi
08 Nov 2012

Arvin and the Rabbi during his Bar Mitzvah in the biggest synagogue in Tehran.

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Iranian Jews
Tehran
By Alireza Firouzi
08 Nov 2012

The Rabbi advising Arvin during his Bar Mitzvah.

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Iranian Jews
Tehran
By Alireza Firouzi
08 Nov 2012

Arvin waiting to start celebrating his Bar Mitzvah in the biggest synagogue of Tehran located in Yussef Abad neighborhood.

Recognized as a minority in the 1979 Constitution, Jews are represented in the Iranian Parliament by a jewish member.
Despite their patriotism toward Iran, Jews's loyalty remain, in the eyes of the regime, questionable.

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Iranian Jews
Tehran
By Alireza Firouzi
08 Nov 2012

The menorah, one of the oldest symbols of the Jewish faith, in the Yousef Abad Synagogue.

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Tbilisi mayor in the synagogue
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
21 Dec 2011

Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava visits the city's synagogue during Hanukkah, to congratulate the Jewish community of Georgia. December 20, 2011

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Tbilisi mayor in the synagogue
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
20 Dec 2011

Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava visits the city's synagogue during Hanukkah, to congratulate the Jewish community of Georgia. December 20, 2011