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Iranian Jewish Life in Los Angeles: Past and Present

Saba Soomekh, Author

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Iranian Jewish Women's Organization of Southern California: Goals and Achievements

The main goals of the Iranian Jewish Women’s Organization are to protect the image and identity of the Iranian Jewish community of Los Angeles, and to acknowledge the accomplishments of Iranian Jewish women and the positions they hold in society. The organization is a loyal supporter of the state of Israel, and helps connect Jews with their Iranian roots. The organization celebrates annual holidays and events such as Hannukah, Purim, Nurouz, honoring the progressive Women of the Year, Mother of the Year, and honoring the progressive Man of the Year. Some of these listed celebrations provide the organization with income that they use to offer charitable and medical aid to people with special needs.

The Iranian Jewish Women’s Organization currently faces the challenge of attempting to help provide women easy access to a get in case of a secular divorce. A get is a religious divorce document that is traditionally required for the woman’s divorced status to be truly recognized under Jewish law. When a couple is married under Jewish Law, they are provided with a Ketuba, a premarital agreement. In the unfortunate circumstance of a divorce, in order for the divorce to be recognized under Jewish law, the women must be provided a get, signed by her husband. The get is the only way to be released from the bonds of matrimony; according to Jewish law, a couple remains married until they receive a get. The Iranian Jewish Women’s Organization is fighting to establish a woman's right to have easy access to a get in the case of a divorce. This is a significant stride towards the empowerment of women because with easy access to the get, men are not able to hold a woman hostage. Refusing a get denies the woman’s right to get remarried, whereas men are allowed to remarry.

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