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Iranian Jewish Life in Los Angeles: Past and Present

Saba Soomekh, Author

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Mastaneh Moghadam

Student Researchers/Interviewers:
Camila Piedrahita Abello
Madeline Altieri
Tovah Hezghian
Jacqueline Cohen

Mitch Nakaue

Mastaneh Moghadam, LCSW holds a B.A. degree in Child Development with an emphasis in Music Therapy from California State University Northridge; and a Masters of Social Work degree from California State University Long Beach. She has been working in the Los Angeles area for the non-profit agency, Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles (JFS), as well as in her own private practice since 2001. Twelve years ago she developed and implemented the “Yaran: Iranian Peer Counselors and Advocates” program of Jewish Family Service, where she trains and supervises Farsi speaking Peer Counselors to provide supportive and referral services for the Iranian community. She has also been responsible for the development, coordination and implementation of multiple grants (including a Violence Against Women’s Act grant, a California Community Foundation grant, and a Department of Mental Health Contract) that expands mental health and social services for the Iranian community. Mastaneh has worked extensively in the area of Domestic Violence, providing outreach and education on this subject to the Iranian community as well as in facilitating various trainings and presentations on the subject of Domestic Violence and the Iranian community for the West Hollywood and Beverly Hills Police Department, The Department of Mental Health, and Beverly Hills High School. She continues to present at numerous seminars, conferences, and workshops on various topics related to the mental health and social service needs of the Iranian community in the U.S. Mastaneh currently works with individuals, families, couples, and children in her private practice in Sherman Oaks, CA.

In 2005, Mastaneh and her husband Dustin Ellis co-created the cartoon Babak and Friends: A First Norooz, in order to create awareness around the issue of being raised in a dual cultural environment and to celebrate diversity. This lead to the subsequent creation of the cartoon series “Mixed Nuts,” which again focused on the immigrant experience from the perspective of a variety of characters who represented various ethnic groups, including the Iranian-American community. This cartoon series aired on PBS in 2008.
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