Each Spring Persian Jews in Iran and around the world celebrate Norwuz, the Persian New Year, a holiday that focuses on renewal, family, ritual and food. Join Be’chol Lashon and an extraordinary roster of presenters to welcome Shabbat and learn about the holiday. We will share in the Shabbat traditions and music of one of the world’s oldest Jewish communities. Through song, story and demonstrations, we will have an opportunity to delve into the symbolic and celebratory elements of the Persian New Year.
Follow along with this mini Siddur.
About the Presenters
Marjan Keypour Greenblatt is the founder and director of the Alliance for Rights of All Minorities (ARAM), an international network of activists that promotes human rights in Iran. Marjan is a producer of HOMANITY (May 2021), the first compilation album featuring the music of Iranian underground artists. Follow Marjan on Twitter.
Iranian-descended anthropologist and vocalist/composer Dr. Galeet Dardashti has earned a reputation as a trail-blazing performer, educator and advocate of Middle Eastern and North African Jewish culture. As a scholar,her publications examine Israeli music/media and Mizrahi cultural politics; she is currently writing a book on the Mizrahi piyyut (sacred song) phenomenon in Israel. Dardashti has held postdoctoral fellowships at NYU and Rutgers and most recently was Assistant Professor of Jewish Music/Musician in Residence at the Jewish Theological Seminary. As Affiliated Fellow at University of Pennsylvania’s Katz Center in 2020/21 she’s begun research on young Sephardi/Mizrahi North American Jews. As a performer/composer, Dardashti is the first woman to continue her family’s tradition of distinguished Persian and Jewish musicianship. She is widely known as leader/founder of the all-woman Middle Eastern Jewish ensemble Divahn, and through her multi-disciplinary commissions The Naming and Monajat; she will be the Artist-in-Virtual-
Josephine Mairzadeh is the the co-founder of 30 Years After, an organization decided to giving visibility and voice to Iranian American Jews, in American political and civic life. Awarded as one of the Jewish Week’s “36 Under 36” thought leaders and innovators, today she serves as the Legislative Aide to the Honorable Legislator Ellen W. Birnbaum. Josephine was recently elected to serve as a Trustee of the Great Neck Library, where she is able to combine her passion for history, the arts and leadership. This achievement stems from her experience as an apprentice in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Islamic Art Department, and the Thomas J. Watson Library.
Culinary instructor, recipe developer, and private chef Orly Elyashar was born in Tehran, Iran in 1977. Orly and her family fled Iran at the outset of the Iranian revolution. After many years of displacement, her family settled in Los Angeles in 1987. Despite the difficult challenges of immigration, financial hardships, and the unexpected and devastating loss of her father, Orly persevered and dove into the workforce at a very young age. She worked and attended school full time. Her days were very full and often overwhelming, but became the building blocks to her success. Orly attended FIDM, where she received a degree in Merchandise Marketing and product placement. Shortly thereafter, she became the youngest BCBG retail manager on Rodeo Drive and trainer at age 16. She then transitioned into dental and pharmaceutical sales at Discus Dental where she was a senior representative and trainer. At 23, she met her businessman husband Ben Elyashar and began building their lives together. Shortly after the birth of her second child, Orly realized her passion and true calling. Cooking, recipe development, and food styling became her focus and eventually, her career. She completed a Master Chef program at a prestigious private culinary school in Los Angeles, where she became a working and licensed Chef. She spent the following years studying Iranian recipes, food pairing, food chemistry, and visual food design. Today, she’s a mother of three and better known as “My Ghost Host” on Instagram. Her unique services include preparation, plating, and displaying food on the behalf of her clients, thus the term “Ghost Hosting”. She has an impressive list of celebrity and elite clients, whom she has cooked for and trained, but her true recognition came from her quick and simple daily videos and tutorials highlighting recipes in step by step frames to appease the visual learner. Her passion and genuine love of food have led her to share her talents and connect with people around the world. She’s currently writing a cookbook and continues to develop and research unique food recipes. She enthusiastically shares them with her very engaged and dedicated followers. Her motto is that “food is the greatest form of communication and the best way of connecting generations and building memories.” Her ultimate goal is to travel to Iran, study under local chefs, bring back her knowledge, and as always share her learning with others who share in the love of food and food culture.