L.A.’s Iranian Jews pack DGA for launching of Nazarian memoirs


Nearly 600 Iranian Jewish community members and leaders packed the Director’s Guild of America (DGA) theater in Hollywood on August 7th for the official release of the Farsi language memoirs of local Iranian Jewish business and philanthropist Parviz Nazarian. The book is entitled “My Walk Toward The Horizon: A Memoir by Parviz Nazarian” and published by the Los Angeles based “Ketab Corporation“. The evening’s colorful event featured a brief documentary of Nazarian’s life starting from his humble beginnings in the poverty-stricken Jewish ghetto of Tehran in the late 1920s, to his emigration to Israel in 1947 where he fought alongside other Jewish immigrants in Israel’s war of independence in 1948 and was injured. The film also highlighted Nazarian’s successful business career in Iran and in the U.S. in the manufacturing sector as well as being one of the founders of the telecommunications giant “Qualcomm” in the late 1980s. Nazarian’s story is no doubt remarkable because it chronicles the life of a man who had nothing and pulled himself up by his boot straps to achieve greatest. 

Speakers on hand for the event shared brief highlights from Nazarian’s memoirs, including local Iranian Jewish community activist Frank Nikbakht who praised Nazarian for his hard work ethic in life and his generous spirit of giving back to worthy Israel causes. “Parviz Nazarian's memoirs are not just the story of a successful billionaire who as a boy had started selling matches to be able to afford a bus ticket once a week to visit his mother and little brother across the town, but the tale of a person possessing an indomitable pioneer spirit who overcame many obstacles”. Other speakers on hand for the event included Iranian radio personality Sharzad Ardalan and Iranian Jewish historian Dr. Ari Babaknia.

The evening also incorporated a whole host of traditional Persian instrumental music performances and live Middle Eastern dance. Kudos to Iranian-Armenian musical guru Allen G. Nazarian (unreleated to Parviz Nazarian), the artistic and musical director of the event for his uniquely creative vision for the evening's entertainment. Here is one of those dance performances:

 

Nazarian, now in his late 80’s, was joined by his younger brother and business partner Younes Nazarian as well as surrounded by his close friends and family members. His eldest daughter, Dora Nazarian Kadisha, spoke about Nazarian’s important role as an Iranian Jewish community leader over the many decades. “What stands out for me is what was most important to him throughout his life – love, forgiveness and generosity,” she said.

Nazarian’s philanthropic endeavors are plenty and include support for L.A. area Jewish and non-Jewish organizations. He is one of the founders of the L.A.-based “Magbit Foundation”, a non-profit that was established in 1990 to provide interest-free loans to key Israeli students. Likewise, in 2003, he founded the Citizens Empowerment Center in Israel (CECI), a non-profit organization which promotes election reform in Israel. In 2008, I interviewed Nazarian about the CECI and his passion for Israel which can be heard here.

Nikbakht, who helped edit the Farsi memoirs and also translated the English version of Nazarian's book, said he expects the English version of the book to be published in the coming year. Those interested in purchasing the Farsi language Nazarian memoirs can visit the Ketab Corporation's site here.

The following are just some snapshots of the event I captured..

(left to right; Soraya Nazarian, Younes Nazarian, Parviz Nazarian and Pouran Nazarian, photo by Karmel Melamed)

(Parviz Nazarian greets a friend at his Farsi memoir's launching event)

(left to right; former Iranian Jewish mayor of Beverly Hills Jimmy Delshad affectionately greeting his old friend Parviz Nazarian, photo by Karmel Melamed)

(A photo of a much younger Parviz Nazarian on display at his event).

(left to right; Soraya Nazarian chatting with Iranian Jewish historian Ari Babaknia).

(Live performance of Persian music at Nazarian memoir's event)

(left to right; the evening's speakers Dr. Ari Babaknia, Frank Nikbakht and Sharzad Ardalan)

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