February 23, 2020

My Father’s Story and Martin Luther King Jr.

My father was a mining engineer.  He lost his father at an early age and assumed the role of a father to his younger siblings and the bread winner to his family.  He climbed his way up to the highest level a Jew had ever achieved as an engineer in Iran.  He was trusted by the Shah.  He traveled back and forth to Russia, Israel and France to build alliances that would help with the industry.

MLK      “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

When the Islamic revolution hit, he was worried that he would be killed like the other high powered Jews with government ties.  He then received an invitation to the main industrial town of Sangrood.   Despite everyone’s warnings, he attended.  Thousands of workers showed up.  They lifted him up in the air and passed him through the crowd as you see in music videos, until he ended up on the stage.  The crowd kneeled and became silent.  A man stood in front of him and began to recite the Quran.  He then kissed my father’s feet and thanked him for the advancements he had brought to mining, which prevented the routine explosions that killed dozens monthly.

MLK ”Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?”

The man then cut his own hand, and with his blood wrote on a white parchment, “We will never hurt a Jew because of you.”  The crowd roared “Don’t leave us.  We need you.”  Of course my father had to leave.  Not for himself, but because he wanted better for his four sons.  Few of us are able to imagine giving up a lifetime career, education, a country of birth, to travel into a foreign world.   But the love of our children’s future has always been greater than the fear of the unknown, ever since God called Lech Lecha to Abraham.

MLK “Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”

Today, I salute all the parents who up-rooted themselves so that we could be planted. 

Do you know difference between an acquaintance and a close friend?  The acquaintance sees your coming, while a good friend sees your overcoming.

MLK “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way”

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