On Friday, Baruch and I had to be in Tel Aviv, so we got there a bit early in order to walk along the coast and to check out some of the older areas nearby.
While there, we learned a little bit about the Anusei Mashad. This is a Jewish community for the city of Mashad in north Iran. They were forced to accept Islam for 120 years, but secretly continued to practice Judaism. Mashad was considered one of the holiest cities to Islam, as Imam Reza was buried there and so Mashahdi Jews were considered unclean, and were not accepted to the city. In 1737, Nader Khan, Iran’s illustrious general and later on Nader Shah, invited a group of Jews to the city of Mashad. Trusting highly the Jews, the Khan invited them for the purpose of managing the king’s treasury.
In 1747 Nader Shah was assassinated. The Mashadi Jews were now devoid of government protection and exposed to riots and harassment from their Muslim neighbors. On the eve of Passover 5599 (April 1839), the Shiites spread a blood libel against them, followed by pogroms in which the Muslims massacred and plundered Mashadi Jews. They were forced to convert to Islam, but kept the Jewish religion in the underground.
In 1946, after another pogrom, most of Mashad’s Jewish residents immigrated to major world cities, in which they established thriving communities. Mashadi Jews who immigrated to Israel founded a steering committee, associations and institutions for mutual help and charity, as well as many synagogues.
The building above was formerly Beit Imahot (Mothers’ Home-Home for aged women) of Mashadi Jewis in Israel. In 1950, a group of women who immigrated from Mashad to Israel established a women’s steering committee for the Mashadi Jews in Israel, collecting donations from community members in Israel and abroad.
Using donated money, they purchased a building in Tel Aviv, on the corner of Shimon Rokah and Shlush Streets. Beit Imahot remained on the site shown above until it was sold in 1992. The revenue from the sale of the building, together with additional generous donations from community members around the world, enabled the establishment of the Old Age Home for Mashadi Jews in Herzliya Pituach to which the residents of Beit Imahot moved.