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[book cover] Leaving Iran

Farideh Goldin

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December 2015

9781771991377 (Paperback)
9781771991384 (PDF)
9781771991391 (ePub)


Our Lives: Diary, Memoir, and Letters

Biography & Memoir / History / History: Jewish



About the Book

In 1975, at the age of twenty-three, Farideh Goldin left Iran in search of her imagined America. She sought an escape from the suffocation she felt under the cultural rules of her country and the future her family had envisioned for her. While she settled uneasily into American life, the political unrest in Iran intensified and in February of 1979, Farideh’s family was forced to flee Iran on the last El-Al flights to Tel Aviv. They arrived in Israel as refugees, having left everything behind including the only home Farideh’s father had ever known.

Baba, as Farideh called her father, was a well-respected son of the chief rabbi and dayan of the Jews of Shiraz. During his last visit to the United States in 2006, he handed Farideh his memoir that chronicled the years of his life after exile: the confiscation of his passport while he attempted to return to Iran for his belongings, the resulting years of loneliness as he struggled against a hostile bureaucracy to return to his wife and family in Israel, and the eventual loss of the poultry farm that had supported his family. Farideh translated her father’s memoir along with other documents she found in a briefcase after his death. Leaving Iran knits together her father’s story of dislocation and loss with her own experience as an Iranian Jew in a newly adopted home. As an intimate portrait of displacement and the construction of identity, as a story of family loyalty and cultural memory, Leaving Iran is an important addition to a growing body of Iranian–American narratives.


“Farideh Goldin, a Jew from Iran, immigrated to the United States as a young woman—an alien in her own country who was now doubly alienated. Meanwhile her family, still in Iran, had to abandon their belongings and escape to Israel amid the Revolution of 1979. In a riveting contrapuntal narrative, Goldin tells of her own struggles and those of her father, whose memoir she translates here: a harrowing account of his return to Iran and bleak years of entrapment there. A unique perspective on one of the great cultural upheavals of the last century.”
—Blake Bailey, author of Cheever: A Life


About the Author

Born in Shiraz, Iran to a family of dayanim, Farideh Goldin now lives in Virginia and is the director of the Institute for Jewish Studies and Interfaith Understanding at Old Dominion University. Goldin is a frequent lecturer and presenter on Iranian culture. Her first memoir, Wedding Song: Memoirs of an Iranian Jewish Woman was published in 2003.



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Copyright: This work is licensed under a เกมส์ยิงปลาออนไลน์Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). It may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes, provided that the original author is credited.


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Front Matter

Prefatory Note and Acknowledgements


1. 1975, Portsmouth, Virginia

2. February 1979, Israel, Kiriat Sharet

3. Baba: September 1980, Tel Aviv

4. October 1980, New Orleans

5. Baba: 1981, Tehran

6. 1982–83, Chesapeake

7. Baba: 1983, Shiraz

8. 1983–84, Chesapeake

9. Baba: 1983–84, Shiraz

10. 1984, Chesapeake

11. Baba: 1984, Tehran

12. 1984, Chesapeake

13. Baba: 1984, Rome

14. December 1984, Norfolk

15. Baba: 1985–86, Tel Aviv

16. Baba: 1987, Philadelphia

17. 1987, Portsmouth

18. Baba: 1987, Shiraz

19. 1987, Portsmouth

20. 1989, Nags Head

21. 1991, Portsmouth

22. Baba: 1992, Shiraz

23. 1992, Norfolk

24. Baba: 1992, Shiraz

25. 1966, Shiraz

26. Baba: 1992, Shiraz

27. 1993, Norfolk

28. Baba: 1994, Tel Aviv

29. 1994, Baltimore

30. Baba: 2003, Holon

31. 2002–03, Norfolk

32. 2005, Tel Aviv

33. 2006, Norfolk

34. Baba: December 2006, Holon


“Self-descried as a work of creative non-fiction, Leaving Iran, draws heavily from the memoirs of Esghel Dayanim (Baba), the author’s father, translated from the Persian and very tastefully molded into a factually accurate narrative. […] Leaving Iran, both physically and psychically, is a gripping work. Supplementing Wedding Song, there is additional catharsis. However, the more mature perspective is reflective of the 13 years between books. In 2003, Farideh Goldin was revealed as a rare talent. We looked forward then to more from her. That hope and expectation is not diminished.”

—Hal Sacks, Jewish News


“Farideh told her family's story in detail, without cancelling out her father's voice, but letting the reader see the heights she has reached. Her voice combines the worlds she has faced, accepting and rejecting aspects of each and maturing as she finds herself and her impressive means of expression.”

—Renée Levine Melammed, Nashim