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KAZVIN, a town situated between *Teheran and the Caspian Sea. The name of the town is probably related to the word "Caspian." *Benjamin of Tudela (1167) mentions the existence of Jews in mountains and areas adjacent to Kazvin. The local tradition relates that in the "Imām mosque" in Kazvin are buried the biblical friends of the prophet Daniel, namely Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Kazvin for some time was the capital city of the first Safavids. Later, Shah *Abbās I made *Isfahan the capital (1588). However, Jews continued to live in Kazvin, and it is known that around 1746 Nāder Shah transferred many Jews from the city and its neighborhood to the northeast of *Iran. According to Levy at the beginning of the 19th century there were 6,000 Jews in Kazvin. According to Neumark some Jewish families of Kabul in *Afghanistan originated from Kazvin. He avers that there were no Jews living in Kazvin in his time (1884). According to the unpublished memoirs of Solayman Cohen-Sedeq, a prominent Iranian Jew, reported by Levy (p. 1029), there were in 1876 in Kazvin 11 Jewish families who had two synagogues. Most of them were immigrants from *Kashan and *Hamadan. Israeli contracting firms were active in Iran, particularly in reconstruction and development works in the area of Kazvin, which suffered heavily from an earthquake in 1962. It has been reported that Kazvin ceased to be a dwelling place of Jewish families some time during the 20th century.


M.D. Adler (ed.), The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela (1907); H. Levy, History of the Jews of Iran, 3 (1960); E. Neumark, Massa be-Ereẓ ha-Kedem, ed. by A. Ya'ari, 1947.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.