Iranian Jewish Culure
Dr. Ebrahim Beral

Dr. Ebrahim Beral

Clinical Pathologist, Philanthropist

Dr. Ebrahim Beral is a well-known and revered name among the medical community of Iran. This erudite man was a pioneering figure of laboratory sciences in the country, whose continuous presence through more than 60 years of productive services allowed him to be remembered as a veteran Clinical Pathologist in the medical history of Iran, and in the field of diagnostics laboratory, in particular.

Ebrahim Beral was born in winter 1921 C.E., the month of Dey 1299 of the Persian calendar, to a religious Jewish family of Tehran. His father Azizollah Beral was a philanthropist, the founding father of Tehran Jewish Association, and the President of the Association in 1927. His mother was an artistic woman from the family of Ostad Balakhan Ney-Davoud, whose members were all among famed musicians.

Ebrahim Beral received his elementary and junior high education at the Alliance Israélite schools of Tehran, before completing his studies at the Iran-shahr High School. That same year, he passed the national university exam known as the concours, receiving in 1944 his Doctorate in General Medicine with Honors. He served 4 years as a general physician, before his interest in laboratory work and research led him to work and study at the laboratory group of Tehran University. In 1953, he was appointed as the director of the laboratory clinic of Sina Hospital, which was supervised by Tehran University, while he worked as an assistant in the laboratory. In later years, he became an associate professor and a full professor in the clinical pathology sciences group.

In 1955, Dr. Beral directed his research toward hormonal testing. His were the first such experiments in Iran. For further education, he traveled to France, where he studied and conducted research in the field in Paris University under Professor Pasteur, the grandson of the famed Louis Pasteur. Back in Iran, he began hormone testing methods for the first time in the country, and later on, he introduced the ELISA Method for various laboratory works. In 1970, he was appointed as the Director of the Clinical Laboratory of Sina Hospital and its Blood Transfusion section.

In 1957, upon Dr. Beral’s recommendation, several training centers for laboratory technicians were established. The innovation largely transformed the managing system and the personnel of the laboratories.

Dr. Ebrahim Beral’s résumé began officially in 1948 as an assistant in the Sina Hospital. Even though he was retired from Tehran University in 1990, after 41 years of service, he never gave up his scientific pursuits. During this time, side by side of his assigned duties, he carried out research work and published numerous scientific papers in Persian and French in both Iranian and French publications. He wrote several books on various aspects of the laboratory sciences, including his three-volume reference in Persian, Medical Laboratory Lessons. Besides offering lectures on medicine, he was a member of various medical associations. Among his many positions, he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of the Clinical Laboratory Sciences Experts, a member of the Medical System Jury, the guiding professor on 28 professional dissertations, Professor at the Clinical Laboratory Group, Director of the Clinical Pathology Group of the School of Medicine at Tehran University, the supervising examiner of the Pathology Group of the Ministry of Science, a Judge of the Medical System Court, Professor at the University of Tehran, and the Director of the Laboratory and the Blood Transfusion Sections of Sina Hospital.

In 1945, Dr. Ebrahim Beral founded his first private laboratory at a small rental apartment, where he conducted ten experiments on the chemistry of the blood urea alone. In 1970, thanks to his persistent efforts, he succeeded to establish one of the most equipped laboratories in central Tehran, namely The Louis Pasteur Laboratory.

The community of laboratory experts in Iran believes that Dr. Ebrahim Beral’s persistent efforts, caring deeds, and relentless industry, in regards to developing and perfecting the laboratory sciences system in Iran and the training of specialists, besides his selfless services to the impoverished and underprivileged patients in Iranian clinics and hospitals, shall be remembered among his lasting legacies.

Thus, in 2004, various scientific and professional clinical laboratory associations celebrated Dr. Ebrahim Beral in an official ceremony during the Remembrance Event of the Fourth Conference for the Appreciation of the Pioneering Professors of Tehran University. There, it was announced that he could be justly named the Father of the Laboratory Sciences in Iran. That same year, he was selected as the Distinguished Professor in the Annual Conference of Pathology.

Like his ancestors, Dr. Beral loved to carry out social and philanthropic services. In 1943, by the suggestion and encouragement of his close friend, the late Dr. Basim Berjis, he became a member of the Kouy-e Kalimian “The Jewish Alley” Council. Thereafter, amid a busy life and various responsibilities in the scientific fields, including his teaching duties at the Medical Sciences University of Iran, he undertook some of the community’s responsibilities and began his vast efforts in public service.

Among his major philanthropic achievements, he pursued a project to plant drinking water pipelines in the Cyrus Street, especially in the Oudlajan Jewish neighborhood. He was also instrumental in raising the quality of restrooms to modern hygienic standards by transforming their structural texture. Not to mention that at every opportunity, he actively participated in the Association’s meetings.

In 1952, Dr. Ebrahim Beral founded the Sina Medical Association, for the Jewish physicians, and beginning the same year, upon his recommendation, pre-marriage medical examination became a norm in the society. In 1976, due to existing conflicts in the Tehran Jewish Association which contradicted his personal goals, he left the Association. Then, together with his old friend, Dr. Basim Berjis, he revived Kanoon-e Pishbord, “The Center for Progress”, toward high cultural, social and artistic goals. Among his last achievements, he collaborated in establishing The Marriage Foundation.

Dr. Beral is remembered forever for offering free lab tests, helping to initiate or create new jobs for those in need, founding The Problem Resolution Council, establishing a fund to offer financial assistance to those in need, and a host of other humanitarian deeds that were registered during this period on his résumé. Throughout his life, he was one of the trustees of the Jewish community and Iranian society at large, and many often he was chosen as the arbiter to help resolve conflicts especially among his fellow Jews.

Dr. Ebrahim Beral married Helen Amiri, from the Baruch Amiri family, in 1946. The couple brought five sons to the world, among them their eldest, Jacques Bral, who lives and works in France as a successful European screen writer, filmmaker and cinematic director.

Dr. Ebrahim Beral died in 2007, at the age of 87, after a 12-year brave battle with prostate cancer.

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