Iranian Jewish Culure
Baroukh Beroukhim

Baroukh Beroukhim

Physicist, High Ranking Educator & Philanthropist

Dr. Baroukh Beroukhim was born in 1914 C.E. to a religious Jewish family of the Oudlajan neighborhood, “the Jewish ghetto” of Tehran, Iran. His father was Asher Beroukhim, one of the well-respected businessmen of the Tehran Bazaar.

Baroukh Beroukhim completed his elementary studies at the Alliance Israélite “Ettehad” of Tehran, and his middle and highs school education at the Dar-ol_Fonoon. He then placed first among hundreds of participants in the scholarship exam for those who wished to study in Europe. Consequently, he was introduced to Reza-Shah Pahlavi and received his kind attention, before setting out to France, as one of the first hundred students selected to study overseas.

He continued studying Physics at Montpellier University. In 1938, guided by the great French scientist, Professor Caban, he concluded some important and wide-ranging research in the physics of light and optics. He received his Doctorate degree with Honors following the defense of his dissertation on aspects of the propagation (diffusion) of light. The board of the professors of the Montpellier University approved of his research.

Baroukh Beroukhim returned to Iran in 1940 and married his future wife, Ezzat La’ed. Their union would bring four sons to the world, all of whom received the highest education in medicine.

Dr. Beroukhim began to teach in the Teacher’s Advanced College of Tehran University for two years. Then he was sent to fulfill draft in the Military Officers Academy, where for 18 months, he taught physics at the School of Aviation. Following the completion of his military service, he was officially employed by the Ministry of Culture and began to teach at Alborz College. He would work there for 28 years with Dr. Mojtahedi, the school principal, as a professor of physics. Consequently, the Ministry of Education in Iran endowed Dr. Beroukhim with the First Medal of Physics in recognition of his long and genuine services. Concurrently, he was teaching Physics in the French language at the Razi School of Tehran for 36 years.

In 1968, he was invited to join the Jewish Association of Kourosh (Cyrus), Tehran, and awhile later, he was appointed as the principal of the Kourosh Schools, where his succeeded to add a high school to the Kourosh complex. Before long, the students of the Kourosh Jewish Complex amounted to 1200. Due to emerging conditions, however, he resigned as the head of the Kourosh Schools, and immediately accepted his new role as the principal of the Ettefagh Schools.

Dr. Beroukhim was extremely active in the development of the colossal cultural institution known as Ettefagh. He supervised the expansion of the school, from an elementary and junior high complex for mixed sexes to an exemplary cultural complex throughout Tehran, which then included also a complete high school education in Natural Sciences (Biology) and Mathematics. The school proved so successful that during the 1970’s, 85% of those who passed the national university entrance exams known as the Concours were graduates of the Ettefagh High School under the direction of Dr. Beroukhim. It should be noted that from the mid-1970’s, 20% of the 2000 students of the school were comprised of Muslims or minorities other than Jews.

Besides the above, Dr. Baroukh Beroukhim also taught for years at the Anoshirvan Dadgar, Homayoun and Kharazmi High Schools. Moreover, he was a founding member of Azar Cultural Group in Tehran, where for years, he and a number of experienced educators and knowledgeable scientists, taught and trained thousands of students.

Once he was employed by the Ministry of Culture, this selfless educator realized that there were no textbooks for physics available to high school students in Iran. Thus, he set out singlehandedly to write the comprehensive Textbooks of Physics for all high school grades. Furthermore, together with several of his colleagues, they published preparatory books on physics and chemistry — including his Textbook of Physics for the University Entrance Exams — for those who wished to pass the Concours. Years later, these books are still more or less in use by students.

This outstanding figure, spent more than half-a-century of his life and energy in the education and nurturing of students. Furthermore he was a member of many non-profit and for-profit cultural organizations, where he offered his numerous effectual services.

For years, he was one of the prominent members of the Tehran Jewish Association, and as the President of its Cultural Committee, he offered significant services to the educational system of the Jewish community. He further served the larger Iranian society for years as the Representative of Tehran in the country’s High Council of Education.

Dr. Baroukh Beroukhim was recognized on many occasions by both Reza Shah and Mohammad-Reza Shah Pahlavi for his scientific and cultural services, which earned him numerous scientific and cultural honors and medals.

In 1980, a year after the Islamic Revolution of Iran, Dr. Beroukhim yielded to an unwanted emigration. Thus, he and his wife immigrated to the United States, where their sons had been studying and practicing medicine. Dr. Beroukhim settled in Los Angeles, and together with a number of his erudite friends, founded Anjoman Sokhan, “The Speech Association,” where for years, as its vice president, he promoted the Persian language and literature in the West. In 1981, extending his Persian cultural activities, he enlisted help from several friends to establish the Iranian Cultural Foundation. He further continued his services to the L.A. society where he persisted and succeeded in persuading the authorities to recognize Persian as a second language in American schools. Once approved, the mayor of Beverly Hills granted him an Honorary Award for his priceless services to the society.

Though retired, Dr. Beroukhim would not give up his socio-cultural activities. He served the community as the editor of the informative Persian magazine Donya-ye Yahood, “The Jewish World”, which was published over 20 years for the Persian-speaking community of Los Angeles. At the same time, he continued to write articles and essays on science, hygiene, education, culture and politics, in various other publications.

Dr. Beroukhim was an active member of several non-profit cultural and humanitarian organizations in Los Angeles, including the Iranian American Jewish Federation, Magbit Foundation, Siamak Organization, and Sazeman-e Avaregan or “The Refugees Organization”, besides the Iranian Cultural Foundation of Southern California.

With more than 70 years of cultural and pro bono services, Dr. Beroukhim was considered one of the most erudite and outstanding cultural figures of the Jewish community, one who performed an effectual role in promoting culture and expanding education to an increasing number of students, many of whom he taught personally and educated in earnest.

Dr. Baroukh Beroukhim died in the summer of 2012, at the age of 100, of natural causes.

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