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Dr. Mousa “Moses” Bral
Jewish Representatives to the Parliament

Dr. Mousa “Moses” Bral


 

Mousa “Moses” Bral was born in 1912 C.E., 1290 of the Persian calendar, to a prosperous Jewish family of the Oudlajan Jewish neighborhood of Tehran. His father Yehazqel “Ezekiel” Bral was among his community’s landowners, while his uncle Azizollah Bral was a founding father of the Tehran Jewish Association. The young Mousa Bral received his elementary and high school education at the Ettehad “Alliance” of Tehran. He was then accepted to the School of Pharmacology of Tehran University, where in 1934 C.E., he received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology, placing first in the class, and earning himself the top Medal in Scientific Achievements. He was next drafted to the obligatory military service.

In 1937, having fulfilled the national service, Dr. Mousa Bral founded the Rey Pharmacy and Laboratory. Additionally, in 1948 C.E., he earned another Ph.D., this time in Medicine, from Tehran University.

Even as a child and a teenager, Mousa Bral was already earning a living alongside his   school work. He started out working at an iron bars outlet; he spent some time tutoring; and he went on to serve as the personal secretary of Monsieur Stephany. On occasion, the young Mousa wrote for the Tehran-based Koushesh “Effort” newspaper under the nom de plume Poozesh, i.e. “Forgiveness”. His gift and industry in business affairs, his persistent academic and research pursuits, and his benevolence and sincerity in treating the others, these earned Mousa Bral remarkable success and credibility, both within the Jewish community and throughout the academic circles.

By the demand and support of the Jewish community, and with the particular attention of the Board of Election Supervisors, Dr. Mousa Bral filed with the State Department as the Jewish community candidate for the 16th National Parliament. In October 1949, having received the majority vote of his people, he garnered a seat in the National Parliament as the Representative of the Iranian Jewish community. Once in, he was chosen as a directing member of the Parliament’s Central Commission. During the following two years, he was also in charge of the Health Committee of the Parliament.

Among Dr. Mousa Bral’s first significant steps, he helped change how the ceremonial oath of the office was carried out. Up until then, customarily, all Representatives were sworn in on a copy of a Holy Quran, upon which they would commit to carrying out sincerely their duties and responsibilities. Dr. Bral, however, took the initiative and asked the Speaker of the House to allow the oath to be performed on the Torah, i.e. The Jewish Bible, as well. He further suggested extending the permission to all minority Representatives, which included the Jewish, Zoroastrian and Christian members, allowing them each to take the oath on their holy books besides the Quran. His proposal was welcomed by the House Speaker and the members; and it was ratified shortly into law.

Among his most significant accomplishments as a member of the Parliament, Dr. Bral solved the agonizingly complicated matter of the deserted land of the first Jewish cemetery of Tehran, which was located on the Sepah Avenue. Seized temporarily by the government as an “endowment”, its ownership had remained in dispute for years between the Tehran Jewish community and the Office of Endowments. Dr. Bral’s hard work at the Parliament, and his popularity among his colleagues and other prominent and influential figures of the state, helped him transfer the ownership of the cemetery to the Tehran Jewish Association. Moreover, once the new Jewish cemetery a.k.a. the Beheshtieh “Eden” was established on the east of Tehran, he himself paid to plant its trees, to improve the green space and beautify the place. He also renewed a contract which had allowed to pay for the expenses of the Ettehad “Alliance” schools through the shares of contribution collected via the butchers of the Jewish community.

Dr. Bral was well acquainted with the French, English, German, Russian and Hebrew languages; and he was regarded both as a scholar and a literary figure of his community. Over the years, he attended more than 30 national and international conferences, at home or abroad, on behalf of the Iranian government. The reports of his scientific findings and academic research, besides his speeches at various seminars and conferences, were presented in several scientific, medical and academic publications.

In 1955 C.E., Dr. Mousa Bral began work as an Associate Professor at the School of Pharmacology, Tehran University, where in 1963 C.E., he would be promoted to full professorship. In 1966 C.E., he received the Royal Medal from his Highness Muhammad-Reza Shah, the Pahlavi king. Dr. Bral also served as a member of the National Food Committee, going on to serve on the Standards Commission at the Finance Ministry, as well as on the Appointments and Promotions Committee of Tehran University.

In 1967 C.E., Dr. Bral began to serve as the chair of the Department of Nutrition, Food Chemistry and Toxicology of Tehran University. In 1971 C.E., he was further appointed as an associate member of the School of Pharmacology of Tehran University.

From 1974 to 1977, alongside the academic professorship, he taught pharmacology for three years at the Great Reza Shah Professional High School.

On the 29th of Farvardin, 1338 of the Persian calendar, the spring of 1959 C.E., Dr. Bral ran for the Second Mo’assessan “Constitutional” Assembly, whose formation was overseen by the six-member Board of Election Supervisors. And upon election, he began to serve at the said Assembly on behalf of the Jewish community of Iran.

Alongside his academic and cultural endeavors, Dr. Mousa Bral also penned many volumes. As early as 1940 C.E., he published his first scientific book in Persian entitled The Medicinal Plants of Iran. In 1955 C.E., he published a volume on Nutrition, as well as another book related to Dr. Morano’s scientific research on “how to protect the youth”. He secured the permission to publish a magazine about food and nutrition under his name. And in 1972 C.E., he published a book in Persian entitled The Old Age.

His extended business ventures included securing the rights to represent some important global pharmaceutical products in Iran, including those of Geigy, Sanogyl, and Pelham, among others. He also garnered the permits to produce several drug compounds made by famed European labs, including Opto Eye Drop, Re-agar Syrup, Rita Crème, Bismo Powder, Sulfobis, etc..

Dr. Bral’s earned himself a particular place in the scientific, cultural and social arenas, which registered him as a self-made and steadfast thinker, innovator and patriotic figure in the history of the Iranian Jewish community, someone who for more than four decades brought home countless of remarkable endeavors.

In 1938 C.E., Dr. Mousa Bral married Mehdokht Haghani. The union brought three sons and one daughter to the world.

In 1978 C.E., while on a trip to Europe, the Islamic Revolution rapidly unfolded, which made his acquaintances dissuade him from returning to his birthplace. Thus, he was compelled to immigrate to the United States, where he would settle in Los Angeles to spend his retirement years by his family.

In the late 1980’s C.E., Dr. Mousa Bral began to collect his memoirs, most of which he managed to prepare for print. However, his untimely death in 1990 C.E., at the age of 78, left the almost completed project unfinished.

 

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