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Farideh Goldin publishes "Wedding Song: Memoirs of an Iranian Jewish Woman"

September 21, 2004

On September 21, 2004, Iranian-Jewish writer Farideh Dayanim Goldin published her first memoir, Wedding Song. The book recounts her experience of Jewish life in prerevolutionary Iran, her parents’ fraught relationship, and the circumstances that motivated her to immigrate to America in 1975. Wedding Song, like other works by Goldin, addresses not only the particular experiences of Iranian women and Iranian Jews, but also the challenges faced by those who sit at the intersection of multiple identities.

Goldin was born in Shiraz, Iran, in 1953 to a family of dayanim (religious arbitrators) and Jewish leaders. She grew up in the mahaleh, the Jewish neighborhood of the city, until the age of eight, when her family moved to a Muslim neighborhood. There, she says she experienced both anti-Semitism and cross-cultural friendship. Throughout her childhood, Goldin felt her independence restricted by her family, who opposed her plans to study at an American-style university and pushed her towards an early marriage. She discusses these restrictions in detail in Wedding Song, also noting the lasting effects of her parent’s arranged marriage on her family. She argues that Iran’s Islamic cultural context “intensified” Jewish fundamentalism, making Iranian Jewish women’s lives especially lacking in choice. This environment ultimately motivated Goldin’s decision to immigrate to America, where she hoped to study American literature and find more independence. She describes her immigration and life in America in her second memoir, Leaving Iran, published in 2015.

In America, Goldin’s education continued and her career as a writer began. She earned her MA in Journalism from Georgetown and MFA in English from Old Dominion University, where she then worked as a lecturer and as the director of the Institute for Jewish Studies and Interfaith Understanding. Alongside her two memoirs, Goldin has published scholarly articles and personal essays about Iran and Iranian women writers. She has discussed the difficulties of reconciling her Jewish, Iranian, and American cultures, noting that writing helped her learn “to be able to choose from different cultures what talks to you and what nourishes your soul.”

One way Goldin has accomplished this cross-cultural exchange is through language: she compiled a dictionary of Judi, the Judeo-Persian dialect spoken in the Jewish neighborhood in which she grew up and translated her father’s diaries from Persian into English as part of the memoir Leaving Iran. She has also harnessed the cross-cultural potential of food in her blog, Food and Memory, which compiles recipes and the stories people associate with them from across the world.



Dayan, Linda. “The Mizrahi Feminist Who Stopped Asking for Permission from Ashkenazi Jews.” Haaretz, January 22, 2022. https://www.haaretz.com/life/books/.premium.MAGAZINE-the-mizrahi-feminist-who-stopped-asking-for-permission-from-ashkenazi-jews-1.10557498&sa=D&source=docs&ust=1649991610287581&usg=AOvVaw1vG4mmRiKYhwloCZWw1I6d.

Faridehgoldin.com. “Farideh Dayanim Goldin.” Accessed April 15, 2022. https://www.faridehgoldin.com/.

“Farideh Goldin.” Virginia Changemakers. Accessed April 15, 2022. https://edu.lva.virginia.gov/changemakers/items/show/344.

Goldin, Farideh. "Leaving Iran: Between Migration and Exile." English Faculty Bookshelf 18 (2015). https://digitalcommons.odu.edu/english_books/18

Goldin, Farideh. "Wedding Song: Memoirs of an Iranian Jewish Woman." English Faculty Bookshelf 16 (2003). https://digitalcommons.odu.edu/english_books/16

Ivry, Benjamin. “How Iranian-Jewish Women Started a Writers’ Revolution.” The Forward, January 22, 2015. https://forward.com/culture/212745/how-iranian-jewish-women-started-a-writers-revolut.

Marable, Christina. “An Interview with Farideh Goldin.” Barely South Review, January 30, 2017. https://barelysouthreview.com/an-interview-with-farideh-goldin/.


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Iranian-Jewish writer Farideh Goldin. Courtesy of Farideh Goldin.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Farideh Goldin publishes "Wedding Song: Memoirs of an Iranian Jewish Woman"." (Viewed on March 28, 2023) <https://jwa.org/thisweek/sep/21/2004/farideh-goldin-publishes-wedding-song-memoirs-iranian-jewish-woman>.


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