I am thankful to the following individuals and institutions for sharing their valuable time and offering their gracious support at various phases of my studies and work. Needless to say, I alone am responsible for the views and shortcomings of the present book.
I am deeply grateful to Abbas Amanat, whose scholarly advice, intellectual guidance, and enthusiasm inspired me throughout the work on my Ph.D. at Yale University. I thank Paula Hyman and Carlos Eire for their help, interest, and time. My special gratitude goes to Etan Kohlberg; I have benefited tremendously from his academic assistance, continual encouragement, and unflinching friendship. Warm thanks are expressed to Aron Rodrigue and Vera B. Moreen for their kind assistance toward publication. In addition to these, Shaul Bakhash, Nikki Keddie, Rudi Matthee, and the outside reader kindly read a draft of the work and offered their thoughtful advice, which I much appreciate.
My heartfelt appreciation goes to many others who assisted me in different ways and at various stages of the present study (listed alphabetically): Amir Afkhami, Mehrdad Amanat, Reuven Amitai, Yom-Tov Assis, Meir Bar-Asher, Avraham Cohen, Mark Cohen, Mosheh Friedemann, Yohanan Friedmann, William Gross, Yaron Harel, the late Hava Lazarus-Yafeh, Azariyah Levi, the late Nehemyah Levtzion, Bernard Lewis, Meir Litvak, David Menashri, Menaliem Milson, Amnon Netzer, Jamshid Nowain, Shual Regev, Michael Rubin, the late Sorour Soroudi, Sabine Schmidtke, Esther Shkalim, Norman Stillman, Nurit Tsafrir, Frank Turner, David Yeroushalmi, Michael Zand, and a Shiʿi colleague who preferred to remain anonymous. I am thankful to Avi Aronsky, (p.xx) Mira F. Reich, and Jubin Meraj for their help in improving my nonnative English. I am indebted to the late Walter J. Fischel, whom I did not have the honor of meeting. While differing from him on some points, I recognize his influence on me.
Warm thanks are hereby expressed to the following institutions and persons for extending kind and vital pecuniary support: Yale University; the Fulbright Foundation; the Hebrew University, with its Golda Meir and Warburg fellowships; Misgav Yerushalayim; the International Sepharadi Educational Fund (ISEF); the New York Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture; the Vidal Sassoon center; Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin; Heshmatollah Kermanshahchi; The Center for Iranian Studies, Tel-Aviv University; The Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania; and Maccabim Cultural Foundation, New York and Israel.
I wish to express my thanks to the Rev. Tony Higton of the Church's Ministry Among the Jewish People for allowing me to utilize material from the church's archives in Oxford. I would also like to thank Charles Tucker of the London Beth-Din for permitting me to use material from the Office of the Chief Rabbi in London. I owe a debt of gratitude to Jean-Claude Kuperminc of the Alliance Israélite Universelle's library in Paris and his staff, as well as to Azar Ashraf of the Princeton University library.
I am grateful to the editors of the following journals for allowing me to use three of my previously published articles: “The Legal Status of Religious Minorities: Imami Shiʿi Law and Iran's Constitutional Revolution,” Islamic Law and Society 10 (2003): 376–408, by Koninklijke Brill N.V.; “Nineteenth-Century Iranian Jewry: Statistics, Geographical Setting and Economic Basis,” Iran 43 (2005): 275–82; and “Religious Disputations of Imami Shiʿis Against Judaism in the Late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries,” Studia Iranica 34 (2005): 95–134.
The friendship and cordial hospitality of numerous friends and relatives were of paramount importance: the Ostad family, especially Abraham and Sorayah Ostad, John Turci-Escobar, Amir Haque, Sunil Curivila, Shai Mor, Paul Allerhand, the Pollaks, the Hirschs, the Melameds, Yoav Levi, the Markiewiczs, Sarah Aboosh, Oren Harman, (p.xxi) Stephen Vella, the Schorrs, Jubin Meraj and his family, Heshmatollah Kermanshahchi and his family, the late Mousa Amanat, as well as Besharat Amanat, the late Hakham Yedidyah Shofet and his family, the late Massood Haroonian, Yigal Avrahami, Ehud Guttel, Eliezer Greenbaum, Eliad Moreh, and Muhammad Imamezaman. To all I am indebted. I also offer my sincere gratitude to Jeffrey and Debbie Naddanner for their far-sighted advice and never-failing support.
More than anyone else, my father, Benayahu, my mother, Homayun, and my sisters Mehri, Nahid, and Janet, with their families, were there for me throughout the vicissitudes of time. My gratitude for their moral support is inexpressible.