Although dispossessed, the thousands of Iranian Jews who flocked to Beverly Hills … had assets most immigrants lack: advanced education, business experience and, in the majority of cases, some cash in overseas accounts.
A complaint sounded by Beverly Hills old-timers was that the Persians could be clannish, self-segregating and indifferent to the established norms of the community they were entering. … Thanks to their wealth and numbers, Persians didn’t need to adapt. Instead, they developed a self-sufficient Farsi-speaking enclave, complete with grocery stores, restaurants and even taxi services. And rather than courting the local social establishment, rich Persians stuck to their own social world, which revolved around lavish 1,000-person bar mitzvahs and weddings. “My mother really doesn’t need to speak English, although she does,” says Nazarian.
Likewise, a majority in the younger generation choose to marry fellow Persians—much to their parents’ relief. “They don’t have to marry Persian,” says Jasmine Yadegar, in a tone suggesting that she hopes her two twentysomething daughters—both of whom still live at home—eventually will. “All I want for them is to be happy and find people with the same background.”“For me,” says daughter Sabrina, an aspiring fashion designer, “I think it’s a lot easier to fall in love with someone who has the same ideas and experiences.”“I need to love their family, and they need to love mine,” adds older sister Jessica, a documentary filmmaker. “Some of my American friends have told me that you’re not dating the parents. They say you don’t need to meet the parents on the first, second or third date. That’s not my view. I think the longer you postpone the introduction to the family, the longer it takes you to get to know if this is someone you want to spend the rest of your life with.”