LAR, town in southern *Iran, situated on the main caravan route connecting southern Persia with the Persian Gulf ports. Lar had a prosperous Jewish community in the 16th century. A Spaniard who visited the town in 1607 met there a "messenger from Zion" named Judah. Along with other Persian Jewish communities the Jews of Lar suffered at the hands of the Safavid rulers during the 17th and early 18th centuries; the oppressions are described by the Judeo-Persian chronicler *Babai ibn Luṭf. According to him, the persecutions against the Jews of Iran during the reign of Shah *Abbas I (1588–1629) began some time before 1613 and originated in the city of Lar, whose rabbi converted to Islam and took the name Abul-Hasan Lari. Lar was a center of Judeo-Persian literary activity; among the scribes and translators was Judah of Lar (early 16th century; see *Shahin and *Imrani). A Florentine traveler, Giambattista Vecchietti (1552–1619), collected ancient Judeo-Persian manuscripts there and brought them back to Europe. There existed a Jewish community in Lar up to the beginning of the 20th century. According to BM (1907, p. 51) there were 70 Jews living in Lar in 1907. They were expelled from the city and walked all the way to the northern city of Jahrom and eventually settled in Shiraz (pp. 90–91; and also 1910, ibid., pp. 18f; Levy, p. 1026). On April 24, 1960, a devastating earthquake struck the city of Lar, reducing a large part of the town to rubble and killing about 3,500 of its inhabitants.
BM = Bulletin Mensuel, Alliance Israélite Universelle; W.J. Fischel, "The Region of the Persian Gulf and its Jewish Settlements in Islamic Time," in: Alexander Marx Jubilee Volume (1950), 203–30; H. Levy, History of the Jews of Iran, 3 (1960). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: V.B. Moreen, Iranian Jewry's Hour of Peril and Heroism (1987); A. Netzer, "Redifot u-Shemadot be-Toledot Yehudei Iran ba-Me'ah ha-17," in: Peʿamim, 6 (1980), 32–56.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.