Dr. Saba Soomekh is the Assistant Director of Interreligious and Intercommunity Affairs at AJC-LA and a lecturer at UCLA, where she teaches Religious Studies, Middle Eastern History, and Women’s Studies courses. She received her BA in Religious Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Her Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and her Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Dr. Soomekh teaches and writes extensively on World Religions, Women and Religion, intersectionality and its impact on the Jewish community, and the geo-politics of the Middle East. In the summer of 2019, Dr. Soomekh will be a Scholar-in-Residence at Oxford University with the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy. Professor Soomekh is the editor of the book Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews in America (Purdue University Press, 2016) and the author of the book From the Shahs to Los Angeles: Three Generations of Iranian Jewish Women between Religion and Culture (SUNY Press, 2012). Her book was awarded the Gold Medal in the 2013 Independent Publisher Book Award in the Religion category. Besides giving numerous scholarly and public presentations on the Middle East, world religions and women in the developing world, she is also a member of the city of Los Angeles’ Human Resource Commission where she is involved in numerous interfaith and intercultural projects and she is a consultant for numerous schools in Los Angeles focusing on creating honest dialogue about cultural issues.
Dr. Soomekh was the Exhibition Coordinator of the exhibition at the Fowler Museum at UCLA entitled: Light and Shadows: The Story of Iranian Jews. She was a consultant and participant for PBS’ documentary “Iranian Americans,” which aired on PBS on Dec. 18, 2012. She was also featured in an NPR story on Iranian Jews in America (http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/01/26/260779898/for-persian-jews-america-means-religious-pluralism-at-its-best), and the Times of Israel wrote a piece on her entitled “Iranian Scholar Breaks Stereotypes While Studying Them” (http://www.timesofisrael.com/iranian-jewish-scholar-breaks-stereotypes-while-studying-them/).