So, who am I?
An Iranist, a bridge-builder, an eye-opener.
In my own way, I build bridges between the nations of Iran and Israel. I do it through spreading knowledge and opening people's eyes to the fact that we are much more alike than they might think.
I hope to be Israel's first cultural attachée in free Iran.
I spread the knowledge through books, press interviews and lectures, as well as through this blog and my (also Hebrew) podcast.
The lectures – in English, Hebrew or Persian, are suitable for any venue or event where guests are seated, sober and ready to listen. I've lectured to university students and professors, to government officials, to security forces, to high tech companies, to employees and directors in other sorts of companies, to participants in professional conferences, both in my own field and in other fields as a comic relief, to Jewish communities abroad, to people who wished to add some intelligent content to their social event, and even to my kids' classmates in elementary school (don't usually do it, but they were awsome)…
In short – I accomodate myself, the topic and the level of detail and explanations, to the audience. As long as I have a chance to build bridges, open eyes, and get paid well – I'm ready to roll!
On Topics Related to Iran – 90-minute lectures or a lecture series
The Book of Esther Unmasked
The Book of Esther takes place at the court of the Achaemenian (Persian) monarchy and reflects the customs, culture and language of ancient Iran. Through the Book of Esther, those attending the lecture become familiar with all the above (and somewhat with Hebrew and their own language as well). After hearing the lecture, participants will have stronger evidence to support their stance on the historicity of the Esther story, as well as enough Old Persian to analyze, practically on their own, the names of some of Haman's ten sons (this can actually be a series of lectures, and has also been published as a book in Hebrew, in 2016 also in English and Persian)
Pajamas in Paradise – Iranian Influences on our Language and Culture
An overview of the prehistory of the Iranian tribes and language, a bit about the ancient religion, the history of the connection between Iran and Judaism, from which Christianity emerged, and the ideological (e.g. the concept of Satan) and linguistic influences (pajamas, bazaar, magic, paradise, et al.).
Where do we come from, where do we go and what are we doing here?
Zoroastrianism, which was founded by the prophet Zoroaster, was Iran's religion prior to Islam. How did was Zarathushtra born? How did the religion begin? how was the world created, what happens after we die? What will happen after the Messiah comes? and what we have to do to attain paradise and expedite his coming? A practical lecture that you may not want to implement in your own life.
The Iranian woman: Past and/or Present.
Thamar wears Hejab and reveals some surprising facts about women and war of the sexes in Iran, either Ancient, Modern or both. e.g. During Iran's Sassanian period (third century – Islam), a woman could manage property and acquire an education. But when menstruating, she couldn't even get a glimpse of the sun! And in present day Iran the ministry of Islamic guidance produced a sex-ed film, where they show… (invite me to a lecture to learn more)
Nowruz, the Persian New Year
The Persians still celebrate New Years according to the Zoroastrian calendar (the religion that preceded Islam in Iran). A lecture on history, beliefs and traditions, accompanied by demonstrations of a festively set table. Fitting for New Years and springtime.
Beelzebub in the Bazaar – Cultures and Languages in Contact
Cultures and languages encounter one another all the time – in the past, primarily as a result of conquests and explorations, whereas currently people use telecommunications and the Internet. The contact between cultures engenders influences, some of which have been assimilated in the receiving culture beyond recognition (How did pasta reach Italy? When did we start believing in heaven and hell? Why do we break a glass during the wedding ceremony?) There are also linguistic influences between cultures (for example, borrowed words such as orange, tiara, gigolo, and checkmate).
Some anecdotes from other cultures and languages are examined during the lecture, and quite a few from Judaism and the English language.
All Holidays are Created Equal!
You know the "they tried to kill us, we won, let's eat" paradigm of all Jewish holidays? There's a reason for it! And it all goes back to the Ancient New Year practices and beliefs. And not only Jewish holidays but also Christian, Muslim, Sumerian, Babylonian, Pagan European and more. Here's the first post of a trilogy, if you prefer reading…
Here's the first part of the pilot lecture I gave in Hod veHadar Congregation in Kfar Saba. I've learned a lot from it!
A Taste of Each
A bit from each lecture: The Book of Esther, Ancient Iranian Religions, Cultures and Languages in Contact, Iranian Influences on our Language and Culture, Women in Ancient Iran, and The Afterlife.
Iran – Past, Present and Future
A series of 4-8 lectures offered in collaboration with a prominent expert on contemporary Iran.
Sex and Violence in Indian Mythology
A lecture entirely comprised of stories about gods and goddesses – and sometimes humans as well.
2500 Years of Persian – For Persian Speakers
Why does every verb in Persian have two stems?
What's the origin of the ezāfe (the -e vowel between words, e.g. āsh-e māst)?
Why does an h at the end of a word sometimes turn into a g – and sometimes not?
A lecture for Persian speakers about the history of the language and its connections with other languages, including an historical-linguistic explanation of everything that's unique in the Persian language.
First person lectures:
Thamar, Make me a Child! Surrogacy in the first person.
Surrogacy – recounting my personal story and answering questions from the audience. Includes biological, legal, bureaucratic and emotional aspects.
A film made about us: "Mommy Dearest" – Episode 3 (in Hebrew).
The Iranians who hacked me.
Told from the user's point of view (target/victim) of an Iranian cyber-attack named after me: The Thamar Reservoir. Practical, funny and scary.