Apr 12, 2016

Women Invited to Hear Sima Goel, Author of Fleeing the Hijab: A Jewish Woman’s Escape from Iran, at Spring Education Day

All women in the Jewish community are invited to attend a spring education event, hosted by the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County on Tuesday morning, May 10. The breakfast program will feature author Sima Goel, whose book, Fleeing the Hijab: A Jewish Woman’s Escape from Iran, chronicles her journey to achieve personal freedom. (see Goel’s bio below)

“This program will be a wonderful way to conclude our women’s philanthropy season,” said Janice Obuchowski, who is co-chairing the event with Karen Dern. “We are proud that we’ve been able to offer meaningful educational programs and host enlightening speakers throughout the year to discuss crucial and timely topics that are relevant to our Jewish community of women.”

Goel’s book tells the true story of her escape as a teenager through the Iranian desert to Pakistan, where she struggled to find a way to reach the West. Blacklisted by her school, forced by Ayatollah Khomeini to wear the hijab, and mourning the loss of innocent family members and friends murdered by the new regime, she realized she had to leave her birthplace and find a country where she could be free to pursue her dreams.

“We look forward to welcoming Sima Goel and hearing the inspiring story of her dangerous escape from Iran and her courageous journey to freedom,” said Karen Dern.

The event will be held at Federation’s Zinman Hall at 9901 Donna Klein Boulevard in Boca Raton. Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m., and the $45 couvert includes breakfast, with dietary laws observed. For additional information or to RSVP, women may call Frannie Watt at 561.852.6058 or email francescaw@bocafed.org.

The Dorothy Seaman Department of Women’s Philanthropy is a sisterhood built on shared Jewish values; a support network of encouragement and recognition; and a venue for learning, growing, bonding, advocating and celebrating. It is made up of strong and active women of all ages who are deeply committed to doing good locally, in Israel and around the world. Wells Fargo Private Bank is the generous sponsor of the Department.


Author Sima Goel's Fleeing the Hijab: A Jewish Woman's Escape from Iran is a vivid portrait of a dangerous journey made by two teenaged women through the Iranian desert to Pakistan, where, as homeless refugees, they struggled desperately to find some way to escape to the West.

Thirteen-year-old Sima had gone out into the streets of Shiraz to demonstrate for freedom from the Shah's rule but the new regime of the Ayatollah Khomeini was oppressive. The Ayatollah had decreed that all women in Iran must wear the hijab, whether they were Muslim, Jewish, Christian, or Bahá'í. The changes Ayatollah Khomeini's regime forced on the population were totally incompatible with Sima's ambitions and sense of personal freedom. Blacklisted by her school, unable to continue her studies, mourning the loss of innocent family members and friends murdered by the new regime, and forced to wear the hijab, she realized she had to leave her beloved birthplace and find a country where she could be free to follow her dreams.

This is not a book about religion, but there are precious nuggets of how Judaism was once lived, so beautifully, in Iran. And it is a book about faith: faith in God, abiding faith in a better tomorrow, and the profound understanding that faith in God demands that we do our best to make that tomorrow happen.

From the Foreword by Rabbi Dr. Reuven Bulka, C.M.:

Sima arrived in Canada, penniless, unable to speak either English or French, having no family members other than her sisters with whom she had travelled. Despite severe culture shock, she found the strength to do what it took to become a Canadian, and worked, scrimped and saved for her education. After many years, she became a successful professional, fulfilling the dream of freedom that had fuelled her youthful political protests, her flight into danger, her years of insecurity and her determination to help others.

Dr. Sima Goel has been practicing chiropractic since 1994. She obtained her wellness certification in 2006 and is currently working toward a degree in functional neurology. Dr. Goel gives workshops on optimum health and well-being and writes a weekly column on health and wellness for a local newspaper. Dr. Goel lives in Montreal, Canada, with her husband and her two teenage sons.