Raised in Iran, a Roslyn woman gives back to her second home

Raised in Iran, a Roslyn woman gives back to her second home
(From l to r) North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth, Town Councilman Peter Zuckerman, Women's Honor Roll honoree Madeline Yousefzadeh and Town Clerk Wayne Wink.

As a Jewish girl growing up in Iran, Madeline Yousefzadeh didn’t encounter the discrimination she hears about from those in her home country today, she said.

“I had a sheltered life,” said Yousefzadeh, who now lives in Roslyn Harbor. She was raised in the 1950s and 1960s, before the nation’s 1979 revolution brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power.

Yousefzadeh, who came to the United States in 1969, said that disparity — between the Iran she remembers and the one she hears about — drives her to participate in community projects that improve the place she now calls home.

“When I look at what’s happening in Iran, when I hear about women who don’t have that many rights and can’t do too many things, somehow I feel like giving back and my community work is my way of giving back to the United States.”

Last Wednesday, that work was recognized by the Town of North Hempstead when Yousefzadeh was honored as one of 16 members of the 2017 May W. Newburger Women’s Honor Roll.

“I am proud to honor these outstanding women for their indispensable service to North Hempstead,” said Wayne Wink, the town clerk. “Each of these women reflects the best that our communities have to offer and we are proud to honor them for their work.”

After Yousefzadeh came to the United States, she spent three years in Columbia, Missouri, while her husband finished a doctorate in physics at the University of Missouri.

The couple then moved to Bayside, Queens, where Yousefzadeh’s husband received a job.

“Long Island was close; we have family in Long Island,” Yousefzadeh said.

The couple moved to Roslyn in 1984, around which time Yousefzadeh began her career as a real estate broker.

“I started real estate and within three weeks went to closing on an all-cash deal, and I sold a house,” she said.

In her spare time, Yousefzadeh has worked for several community organizations, many through her synagogue Beth Sholom, where she is an officer.

“Through United Jewish Appeal we do what is called ‘the fourth week,’” she said. “What we do is help people who are on low incomes and live week to week with their paycheck. By the time it comes to the fourth week of the month, they sometimes don’t have money for food, they don’t have money for essentials. We are collecting for them; we give to them.”

Yousefzadeh, a mother of three, also volunteers with the Iranian Mothers Association, a New York-based organization that raises awareness about the Jewish Iranian community.

“There’s a satisfaction in giving back,” she said. “You work and it’s rewarding, too. You feel a sense of accomplishment, a sense of not wasting time.”

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