As Selichot signals the opening of the doors for the High Holidays, it is only appropriate that Congregation Anshai Torah (CAT) will celebrate the 65th birthday of one of CAT’s shining stars, Farzin Bakhshian, beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9, before Selichot services. During the celebration, Chazanit Natalia Arazi, who will be featured at Congregation Anshai Torah’s Shabbat and the Conservative Community Selichot services that weekend, will perform in Bakhshian’s honor.
“This setting will provide us with the opportunity to express our collective appreciation and gratitude to Farzin for we are him. His charming personality reflects the warmth and welcoming nature that has become the trademark of Anshai Torah,” said CAT’s Rabbi Stefan Weinberg.
Known for his endearing smile and his humble demeanor, Bakhshian has welcomed every bar and bat mitzvah family to the bimah for a quarter of a century. He arranges aliyot, he stands by as those with honors ascend the bimah and he always ensures each family’s needs are lovingly cared for.
“I have turned to Farzin for support on many occasions as, through all the traits that define him, he represents the absolute ideal for a rabbi fortunate to have an assistant, a gabbai,” Weinberg said.
Baby namings, anniversaries, aufrufs and many other special occasions represent the numerous moments Anshai Torah’s membership has shared with and entrusted to Bakhshian. In addition to his gabbai and ritual committee chair duties, he reads Torah every Monday and Thursday mornings at the Shacharit minyans and also often on Shabbat mornings.
“I came to the ritual committee for a two-year commitment. Two turned into 25 in a blink but I enjoy it. I enjoy our congregation and our people. Working with my rabbis, my ‘bosses,’ my own faith is reinforced all the time,” said Bakhshian.
He added, “I get a closeup to all of the smiles in the midst of nachas,” he said, “and it’s an honor to be a part of the true beauty that was created and that has grown for Anshai Torah.”
Bakhshian’s grandfathers, of blessed memory, both read Torah for their congregations before passing away while he was very young; he says it must be in his genes. Praying, for him, is about coming together for the comfort or healing of our own hearts or those of others nearby.
“Hashem doesn’t need our prayers. We need Him close to give them up. My role is to make that moment warm to the heart. If you leave our shul with peace, that’s why we’re here. All I want is for those who come through our doors to feel this is a second home to them, a place of comfort.”
Anshai indeed is Bakhshian’s second home. The first is that which he shares with his wife of 37 years, Mojgan. The two are parents to Jonathan (Shea), Kayla and Jacob and look forward to the arrival, G-d willing, of their first grandchild this fall.
Born in Iran, Bakhshian is the son of Nahid and Nosrat, both of blessed memory, and the brother of Fari, Bobby and Kathy. He moved to Dallas 43 years ago. He graudated from Rochester Institute of Technology, where he studied printing, his family’s business. In 1979, Bakhshian and his family opened SixB Labels Corporation, which specializes in labels, decals and bar codes in Dallas.
“Farzin is a guiding light with the knowledge of many people and his warmth and kindness put people at ease,” said Beth Berk, CAT’s board president. “He is the definition of grace under pressure and he manages with a smile on his face. I’m blessed to work with him, but even more fortunate to call him a friend.”
“We shall forever be indebted to Farzin and Mojgan for the role they continue to play in helping to create our shul, one that so reflects the character of this special family,” said Weinberg. “May God bless Farzin and the whole Bakhshian family with many more wonderful years enjoyed in good health and happiness.”
To share in celebrating Bakhshian, make a contribution in his honor or provide a mazel tov message, visit anshaitorah.org/event/farzin-bakhshian-celebration.html.