Gay marriage, Persian tragedy, Israel @ 60

Elias Eshaghian

Your story about Elias Eshaghian’s memoirs is a worthy reminder of the powerful commitment to education that Persian Jews brought with them to Los Angeles (“Memoir Recalls Educator’s Hardships, Success in Iran,” June 20).

As head of a Jewish day school, where a significant minority of students are of Persian background (at this point second and even third generation), I have seen firsthand this community’s warmth, as well as its determination to acculturate and participate fully in the larger community, while maintaining its sense of tradition.

As Persian, Ashkenazi and Sephardi children play, learn and grow up to achieve together in Jewish and secular institutions in America, clearly they are building on a foundation laid for them by Eshaghian and others like him.

Rabbi Laurence Scheindlin
Headmaster, Sinai Akiba Academy


Rob Eshman wrote that during his visit to Sderot, “it became clear that the residents of Sderot reserve their anger for their government and for their fellow citizens” (“In Sderot,” June 13).

Unfortunately, Eshman did not mention one of the main causes for this anger: the increasing awareness that there is a better solution to the missile attack problem than either invading enemy territory or continuing to just accept the attacks. The better approach is to rapidly install an effective and currently available anti-missile system near Sderot.

It is hard to imagine that not a single person mentioned this possibility during Eshman’s visit, since Ha’aretz reported that in March 2008, a group of Sderot residents petitioned the Jerusalem District Court against the defense minister, requesting that the court instruct the minister “to install and operate in the city of Sderot, within six months from today, the laser-based intercept system (known as Nautilus).”

The Nautilus system (known as THEL in the United States) was jointly developed by the United States (Northrop Grumman Corp.) and Israel and very successfully tested against Katyusha rockets and mortar shells. In early 2007, the developer offered to put a system in place within 18 months to defend Sderot. After initially rejecting the idea, the Israeli government has recently begun more serious consideration.

The Jewish Journal missed an opportunity to inform Los Angeles readers concerned about Sderot, and Israeli security more generally, that there is a better option than invasion or indefinite acceptance of vulnerability to missile attack. Readers can learn more about this option from the Israel Missile Defense Association’s excellent Web site at

Carl Sunshine
via e-mail

Israel at 60

Judea Pearl’s “Israel at 60: Confronting Denial” (June 20) is so true and so sad, too. We are talking about American newspapers who left truth, fairness and objectivity behind.

I thank Pearl for his article. It should be read by all.

Batya Dagan
Los Angeles

A Persian Tragedy

David Suissa, let me quote your own words from your article, “A Persian Tragedy” (June 13): “Speech has been compared to an arrow: once the words are released, like an arrow, they cannot be recalled, the harm they do cannot be stopped, and the harm they do cannot always be predicted, for words like arrows often go astray.”

It seems like you don’t consider your words and writings as “speech.”

You wrote: “I came to this story and met Dora and her family….”

Have you met Bianca’s family? Why not?

I think it would have been prudent for you to meet Bianca’s family, too.

Hersel Babajoni

Just wanted to let you know that David Suissa’s entire article has been translated word [for] word in a Farsi magazine by the name of Tehran Magazine.

Thank you for such a beautiful and powerful article that will continue to inform and educate the people of this community.

Your words went beyond language barriers, as well as religious groups. It will reach everyone. Thank you.

Jasmine Afrahim
Los Angeles

Same-Sex Marriage

Watching the first legal gay marriage in Los Angeles be between two Jewish women, with their rabbi and their Jewish lawyer, fills me with extraordinary pride as a Jew (“Same-Sex Marriages and the Fabric of Society: What Does It All Mean?” June 20).

Our people have been at the forefront of this civil rights battle, just as Jews were at the forefront of black civil rights, women’s rights and so many other vital causes. In a few years, when society looks back with amazement that there was ever an issue about gay marriage, Jews will be able to stand up with pride to say that we were once again the vanguard of human rights.

This entire country should thank our rabbinic leaders, such as Denise Eger, for standing for morality, dignity and justice. Once again, we can take enormous pride in being Jews.

Grant Arthur Gochin