September 22, 2019

Letters to the editor: Brian Williams, Mashadi Jews, Bibi and more

Take Notes, Brian Williams

Mesmerizing interview [with Itai Anghel] — I had no idea (“The Un-Brian,” Feb. 13; appeared online as “Itai Anghel: The Brave Israeli Interviewing ISIS, Kurdish Fighters in Syria”). It is as surreal for the reader to comprehend the humanity and strength in [Anghel] and the people he meets as it was surreal for him to realize that not all Syrians, non-Israelis and Jews were as he thought.

Blows my mind how he manages to talk to ISIS, to Gazans and to Kurds in such a complicated environment. 

He is the best example of a journalist, someone to emulate. Thank you for bringing us these stories. They matter.

Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of people can change the world, for they are all that ever has.”

Julie Jo Koehler via

Negotiating With Dictators

David Suissa is absolutely right (“Why Bibi Should Give the Speech,” Feb. 13). If U.S. President Barack Obama wanted to placate Israel’s fear of his upcoming deal with Iran, he should have put on the negotiating table also: (1) Iran must publicly retract threats against Israel and stop all future threats, (2) Iran must stop supporting Holocaust deniers, (3) Iran must stop all military support to Hamas and Hezbollah, and (4) stop meddling in other countries such as Yemen, Bahrain and Syria. With that, and eliminating the military nature of their nuclear program, will get Iran the gradual removal of all sanctions, based on verifiable milestones. Obama is afraid that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will bring up such logical plans during his speech to Congress. The world expects that the only superpower in the world should be able to negotiate from a strong position, and not capitulate to dictators.

Nahum Gat, Manhattan Beach


As a member of the Mashadi Jewish community of New York, I read with great interest Gina Nahai’s article about the Mashadi Jews in general, and the ones living in the Great Neck section in New York in particular (“One Nation is Many Nations,” Feb. 6).

Most of us Jews who grew up in Iran never felt a sense of belonging. We were not considered Iranians, even though we were born and raised there.

Growing up I was always told that we were living in Iran temporarily until we could be ready to move to our permanent home, wherever that might be. At the same time, it was always comforting to know that we belonged “somewhere.” That was the Mashadi community. It was comforting to be among others whose families, just like us, cared about keeping kosher homes, strict moral standards and marrying other Jews.

Things have sure changed a lot since our days in Tehran. Our children feel free to meet and marry others, as long as they are Jews. I myself have welcomed three beautiful Ashkenazi daughters-in-law into my family, and know of many Mashadi families with non-Mashadi additions.

As for “preferring” to marry other Mashadis, Nahai put it best herself during the Q-and-A after the showing of “Saffron and Rosewater” in New York, in which a few of her pieces were presented. When asked, “Why is it that the Jewish Iranians in Los Angeles keep to themselves and don’t want to socialize and marry other Jews?” she responded: “Who says the rest of the Los Angeles people are interested in socializing with and marrying us?”

Rozita Basalely, Great Neck, N.Y.

Giving Up the Chase

Great article (“The Singles Crisis: Let’s Support Singles for Relationship Success)! Being single is OK! But, for those who want a relationship and are still single, there is a way out. I myself was never in a relationship until the age of 30, and then decided to meet my limits and myself. It took me three years to finally figure it out. I am now married with two kids … and know for a fact that every one can find their other part if they use their inner courage.

Dan Timor via

Spreading the Love

David Yarus, Founder of dating app JSwipe via

More Thanks Are Due

We are deeply grateful to the Los Angeles Jewish Journal for highlighting our efforts at Kfar Zeitim — an Israeli boarding school for Charedi boys that combines Torah education with vocational skills training (“Will Israel’s Achievement Gap Stall the ‘Start-Up Nation?’ ” Feb. 6). We would like your readers to be aware that The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles leads the way in support for Kfar Zeitim. Through its farsighted vision, Federation has fostered Kfar Zeitim’s success. Its leadership in supporting this project has led to the expansion of this program. We are now replicating Kfar Zeitim’s approach in five other schools around Israel.

Edith Everett, Friends of Israel Sci-Tech Schools, President