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The articles in this issue have been divided upinto the following categories







Daniel Pearl book project

From: Judea and Ruth Pearl
Daniel Pearl Foundation
16161 Ventura Blvd, #671
Encino, Ca, 91436
email: (preferred contact)
fax (818) 789-6311 or 802-4575032

July 25, 2003

Dear Mr. Dangoor,
We are writing to you with the hope that you will be able to contribute your thoughts to a book project that we have initiated in honour of our son, Daniel Pearl, who was murdered last year in Pakistan.
We are working to create an inspirational book that will encourage people to reflect on Danny's last words: "I am Jewish" and what it means to them to say "I am Jewish." The book will be published by Jewish Lights Publishing under the title:
Personal Reflections Inspired by the Words of Daniel Pearl
As you know, many fellow Jews have been moved by Danny's last words in which he affirmed his Jewish identity. Many have also been inspired to reflect on, or analyze their feelings toward, their lives as Jews. Naturally, the interpretation of these words tends to vary widely with one's background, experience and beliefs.
The book is an attempt to capture this richness of interpretation and to further inspire fellow Jews to reflect upon and take pride in their identity. We are confident that, despite the diversity, the common denominators will shine through clearly and distinctly. We believe that the book will have a profound effect on the way Jewish youngsters will shape their identity in years to come. It is important, therefore, to include input from influential community leaders such as yourself, especially those representing the Iraqi Jewish community (as you may know, Danny's mother, Ruth Pearl (Rejwan), was born in Baghdad).
We hope that you will be able to provide your personal reflections on the theme "I Am Jewish" - anything from a sentence to several paragraphs to a short essay of 400 words.
The contributions will be integrated to provide a thought-provoking and inspiring diversity of opinion that we hope will lead to further discussion in the Jewish community in the U.S. and elsewhere. Royalties from the book will go to the Daniel Pearl Foundation ( which promotes cross-cultural understanding through journalism and music.
We hope that you will be interested in the challenge of being one of the invited contributors, who will include top scholars, actors, entertainers, artists, statesmen, authors, media personalities, business leaders, scientists, community leaders, rabbis, etc., covering the entire religious/professional/political spectrum.

Shimon Peres, Elie Wiesel, Alan Dershowitz, Ehud Barak, Kitty Dukakis,
Thomas Friedman, Edgar Bronfman, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,
Rabbi Harold Schulweis, Senator Joe Lieberman, Lawrence H. Summers,
Larry King, Kirk Douglas, Richard Dreyfuss, Nadine Gordimer,
Daniel Kahneman, Ephraim Kishon, Daniel Shorr, Lord Greville Janner,
Amos Oz, Avraham Burg, Senator Dianne Feinstein, David Horovitz,
Jamaica Kincaid, Malcolm Hohenlein, Bernard-Henry Levy, Ida
Haendel, Yefim Bronfman, Dr. Norman Lamm, Tovah Feldshuh,
Sylvia Boorstein, Deborah Lipstadt, Dr. Arno Penzias,
Julius Lester, Lynn Schusterman, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks,
Dr. David Hartman, Heather Munroe-Blum, Mike Wallace,
Bernard Lewis, A.B. Yehoshua and Rabbi Eric Yoffie are among those who have offered to contribute essays to this volume.
Each of these contributors will attempt to tell readers, from his/her own perspective, what "being Jewish" means to them. Readers would be particularly interested in learning how the ancient roots of Babylonian Jewry influence what comes to your mind when you say: "I am Jewish".
If you are interested in participating, we would kindly ask that you send us your piece by August 15. We realize the time is fairly short, but we are trying to make this book available early in 2004 in connection with Danny's second Yahrzeit memorials. The piece might be in the form of:

* personal feelings
* a statement of theology
* a personal story
* a historical reflection
It could even be something that you have previously published but which will add a rich dimension in this new context.
We, together with many readers-to-come, would very much value having your thoughts as part of this inspiring book.


Professor Judea Pearl

Ruth Pearl

Mr Dangoor prepared the following article for Daniel Pearl's book project

As Chosen People, we Jews have through the Ages had to suffer for god the wickedness of mankind. No crime can be more wicked than the treacherous murder of Daniel Pearl in the name of Islam. We were horrified and shocked at the time and now doubly so, having learned that his mother is of Iraqi origin born in Baghdad.
Militant Moslems divide the world into two parts – the house of Islam and the house
of war.
Peace loving people should meet this challenge by regarding the world as divided
between the House of Peace and the House of Terrorism.
The United Nations has failed in its promise to provide security, peace and stability
in the world. It should be overtaken by a new coalition called ONE WORLD open to nations that fight terrorism and the random accumulation of weapons of mass destruction.
While democratic rule should be encouraged throughout the world, the notion of the independent sovereign state should be brought to an end. Mineral wealth should be divided equitably among all nations.
The martyrdom of Daniel Pearl will not have been in vain.


Dear Mr. Dangoor,
Thanks you very much for sending your moving article to the Daniel Pearl book project.
It is reassuring to us to know that Jews around the world feel the way we do about the current conflict in the world and the fight to protect civilization from barbarism.
The publisher advised me, however, that your article falls outside the subject matter of the book, which aims to express personal reflections on the what ''being Jewish'' means to each contributing author. In other words we ask contributors to explain in modern terms why they prefer to educate their children as Jews, rather than assimilate.
As a leader of Babylonian jewry, whose historical roots go back to Ezra and Nechemia, we assume that you have unique interpretation for what ''being Jewish'' means to you and we would be glad to include an article of yours that expresses this unique interpretation.
Evidently, we did not explain the context of the book clearly in our original invitation - we apologize, and, consequently, we would like to extend the deadline for you till August 15.
We hope that, within this time frame, you would be able to write an article on the central theme of our book.
Thanking you in advance,

Dr. Judea Pearl
Daniel Pearl Foundation

Naim Dangoor writes:

Over 60 years ago, Adon Rosen who was my Hebrew teacher at Shamash School, informed the class that a new book in Hebrew appeared that year with the title "Mipne Ma Ani Yehudi" (for what reason I am a Jew). Mr. Rosen asked us to write an essay on that theme and, having thought hard, my essay consisted of ten words only: "I am a Jew because I was born a Jew". I thought that was the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Mr. Rosen was surprised by my contribution and after reading my short line to the class he commented: "if this is all that the grandson of the Chief Rabbi can state, who can blame other young people for not being able to say more".
On receiving the same request 70 years later from the Pearl family, I found myself faced with the same dilemma but I sent my contribution which was the result of 70 years added experience which I believe that Jews should be proud to realise that our function is to suffer for God the wickedness of mankind.
So, on further reflection I modified the title slightly to read "why I am (glad to be) a Jew", and I asked my eldest grandchild to provide the answer herself which I thought is most adequate. I am glad to say that all my grandchildren are strict observers of Judaism and very happy in their privilege lot.

The answer emailed to the Pearl family is as follows:

Article for Daniel Pearl Memorial Book

When I was a young boy a teacher at school asked me, "Why are you a Jew?" I, with all the practicality of youth I replied, "because I was born one!" There is however something in this sentiment which rings truer than one might think. Judaism is a birthright; a glorious gift from one's forefathers of faith, culture, and heritage. For me, it is this: my strong Babylonian heritage, the heritage which Daniel Pearl also shared, his mother being born in Baghdad, which makes me so proud to be a Jew.
Babylonia was one of the main birthplaces of the Jewish people, from where Abraham emerged as founder, and later from where the Babylonian Talmud, forming the framework for Rabbinic Judaism, was created. Its glorious Jewish intellectual eminence fanned out across the known world for over a thousand years. Currently the descendants of this tradition are spread throughout the globe, and it is for this reason, that I have revived the position of the Exilarch, and have published The Scribe, the Journal of Babylonian Jewry for over 30 years, in order to maintain and strengthen the legacy of our ancestors. As Chosen People, we Jews have through the Ages suffered for G-d the wickedness of mankind. No crime can be more wicked than the treacherous murder of Daniel Pearl in the name of Islam, just because of his being a Jew. However by standing true to the teaching and guidance of our forefathers, by sharing and strengthening the pride, and love with which they devoted themselves to our Jewish faith - This is how we overcome those that seek to destroy us.

Naim Dangoor

A reply to the above letter

Dear Mr. Dangoor,

Sorry for the late reply, I have been out of town for two weeks on a family emergency . Your revised article is a perfect match to our collection, and we thank you for helping us introduce the proud heritage of Babylonian Jewry into our modest collection. We look forward to seeing this book in print and perhaps working with you on additional projects in the future.

With best regards,

Dr. Judea Pearl
Daniel Pearl Foundation

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