Daniel Pearl book project
From: Judea and Ruth Pearl
Daniel Pearl Foundation
16161 Ventura Blvd, #671
Encino, Ca, 91436
email: firstname.lastname@example.org (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:
I AM JEWISH:
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 (V7vw.danielpearl.org) 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
Shimon Peres, Elie Wiesel, Alan Dershowitz, Ehud Barak,
Thomas Friedman, Edgar Bronfman, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,
Rabbi Harold Schulweis, Senator Joe Lieberman, Lawrence
Larry King, Kirk Douglas, Richard Dreyfuss, Nadine Gordimer,
Daniel Kahneman, Ephraim Kishon, Daniel Shorr, Lord Greville
Amos Oz, Avraham Burg, Senator Dianne Feinstein, David Horovitz,
Jamaica Kincaid, Malcolm Hohenlein, Bernard-Henry Levy,
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
* 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
Mr Dangoor prepared the following article for Daniel Pearl's
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
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
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
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
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
you would like to make any comments or contribute to The
Scribe please contact