Jewish Journal

Nessah’s young professionals gave IDF warm heros welcome

by Karmel Melamed

December 31, 2008 | 8:40 pm

(From left) Nessah board member Simon Etehad, Rabbi Hillel Benchimol, Nessah board Member Bobby Zoleikhaeian. Photo by Karmel Melamed

On December 13th more than 300 Southern California Jews packed the Nessah Synagogue to pray and also to show their deepest gratitude to nearly 30 members of the Israel Defense Forces who were visiting Los Angeles courtesy of the F.I.D.F. I was present at the gathering and touched to see members of the local Iranian Jewish community not only giving these proud defenders of the State of Israel standing ovations but also personally thanking them for their service to protecting the Jewish people worldwide. The members of Nessah’s Young Professionals organized the event which was followed by a luncheon which honored the soldiers present and had the audience singing Israeli songs. “What makes these soldiers even more special is that in order to serve in their combat unit, each soldier had to obtain the express permission of each parent to sign up for the combat unit, said Simon Etehad, one of Nessah’s young professionals. “Even more compelling is the reason for which they had to obtain such express permission—each of these 28 soldiers had lost an immediate family member in the line of duty, while defending our Homeland”. Flags of Israel were draped in the luncheon area and an IDF solider sat at each table to chat with those in attendance about his or her experience on the front lines in Israel.

What truly warms my heart is the fact that both young and old Iranian American Jews many of whom suffered directly or indirectly at the hands of Iran’s current radical Islamic regime since 1979, now understand the importance of showing their appreciation for Israel’s military forces. These young members of the IDF not only protect our Jewish homeland but more importantly protect the rights of Jews living anywhere in the world to live in peace and free from genocide—including those near 20,000 Jews still living in Iran. We as Iranian American Jews know very well what the regime of the ayatollahs in Teheran could have done to our community had there been no State of Israel. We as Iranian American Jews owe a great deal of gratitude to both members of the IDF and U.S. military for protecting our freedoms in this chaotic world where radical Islamic extremists want to destroy our peaceful Judeo-Christian society of tolerance.

So kudos to Nessah Synagogue’s young professionals for organizing this special event and showing that we too Iranian Jews living in America understand the significance of supporting the Israel and its soldiers. No doubt those members of the IDF that were visiting Nessah and who have now returned to active duty in Gaza today know very well that the Iranian Jewish community in Southern California supports their efforts to bravely defend our rights as Jews live in peace in this world.


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Karmel Melamed is an internationally-published freelance journalist based in Southern California.

Since 2000, Melamed has specialized in covering the growing influential...

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