Jewish Journal

Podcast & photo essay: Boteach vs. Prager at Nessah

by Karmel Melamed

March 8, 2008 | 11:32 am

The theme from the movie “Rocky” blasted through the main sanctuary at the Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills on Thursday March 6th with nearly 600 local Iranian Jews who came to witness a heated debate between author and television personality Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and syndicated Jewish radio talk show host Dennis Prager. Their debate focused on Boteach’s newest book “The Broken American Male”. Boteach’s argument was that American men nowadays don’t pay as much attention to the emotional needs of their wives and children. Instead he argued American men spend too much time watching sports on TV and porn on the Internet. He also said American men are often too caught up with making money and less focused on making the family work—a reason why some marriages fail and some children may not want to be at home. Prager argued that the problem may not lie with American men but perhaps with American society where the roles of men and women have been blurred since the feminist movement of the 1960s’ and 1970s’.

While I personally did not favor the arguments of either side, I was impressed with the large turnout of mostly younger Iranian Jewish professionals. You could even say Prager and Boteach were treated like celebrities by those in attendance as small groups huddled around them before and after the debate. Boteach had previously spoken at Nessah and has many fans in the community considering the fact that his father is an Iranian Jew. Prior to the debate, some in attendance enjoyed Sushi and Saki while mingling—after all, this was yet another opportunity for young Jewish singles to meet one another!

To listen to our podcast featuring Boteach and Prager’s views of young Iranian American Jews here

(Prager is a big celeb and hit with local Iranian Jews)

(Damn, Boteach loves to speak with his hands! photos by Karmel Melamed)

(Prager quietly writes his notes preparing for his rebutal to Boteach)

(Simon Etehad, head of Nessah’s young professionals group moderating the debate)

(The V.I.P. crowd enjoys sushi and saki before the debate)

(The main sanctuary at Nessah was packed with both young and old to listen to the debate)

(Despite their heated debate and difference in height, these guys get along great!)

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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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