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An Interview with Pardes Seleh (Part One)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2017/10/08


An Interview with Pardes Seleh, B.S. She discusses: linguistics, geographic, and cultural family background; daily life for parents in Iran; core values of Orthodox Judaism; false claims about values of Orthodox Judaism; family background influence of personal development; definition of God; and stability and family structure.

Keywords: Campus Reform, Daily Wire, Independent Journal Review, Pardes Seleh, The Bruin Standard.

An Interview with Pardes Seleh, B.S.: Former Writer, Independent Journal Review; Former Staff Writer, Daily Wire; Former Editor-in-Chief, The Bruin Standard; Former California Campus Correspondent, Campus Reform (Part One)

*Footnotes in & after the interview, & citation style listing after the interview.*

*This interview has been edited for clarity and readability.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: In terms of geography, culture, and language, where does your familial background reside?

Pardes Seleh:My parents emigrated from the Islamic Republic of Iran to Los Angeles, California by way of Vienna, Austria in the 1980’s. My four siblings and I were raised speaking English and Farsi at home, and Hebrew and Spanish in school. We practice Orthodox Judaism.

2. Jacobsen: In the Islamic Republic of Iran, for your parents, what was daily life?

Seleh: From what they described, they both had very different lives, but they both lived in Tehran. They described it as very different from what it was like before the Revolution. It was more westernized. They went to cinemas. That was popular. Fashion was trending. Post-Revolution, there were different school systems and curricula being introduced for students.

Boys were being drafted into the army during The Gulf War. Their lives changed after it. It was then a question of when and how the children would be able to step out, when the parents would be able to send their children out of the country, e.g. avoid being drafted, be able to go to university outside of the country, and so on.

3. Jacobsen: What was the age kids were drafted?

Seleh: I believe 18-years-old. My father said as early as 13-years-old. In his school, they were taught to shoot. They have training for the army. All of the boys did, at his age. I don’t remember what age he said he was. The kids were taught at a young age. My mom was really young when it started. Her school, they had regular daily songs, which kids would sing. It would be songs that were anti-Shah and anti-United States. It was down with the USA, the “Great Satan,” and down with the Shah.

They both lived in Vienna first. You couldn’t get a visa to the US from Iran. They went to Vienna and got a visa from Vienna and moved from Austria to Los Angeles after that.

4. Jacobsen: What was their description of life comparing time in Iran and living in Vienna and in Los Angeles?

Seleh: They said it was simpler in Iran. My dad, he never once thought of living back in Iran. My mother wanted to go back to visit family members. Unless the situation changes, they may never go back. They said it was nice to have things simpler, which was different than Austria and the United States. There wasn’t a lot of mobility in people’s social classes.

Work wasn’t the biggest priority. There was one breadwinner for the home. Everything else was taken care of. It was a traditional lifestyle at home. They love LA.

5. Jacobsen: If practiced in the right way, what core values does Orthodox Judaism inculcate in adherents?

Seleh: I currently don’t practice Orthodox Judaism. The way I was raised. If followed properly, it would be the letter of the Law and following Rabbinic Statutes. That was the main thing that was emphasized. It was following the letter of the law as dictated by the Old Testament, but as interpreted by Rabbinic scholars. Their word was the last word. If you had a disagreement with something written in the Old Testament, it always goes by what the rabbinic scholars of the time interpret it to be.

6. Jacobsen: Some make false claims about values espoused by Orthodox Judaism. What individuals and groups tend to make false claims about Orthodox Judaism? What are the false values some claim Orthodox Judaism teaches and espouses?

Seleh: I think Orthodox Judaism is similar to other sects of Judaism. Even the Ultra-Orthodox community is isolated from the rest of the Jewish community because it is so isolated, people assume they are Liberal like other Jews. It is definitely a very communal religion, so it is like other sects of Judaism in that respect. To me, it is similar to Catholicism, more so than mainstream Judaism or the way mainstream Jews are.

7. Jacobsen: What are some of the complex social and cultural consequences of the differences in theology?

Seleh: There are so many. One example would be Orthodox Judaism saying, “We don’t eat certain meats because they are not Kosher. They don’t have a Kosher certification. They weren’t manufactured in a Kosher enough way.” The reason will be the Law, because this is what the Law says. If you further ask them, they will tell you more technicalities of the Law and why this doesn’t benefit you.

Liberal Judaism is more interpretive, “I do humanitarian things. I don’t hurt animals or eat animals in this certain way because God doesn’t want us to harm animals. The difference would be differences between the Catholic Church and Protestantism.

8. Jacobsen: How did the family background influence development for you?

Seleh: My siblings and I grew up in a traditional home centered on God and family. We attended gender-specific private schools with rigorous Yeshiva-centered curricula that focused mainly on biblical and scholarly Hebrew texts. Because of our religious and cultural influences combined with an isolationist community philosophy, we were somewhat immune to external contemporary influences evident in most American public schools. We were trained to plan for marriage from a very early age.

My parents tried to encourage us to become well rounded with extra-curricular activities such as travelling, music lessons, and physical sports. Sometimes I question whether my religious upbringing caused me to be naïve, characteristically awkward, and culturally unprepared for the ‘real world.’ However, I acknowledge that more than everything, it imbued my siblings and me with a sense of family structure and stability.


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  21. Seleh, P. (2015, September 25). Hillary Says Obamacare Is A ‘Moral Issue’, Americans Disagree. Retrieved from
  22. Seleh, P. (2015, November 4). Hillary Wants to Force Employers to Hire Ex-Cons. Retrieved from    
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  30. Seleh, P. (2015, October 17). Media Misrepresent ‘Gay Gene’ Study Without Contacting Lead Author. Retrieved from  
  31. Seleh, P. (2015, November 17). Mizzou Administration Refuses To Identify Swastika Pooper. Retrieved from
  32. Seleh, P. (2015, May 12). Mizzou dining services apologizes for employee’s ‘insensitive’ Cinco de Mayo costume. Retrieved from   
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  41. Seleh, P.  (2016, February 29). Prof. under investigation for sexual assault to continue teaching at UCLA. Retrieved from
  42. Seleh, P. (2015, April 15). Professor Tormented At Connecticut College For Criticizing Hamas. Retrieved from   
  43. Seleh, P. (2015, July 22). Protesters at UC Berkeley get nude for trees. Retrieved from   
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  46. Seleh, P. (2015, November 20). ‘Scream Queens’ Beats Up Antonin Scalia Physically. Retrieved from    
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  50. Seleh, P. (2015, April 8). SFSU President Leslie Wong Bans School-Funded Travel To Indiana. Retrieved from
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  56. Seleh, P. (2014, November 11). TruthRevolt Students Protest SJP, Supposedly Pro-Israel Groups Undercut. Retrieved from
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  58. Seleh, P. (2015, November 23). UC Berkeley housing co-op establishes safe space guidelines. Retrieved from
  59. Seleh, P. (2015, October 28). UC Berkeley study links economic inequality to climate change. Retrieved from
  60. Seleh, P. (2015, November 6). UC Files Amicus Brief Supporting Affirmative Action. Retrieved from  
  61. Seleh, P. (2015, November 10). UC Merced Attacker Was A Radical Muslim. The University, Police, and Media Covered It Up. Retrieved from
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  63. Seleh, P. (2015, April 22). UCLA Activist: “What’s Wrong with Death to America???”. Retrieved from  
  64. Seleh, P. (2014, December 11). UCLA Adds Cuba To Its List Of Study Abroad Programs. Retrieved from   
  65. Seleh, P. (2015, March 18). UCLA Chancellor Compares Anti-SJP Posters To Swastikas. Retrieved from   
  66. Seleh, P. (2014, November 24). UCLA Donor Reverses Decision To Pull Funds After Administration Bucks BDSe to Chancellor’s rejection of divestment resolution. Retrieved from  
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  81. Seleh, P. (2015, October 8). University of Toronto Dumps Transgender Bathrooms After Peeping Incidents. Retrieved from    
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  84. Seleh, P. (2015, October 8). Victims of Sharia Mandate Respond to Ben Carson’s Comments. Retrieved from
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  86. Seleh, P. (2015, September 22). Was McConnell’s Revote on the Iran Deal a Hoax?. Retrieved from

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Former Writer, Independent Journal Review; Former Staff Writer, Daily Wire; Former Editor-in-Chief, The Bruin Standard; Former California Campus Correspondent, Campus Reform.  

[2] Individual Publication Date: October 8, 2017 at; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2018 at

[3] Santa Monica College (2012-2014); B.S. (2014-2016), Human Biology and Society, University of California, Los Angeles; Lifeguard Instructor, American Red Cross.

[4] Photograph courtesy of Pardes Seleh.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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