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An Interview with Pardes Seleh (Part Two)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

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

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2017/10/22


An Interview with Pardes Seleh, B.S. She discusses: definition of God; God and family; bigotry and prejudice; the reverse perspective on it; and assuming knowledge.

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 Two)

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

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

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: You mentioned not following Orthodox Judaism at the moment. I imagine, though, the conceptualizations are the same or similar for you. What defines God to you?

Pardes Seleh: It depends on your definition of an Orthodox Jew. I do not practice it. In that, I do not believe in it as something for myself. I am having trouble with a lot of the core thinking. Most people will tell you Orthodox Judaism is defined by two things mainly. One is to keep Shabbat and the other is to keep Kosher. If you keep those two things, people will say you are an Orthodox Jew.

Some mean not using electricity. Somebody who doesn’t work, keeps Kosher always (never eats pork, and so on). There are so many laws associated with Shabbat and Kosher. When you’re Orthodox, you’ll likely only eat at a Kosher restaurant. That is a restaurant that has a Kosher certification that is defined by a Kosher certifying agency, like the OU.

In California, we have the Rabbinic Authority of California. In DC, it is something else for Greater Washington. There are different ones in different states, different Rabbinic councils. it is another way of saying that the two main qualifiers for Orthodox Judaism are eating Kosher and keeping Shabbat and also being Jewish means that your mother is Jewish, according to Orthodox Judaism.

2. Jacobsen: You mentioned God and family. What makes for stability and family structure? Does gender-specific schooling assist in this more than non-gender-specific schooling?

Seleh: I think so. I think for me it did. Being in a gender-specific school, it was just easier. We didn’t have the kind of problems that I would hear people say from public schools. We were all girls. We didn’t have to get makeup or our hair done to impress boys. We had a uniform. We all looked pretty much identical. We had to wear basically the same colored shoes and tights, navy blue skirts, and also the school had a uniform sal every year.

I benefitted a lot from the discipline. We had a lot of rules in our school growing up. In the Orthodox school I went to, so the rules at home, in community, in school, it does lead to a very disciplined lifestyle.

3. Jacobsen: Some might stereotype the isolationist community philosophy. From this, individuals from the isolated community might experience bigotry and prejudice. Any bigotry and prejudice experienced based on it?

Seleh: Even though now I am living in a more pluralistic community, I don’t mind the sense of the community, but I can see why some people may described it as bigotry and them as bigoted because in any isolationist community they are trying to keep outsiders out and their followers in. Music is harmful. The internet is harmful. Cable television is harmful. Secular literature is harmful. Anything that is not from the culture and community, the isolated one, is unnecessary contamination for them.

For them, it is a means of protecting themselves for what they see as a threat to their community structure. If it didn’t work that way, they wouldn’t exist. You could say it is bigotry, but I don’t think it is. I only say “bigotry” to speak in secular terms. It is setting up a wall. Their isolationism makes it so that their propaganda is not directed at anyone else except those inside the community.

So, anyone reacting to it is not being affected it because someone inside the community is reaching out and trying to harm them. Anyone affected negatively affected by someone in the community used to be part of the community and so have negative feelings about it, or they are engaging with those types of community members closely.

It is highly unlikely that if you have nothing to do with the community that they’ll have a negative effect on you. They are not spreading their protectionist views to those outside of the community. It is only meant for those ears inside of their own bubble. Anyone outside of the bubble should not be negatively affected by it. That’s why I don’t like to call it bigotry.

4. Jacobsen: The question that I had in mind was the reverse perspective. Not people outside of the community and looking in, seeing it as bigoted or oppressive, but someone in the isolationist community coming out of it and experiencing secular culture and then experiencing bigotry/prejudice from the secular culture, e.g., passive aggressive comments, inappropriate jokes, and so on, about the community that you grew up in.

Seleh: Someone like myself. I don’t believe in bigotry myself. They both do it. People in the bubble. People inside of it. Even outside of that bubble, there are bubbles within the secular world too. There will be negative comments from both sides from people who see me as too secular and others who see me as too much the product of my religious upbringing.

It is a lack of understanding on their part. Maybe, they don’t know my life well enough; maybe, they feel threatened by some views that I hold. I don’t see one side. Do I think people show bigotry because I grew up in a religious community? I do think people make negative comments, but, for me, they sound the same as the type of comments that would come out of the isolationist community in reverse. They are reactive comments.

“They are a threat to our culture.” It is a kind of culture war. They will direct them at me, when they do I think that they don’t understand my upbringing. Maybe, they don’t know where I am at. Maybe, they don’t want to see the nuances. There are so many different levels in others. It is not as black-and-white. In the isolationist community, there are different levels; that was one type of isolationist community.

The Orthodox community can be isolationist. The one in New York is another type. It is as much as the letter of the Law as the one I grew up in. I think there are all kinds of isolationist communities. In the political world, there are isolationists. Many conservatives and progressives are isolationist. I guess anyone who doesn’t want to allow themselves to be exposed to other views or lifestyles might be viewed as an isolationist.

Thinking that you can be harmed, that your lifestyle and views are in danger by simply being exposed to another lifestyle or view. It is all of the same concept. It is all the same kind of attitude; no matter the community that you’re a part of.

5. Jacobsen: It also might be a situation where you can ask the question, “Do you know my middle name?” They wouldn’t know. So, it would be extraordinarily myopic in terms of their knowledge about your own individual experience. They would assume to know so much about you. Yet, they probably couldn’t even name your middle name, as a case in point.

Seleh: There’s a saying in Farsi. My mom would say it to me all of the time: “Those who know, know and ask; those who don’t know, don’t knowand don’t ask.” If you feel secure in your own knowledge of things, then you don’t feel threated by asking more questions and wanting to know more. There are so many things to say off about that [Laughing].

My parents, despite having been raised in a very Orthodox community, bring a different perspective. In the home, they always encouraged us to know as much about the world as possible. They tried to keep us exposed to as many countries as much. We didn’t travel an insane amount, but we travel a decent amount. They wanted us to explore as much as possible.

So, I think we definitely have those values, even though we were not in an educational system that was not much into exploring. The idea of people who don’t know and don’t ask. I think it is not about how much you know, but about how much you want to know. People who are smart are generally people who are always learning more about new things.

There is never a cap to how much you can know about anything. There is always more to learn. When you set a standard for yourself, and a task for yourself, and you think you already know you think it is that you need know, you don’t think you need to be exposed to any information outside of what you know. As an individual, you think that you know everything.

You are setting yourself up for a disaster because of people outside your world. The knowledge outside of the bubble is big and growing. When you have a definite number next to infinity, it becomes zero because infinity can go on forever and that number simply shrinks smaller and smaller. If infinity reaches infinity [Laughing], then your definite number becomes so infinitely small that it [Laughing] might not reach zero, but it becomes almost zero.

There’s my humble philosophical thought for the day.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Seleh: Like my mom said, always ask questions, I think it’s my mom’s fault that I am like this [Laughing].

Jacobsen: [Laughing].


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  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
  44. Seleh, P. (2015, September 22). Republican Congressman Champion for Planned Parenthood. 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 22, 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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