Jewish and Persian Connections Mission

In response to statements emanating from the Middle East regarding nuclear threat to both the Jewish and Persian peoples, we seek to project an alternative voice on Jewish- Persian relations that disseminates knowledge about the historical and cultural ties between these two peoples, fosters friendship and openings for creative exchange, and contributes to the identity of adults and children of mixed Jewish and Persian ancestry.

Seeking Your Personal Stories and Intellectual Contributions!

Please submit your personal writings on the following topics:
a) Relationships between Persians and Jews
b) Raising a Persian Jewish child
C) Historical and/or current affairs between Persians and Jews/ Iran and Israel
D) Current Debate: Is the current conflict between Iran and Israel inherently tied into the Israeli- Palestinian conflict?

All submissions welcome including poetry, links and other recommendations. Please email any submissions to Authors are responsible for providing respectful, factually accurate, and fully citated submissions as a pre-requisite for inclusion. Articles should be a minimum of 2 paragraphs in length up to a maximum of 10 pages. Please use proper citation when referencing another writer or speaker. Assume no specific religious knowledge and explain all references to any religions. Translate all non-English words used, including Farsi, Hebrew, Arabic, Ladino or Yiddish. Writers wishing to anonymously post may use their first name only. Please send all submissions to All information outside of your submission will remain strictly confidential including your email and contact information. Thank you for your contributions!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Diva Dolls Make Their Hollywood Debut

The Jewish Daily Forward. ( 08/03/07

Over the past six years, Barbie, now 48, has been given a run for her money. The blond-haired, blue-eyed doll with impossible proportions has had to compete with Bratz, a collection of multicultural tweens with such names as Sasha and Jade. The impetus behind these dolls is an Iranian Jew by the name of Jasmin Larian whose father, Isaac, owns the company that puts out the line.

In 2000, Larian had a toy designer come over and present him with a few sketches. He was repulsed. To him, the oversized heads, bug eyes and short bodies — standard characteristics of the line — seemed awkward. But to his daughter Jasmin, then 11, the image was most certainly lovable. Six years later, Bratz — made up of Sasha, Jade, Yasmin and Cloe, all ambiguously multicultural — rival Barbie in toy sales, selling more than 100 million.

Now, Bratz’s popularity has culminated in a live-action film — set for release today — based on the dolls. In it, the character Yasmin, named after Jasmin, is a Hispanic Jewish teen living in Los Angeles, fully equipped with a bubbe played by Lainie Kazan.

For the film, Kazan, who is of mixed Ashkenazic and Sephardic heritage and is a grandmother in reality, said she used herself as inspiration.

“I did it with a Spanish accent, but with a little Yiddish thrown in,” she told The Shmooze.

As the only grandmother in the film, she is a source of comfort and wisdom for the teen characters.

Initially, Kazan was weary of the effect that the dolls, with their pouty lips and heavily lined eyes, would have on girls. “At first I wasn’t too happy about Bratz dolls; I thought the girls looked a little cheap. But this film has taken the image and turned it around.”

Kazan said that above all, the movie is quite moral, and pushes friendship, acceptance and the importance of embracing people from all backgrounds — no matter how different they look from Barbie.