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Pray for the Iranian Jews

'Pray for the Iranian Jews this Sabbath,' pleads the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and Iranian American Jewish Federation.

On the final Sabbath before 13 Jews in Iran go on trial, perhaps for their lives, Jews around the country and world are being asked to say special prayers for their brothers in Iran. The announcement was made jointly by The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and Iranian American Jewish Federation.

"It is the tradition on Shabbat to stand in front of the bima to announce to God and the congregation the presence of those who are in need of healing, blessing and rescue," stated John Fishel, president of the Jewish Federation.

"Let us all say a 'mi she-berakh' blessing this Sabbath for 13 of our fellow Jews in Iran who face execution in the coming week and who may be standing before God on this, their final Shabbat." Though no formal charges were made, the 13 Jews have been jailed since last March and have been accused of espionage, which could carry the death penalty upon conviction. In addition, the prisoners are being denied their own legal representation, one of the fundamental rights of due process.

"None of the aspects of this case are being handled in accordance with Iranian law, let alone international standards," stated Sam Kermanian, Secretary General of Iranian American Jewish Federation. "This is the most basic right of anybody accused of any crime. This is not an issue we can compromise on."

Iran's Jewish population, which numbered about 100,000 at its height, now stands in the neighborhood of 25,000, still the largest Jewish representation in the Middle East outside Israel, according to the New York Times. There are presently 35,000 Iranian Jews living in Los Angeles.

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