Jan Perry Interview

Jan Perry represents the ninth district on the Los Angeles City Council.

She plans to run for mayor in 2013.

We talk by phone Friday morning.

Here’s a transcript of the parts of the interview I find most interesting:

Luke: “Do you have heroes?”

Jan, without any hesitation: “Yeah. My parents.”

“While they grew up in a segregated country, they were still optimistic and patriotic. They pursued the American dream with great vigor.”

Luke: “Why did you choose to major in journalism?”

Jan: “I like writing, I like reading, and I like getting at the truth… I like considering not only my beliefs, but I like to analyze the beliefs of others.”

Luke: “When you look back on your life, what are the most momentous decisions you’ve made?”

Jan: “Go to college. Get married. Have a child. And to run for office.”

Luke: “Tell me about your religious journey.”

Jan: “I’m not sure what you mean by that.”

Luke: “Well, I’ll tell you mine in 30 seconds.”

Jan: “Yeah. Help me out here.”

Luke: “My father’s a preacher. I was raised the son of a Seventh-Day Adventist Christian evangelist… In my teens, I became an atheist and explored communism and different ways of looking at life. I ended up converting to Orthodox Judaism.

“What motivated your journey to Judaism?”

Jan: “To fill a void. To understand who I am as a woman and to do so in a manner grounded in basic tradition and forthright belief. I don’t know. It’s hard to explain. It all goes back to defining one’s belief system and looking for a framework to live it.”

Luke: “Many people hear Judaism’s teachings and say ah hah, that’s how I’ve always believed. Yes! Yes!”

Jan: “Yeah. That’s a good way to put it. You find a place where you belong.”

Luke: “You have these inchoate feelings and beliefs and Judaism makes them concrete and clear.”


About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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