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, May 17, 2007

Mom, They're Staring at You

Jackie Levin. Sep 15 2006 ( Accessed May 17, 2007.

“There’s something I’d like to get off my chest here because it’s been a real crowd-pleaser these days. [pause] I’m Iranian ... and Jewish! Now, I know what you’re all thinking: ‘Should I hate him ... or hate him?’” — comedian Dan Ahdoot.

Like the very funny Mr. Ahdoot, I, too, am an Iranian Jew. Given the current state of global affairs, I realize this combination sounds about as likely as Tom Cruise’s return to Earth or Mel Gibson advocating Zionism, but alas, it is true. There are all of about, say, six of us in the world — but we do exist.

Being an Iranian Jew is a difficult situation to be in, mainly because of all the internal conflicts that arise from it. For instance, should I enrich uranium or my wallet? Rice or couscous? Turban or yarmulke? But the toughest part of being an Iranian Jew isn’t so much hating yourself as it is surviving as the first generation child of Iranian Jewish parents — or F.O.B.s, as I more affectionately like to call them. [If you are unfamiliar with the term, an F.O.B. is someone who is “Fresh Off the Boat” — an immigrant, to be precise.] Talk about a double-whammy. My parents are Jewish ... and Middle Eastern! If you take your most overprotective Jewish mother and times her by a thousand, you might begin to have an idea of what I’m talking about here.

I have friends from countries like ... England ... who try to convince me they are the children of F.O.B.s. I tell them that being an F.O.B.-child in America is much like being a war veteran — it’s traumatic, disquieting and disturbing on all levels —and not something that can just be arbitrarily claimed. It is a title which must be earned. If your parents can speak clear, unaccented English, you are probably not the child of F.O.B.s. If your parents know who Jimi Hendrix is, you are probably not the child of F.O.B.s. And if your mother was a member of the PTA, you are probably not the child of F.O.B.s.

But just in case there is still any confusion, I have come up with a guide in determining whether or not you are the child of F.O.B.s.

You know you are a F.O.B.-child if ...

... if your parents always let you do whatever you wanted in high school ... as long as you were doing it with other kids of your ethnic group.

“Vhat? You are coming home at te-ree AM? You are heetch-hiking vit some te-ruck derivers? Dey are offering you co-cane? ... Ohh, ohh, ohkay. As long as Fariba’s parents said ees okay, too. See you later, darleeng.”

... if your mother never liked that one white friend of yours who insisted on calling her by her first name.

“Hi Parveen! I love your new hairdo. What’s new??” “No-teeng, Brittany. Um, vhat a nice, um, tattoo you have.”

...if your parents never drove you to school.

“In EE-ron, I had to valk tventy-four keelometers on hot sand to get to es-chool! Vhat is dees ‘car-pool’?? Did Brittany teach you dees!? You valk!”

...if your parents don’t have a clue about modern technology and/or the internet.

“Ask Goo-gel if he has Prada dress in size nine!” “Ask Vikipedia how much sugar for baklava.” “I pressed the es-pace bar! Vhy com-pu-ter no turn on?”

... if, as a girl, your dad threatens to beat you for dating, yet slips your older brother twenties for strip clubs.

“Young lady, you date vhen you are married!” “Es-steven, get von vit big be-reasts.”

...if your parents talk loudly and indiscriminately about other people in public places, not caring and/or realizing if they are overheard.

“Ja-kee, your mo-ther says dat girl looks like vhite te-rash! And she theenks her Cha-nel bag is fake! Vhat you theenk?”

... if your parents misuse common phrases in horrifying ways, and almost always in conversation with your friends.

“Alex, you look so built up! Have you been leef-teeng irons? I can see you vere pumping it out!”

...if your dad only values math and science classes.

... if your house smells like Sangam at dinner time.

... if your mom decks out in designer clothing and furs on a ten minute jaunt to the supermarket “just in case” she runs into other members of your ethnic community.

... if you told your friends your dad was related to Saddam. Not to be funny, but because it might be true.

... if your friends believed you.

... if your mom has tried using coupons at the Dollar Tree.

... if your parents answer your private cellular phone as though it were a main house line.

... if your mom would be just as happy if you got your MRS. as she would be if you got your M.D. or phD.

... if family reunions resemble Al-Qaeda gatherings.

... if everything is compared to how it was in the “mother country.”

... if your parents love America, but hate everyone here.

If you have personally experienced any of these particular traumas, or worse, Congratulations: you probably are the child of F.O.B.s!

So the next time your mother tries to haggle at The Gap or your father declares any male friend of yours with an earring “gay,” and you’re left sitting there fantasizing about different ways to die, just remember: being a F.O.B.-child is not without its advantages. Chances are you’re multi-lingual, which is very cool, and you probably get to travel to different countries to visit relatives who are still O.B. (On the Boat). And, best of all, if you’re lucky, your culture probably comes along with some pretty decent food.

So cheer up! Things could have been a lot worse.

We could have been Canadian.

Jackie Levin is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at Everything In Its Right Place appears alternate Fridays.