We are, to say the least, an interesting people. We are the sons and daughters of Isaac and Rebecca, the heirs of the greatest empire the world has seen, and relics of a revolution that uprooted us from a desert oasis and re-earthed us in the land of the free . . . a revolution that re-routed our destinies and changed our lives forever.
There is no one story to explain our collective experience and, yet, there is something which we all share. An understanding as to what it is to be a Jewish-Iranian American.
Think of the tales our grandparents tell us at the Shabbat dinner table: nine year-old brides, 80 year-old feuds, love, and betrayal. It's enough to inspire a novel and thank G-d, in recent years, it has.
But another story has not been told. YOURS. It is the tale of being raised in America as a Jew of Iranian descent.
It is about culture shock and assimilation.
It is about being a first-generation American at the turn of the millennium.
It is about leading a double life, giving in to the demands of others, or taking your non-conformity to the grave.
It is about clashing, reconciling, and, hopefully, finding yourself in the end.
Perhaps in a hundred years it won't matter. Our progeny will be completely assimilated and the situations that terrorized our first generation lives (think: heavy accents, heavier cologne, and getting parental permission to wax your eyebrows) will just be something to laugh at.
But the stories of our lives deserve to be heard, shared, and recorded. And if, in the process, we have a couple of laughs (or cries) sharing our tales with each other, well, then, our lives will just be the richer for it.
If you have one or more stories, essays, journal entries, poems, cartoons, or writings in whatever format – send them to us! We are taking non-fiction submissions – authored or anonymous, in English or Persian – for publication.
Feel free to change names for privacy. Give as much (or little) biographical information as you wish but please indicate what information about yourself you do or do not wish to have published. Also, although it is not mandatory, we would greatly appreciate knowing your appropriate age so other readers can "hear" the different voices of the generation. However, no contact information or return address is necessary (i.e., if you are making an anonymous submission). Of course, if you'd like the recognition you deserve or wish to use a pen name, that's fine too.
To a large extent, your submissions will determine the parameters of our book. After all, we want it to be about you . . . about all of us, without any restrictions. Some brainstorming topics are family, in-laws, parental restrictions, "khastegari," dating, marriage, sex, double-standards, immigrating to America . . . you get the picture. Please be as serious, funny, or explicit as you want.
Just tell your story, tell it straight up, and tell it like it is. Because it just may be the only chance you'll get!
Send submissions to:
The Gondi Lunchbox Project
P.O. Box 67948
Century City, CA 90067-0998
Please note that by sending us your submission, you are allowing us to reprint your submission without receiving compensation (i.e., you are giving us a release). If you would like the opportunity to approve any editing, please provide your contact information with your submission.
Please feel free to pass this e-mail along to other members of our community.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Nazanin and Ninaz