Off-Ramp® | Audio: How a singles column changed a Persian-Jewish girl's life | KPCC
To the Jewish-Iranian community, the rumor was double trouble. Any form of dating by teen-age girls is prohibited, and dating outside the faith. The majority of guests in attendance are Iranian Jews, with a couple of token " white" who is dancing seductively, who is drunk, and who is secretly dating. in their homes, it was simply assumed that Iranian-Jewish girls must be najeeb. When it comes to bisexual men and women, dating a man persian we strive to Jonas may not have been dating a girl for sex so for chat took place on a live.
I already felt guilty enough for their sacrifices. But when I received the welcome packet, I cried. The rules forbade any dress and behavior that could be construed as seductive — even bicycling. We girls were mere baby-making machines.
Every two years or so a genetic company would come to our school to collect our DNA for matchmaking purposes. Matchmakers would call the school after graduation or seminary to ask about our prayer habits and modesty. I never fit in.
Among my non-Orthodox extended family in L. My father had a beard and wore a black hat, and my mother wore a wig and modest clothing. In school, I was also the Other — a dark-skinned Persian among Ashkenazim.
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Where did I belong? The answer came inwhen I was in 10th grade. Our curriculum included a current events class. Of course, the L. Times, Newsweek and many other secular publications were far too un-kosher to be permissible, so I picked up a copy of the free Jewish Journal to keep myself updated on current events. Considering that 75 percent of the school day was Torah-based, which you read from right to left, I instinctively started reading the Journal from the back cover. The irony of Tinder originating in the Persian Jewish bubble is only obvious to insiders.
As the first test subjects of Tinder, the men in our community were being celebrated for their sexuality. For the women, what seemed like a turning point was just a manifestation of an already founded arrangement.
If you attend any given Shabbat dinner, fathers eagerly tease their year-old sons about the multitude of women they sleep with outside of the community. Uncles will make jokes about blonde hair and breast sizes and everyone will have a good laugh. While men are free to explore their sexuality, women are expected to settle down. Women who date within the community must maintain the appearance of virginity and consequently keep any sexcapades undisclosed.
No Sex In The Persian City
You will be whispered about at parties, and your virginal reputation will disappear. We can assume based on statistics alone that at least a percentage of young women in this community are engaging in sex and exploring sexuality. And, this community is not so conservative — in my experience, there are few now who believe that premarital sex is a religious sin. However, this is not the case for first-generation Iranian-Jewish women who are raised by immigrant parents and a community that does not encourage social independence and sexual experimentation.
Iranian-Jewish women are raised to be najeeb. The Persian word najeeb is translated as pure, sweet, and virginal. This word is used specifically for women when discussing virginity, or lack of sexual experience. A woman in the Iranian-Jewish community is supposed to be a virgin when she gets married. In addition, she is not supposed to have boyfriends and is only allowed to date with the intent of marriage. This word also connotes virginal qualities—those of a woman who is docile, domestic, sweet, and unknowing of the world.
The young women I interviewed all said their parents raised them to be najeeb. Many of the young women said sexuality was never discussed in their homes, it was simply assumed that Iranian-Jewish girls must be najeeb. While many of my interviewees' mothers never openly discussed the values and beliefs about sexuality with their daughters, all the young women knew what was considered proper behavior through comments their mothers had made.
Most of my interviewees are not virgins, even the ones whose mothers specifically discussed sexual matters with them. Many of my interviewees felt that maintaining their virginity was an outdated belief and, because many young women are getting married at a later age, that remaining a virgin was not only unnecessary but nearly impossible. The main reason why mothers told their daughters they must be najeeb is fear of their daughters getting a bad reputation in the Iranian-Jewish community.
Rebecca, a year-old student, said that her mother discussed the proper way for her to act. It matters what they think; you are always in the public eye. Parents want to ensure that their daughters do not get a bad reputation, because it can ruin their chances of marriage and tarnish the family name.
Iranian-Jewish Values The concept of an unmarried woman being najeeb is so important for Iranian Jews that traits that are valued in American culture such as independence are seen as a threat to her najeebness.
Typically, American parents teach their children to be self-reliant, and the children grow up and move out, establishing households of their own. In contrast, the traditional Iranian-Jewish family is characterized by role prescriptions, family obligations, hierarchal relations, intense emotional expressiveness, and collectivist values. These values contrast sharply with the emphasis on individualism, self-sufficiency, egalitarianism, and self-development in mainstream American culture.
Immigrant children tend to quickly adopt American values and standards, which can create great schisms and challenges to parental control and authority. One trait many of the interviewees appropriated from American culture is the desire for more independence. However, the prevailing belief in the Iranian-Jewish community holds that if a woman shows any sign of independence from her family, such as wanting to move away to college or live on her own before marriage, it is assumed that she is not najeeb, and she is immediately stigmatized.
While the idea of a young woman living on her own is new for many immigrant communities, in America after World War II, it become increasingly common for adult children to move out of their parents' home before marriage. The trend continued throughout the s and s.
By the s, this new life course pattern had become normative for young adults. This new pattern changed the relationships between parents and children, since premarital residential independence reduces parental influence over the daily lives of their children. Whether it is the fear of waning influence on their daughter's life, a fear of community gossip about their daughter's najeebness, or a fear that the community will assume there is something wrong with the family that has caused their daughter to move away from them, parents do not encourage or allow their daughters to live on their own before marriage.