I’m tired of hearing it. I’m tired of being reminded everyday. I’m so tired
of being and classified. Most of all, I’m tired and fed up with ignorance and
You know what I mean? Do you get me man? I’ve been banging my head
against the wall for the past thirty years and I’m still the ugly ducking. Can
I’m so confused. I was even more confused when our rabbi said that there
are fundamental differences between the Persians and the “whites.”
The who? The what? Did he say white? I had to ask my friends. I’m still
dazed and confused. I didn’t know that I was a different color than my
friends who were born here.
I feel like I’ve lost my identity. I feel like I’ve lost my home—my center. I
feel like that I’ll never be able to visit my birthplace. I feel lost. But most of
all I feel unwanted.
Like the time when I was shopping in Westwood for new year cards. The
blond, green-eyed clerk was badmouthing her Jewish clients in the brightly
lit store in front of other customers. She then looked at my credit card and
exclaimed in a surprised voice: “Cohen, you’re a Cohen—you’re Jewish?
You don’t look Jewish.” I could only look in her green catty eyes and say
“yes”, vowing never to shop there again.
I’m the typical wondering Jew who is desperately trying to belong. One
who is searching for meaning, serenity and peace. I’m striving to give my
kids the promise of brighter future in the land of the free and the home of the
brave. I’m trying to educate people that bigotry and intolerance have no
place in the modern society.
My heart broke on a warm sunny day while vacationing with my family in
Dubai as I stood by the waters of the Persian Gulf. The captain of the small
passenger boat told me that he could take us to southern Iran—it would take
twenty minutes. My heart was aching to go back home even if just for a few
hours, but my American children were terrified. I don’t blame them. I knew
it would be taking a risk to step on the soil of an extremist Islamic country
without wearing the veil or the chador with a Jewish last name like Cohan.
So I just stood there on the dock and I cried silent tears for my lost world.