SEX culture FAMILY interracial relationships classism careers depression homosexuality inheritance DECEPTION patriotism evil eye SUPERFICIALITY obligation KHASTEGARI religion immigration COMPETITION reputation shrewdness divorce SOLIDARITY violence acculturation SOCIETY education assimilation FRAUD psychological pressure COMMUNITY spirituality MARRIAGE double standards MONEY parents HYPOCRISY rebellion racism suicide ACCEPTANCE blind dates fetishes DRUGS secrets death rape faithfulness siblings discrimination survival HIGH EXPECTATIONS coming-of-age success MATERIALISM stigma emotional pressure food affairs illness SHABBAT physical abuse JEALOUSY therapy incest TOGETHERNESS feuds sexism synagogue rivalry addictions VIRGINITY artistic expression IMPOTENCE eating disorders obsessions COHESIVENESS sins LOVE HATE reason FRIENDS
“What’s in your lunchbox?” asks a young child in an introduction to The Gondi Lunchbox Project on YouTube. With a creative name drawn from the different foods Iranian children have in their lunchboxes when they go to school, The Gondi Lunchbox Project is a book in progress based on the acculturation process of Jewish Iranian Americans. Composed of individuals’ own voices and experiences, the book explores such subjects as racism, love, materialism, immigration, food, and more.
PAAIA, in collaboration with Gondi Lunchbox, is opening this “lunchbox” for all PAAIA members to make an anonymous or authored submission. The community at large—people of any race, religion, or culture— is invited to make submissions based on their interactions, relationships, or experiences with the Jewish Iranian American community.
Perhaps in a hundred years it won’t matter. Our progeny will be completely assimilated and the situations that terrorized our first generation’s 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 only be richer for it.
To a large extent, the submissions will determine the parameters of the book. 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 may just be the only chance you’ll get!
Our community needs it. Our grandchildren will want it. The anonymous, unglorified truth.
One culture. Countless experiences. What’s your story?
If you have one or more stories, essays, journal entries, poems, cartoons, or writings in whatever format – send them to Gondi Lunchbox! If you don’t want to write, you can be interviewed! Gondi Lunchbox is accepting non-fiction submissions in either English or Persian and authors can choose to use their own name, a pen name, or remain anonymous. Although it is not mandatory, authors are encouraged to provide their age and gender with their submissions, so that other readers can hear the different voices of this generation.
For questions/submissions please contact: SHAHRYAR BABADJOUNI