Roya Hakakian


Iran’s Jewish Rorschach Test

By Roya Hakakian

This past March, I stood alongside hundreds of others lining Madison Avenue to watch New York’s Persian Day Parade. I am not the parade-watching type, but nostalgia for the country of my birth at times moves me to behave in uncharacteristic ways, like cheering for mediocre trumpeters and papier-mâché monuments.Read More


Then They Came for the Bahai

By Roya Hakakian

In mastering the knowlege that even bigotry is relative and comes in gradations, I was a premature pupil. I learned this lesson when I was only 10.Read More


Purim as Queen Esther’s ‘Coming Out’

By Roya Hakakian

We don’t tend to think of holidays as occasions into which we grow, but that is, in part, what they are. Thirty years ago, as a child growing up in the shah’s Iran, Purim was just another holiday to me. Later, on my family’s departure from Tehran — when I was just beginning to understand the meaning of introspection — the joyRead More


Under the Veil of Iran’s Nuclear Aspirations

By Roya Hakakian

The Iran of May 2005 is, in some ways, looking very similar to the Iran of November 1979. Back then, when the American embassy in Tehran was seized by hardline university students, every other domestic issue was cast into oblivion. Nothing mattered more than the hostages. Nothing superseded the war with the “Great Satan.” The hostageRead More


The Fundamentals of an Iran in Exile

By Roya Hakakian

The diplomatic officer asked, for the third time, how I’d been persecuted as a Jew in Iran, as he leafed through my application for political asylum. But I said nothing.His stern tone, his fierce gaze demanded certainty, clarity and conviction — all the things that I could not find within. Sitting opposite him in his office at the AmericanRead More






    Find us on Facebook!
    • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
    • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
    • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
    • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
    • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
    • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
    • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
    • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
    • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
    • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
    • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
    • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
    • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
    • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
    • from-cache

    Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















    We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

    Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.