We Arabic Jews

Read Sami Michael’s novel “Victoria” and tell me we were not Arab Jews. Read Albert Memmi, Naim Kattan, Sasson Somekh. Respect. It’s a no brainer. How could we live in what became Arab lands under Arab rule, for a thousand plus years without becoming Arabic? We were not Jewish Arabs but Arab Jews, as Albert Memmi unpacks in What is an Arab Jew? (“Jews And Arabs”). My parents were Arab Jews, from deeply rooted Iraqi and Egyptian Jewish communities predating the Muslim Conquest in the 7th century. My mom and dad, Khatoon Sharbani/Katie Sherbanee originally from Sharharaban on the Iraq/ Iran border, and Moussa/Maurice Wahba from Mansoura via Mitghram and further back, farmers, fellahin in Moust

As a Jew...

When I have to leave my synagogue because its progressive agenda includes distancing from Israel, I fear feeling something I thought I was done with once I got to the United States. Unlike my parents I never knew what it felt to belong to a country, to have a native language, a national anthem, a passport. Until her Iraq and his Egypt took their passports away. Jew became our nationality. I never had any other. Born in India but not Indian, Japan was home for twenty years until immigration to the USA. No, it was not possible to be naturalized by Japan. Dad tried to soften our statelessness by claiming we belonged to a respectable tribe of “Wandering Jews,” but without a passport we couldn’t

Rachel Wahba is a writer, psychotherapist, and co-founder of Olivia Travel/Companies. An Iraqi -Egyptian Jew, born in India, she grew up in Japan. 

The many dimensions of 

displacement and exile are a constant theme in her work as a writer, therapist, and in her activism as a Mizrahi Jew who grew up stateless. 

  • Facebook Basic Black

© Copyright 2015 Rachel Wahba Writer, Speaker, Psychotherapist