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Iranian Jewish Life in Los Angeles: Past and Present

Saba Soomekh, Author

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Swipe Out Hunger: The Jewish Journal: A Typical Persian Girl?

The Jewish Journal is a publication that has been distributed in the L.A. area for decades. In January of 2016, Sumekh was featured on the cover of The Jewish Journal as a “Mensch” for her inspirational work with Swipe Out Hunger. The Mensch title is usually given to Jewish community members and leaders whose work greatly influences surrounding society. Sumekh was both honored and humbled by the Mensch title and the magazine cover, especially considering that she is a Sephardi woman of Iranian Jewish descent, and The Jewish Journal typically features an Ashkenazy Jewish narrative. As a Sephardi Jewish woman, being featured on the headlining cover of a renowned Jewish news magazine showed the great significance of Sumekh’s work and the fact that she was gaining attention from different parts of the Jewish community. Sumekh shared that she also felt an obligation to voice how she saw her upbringing and how that may resonate with other girls, both within her community and beyond it.

The Mensch article focused on Sumekh’s work as the CEO of Swipe Out Hunger in addition to her personal life as a leader within the Persian Jewish community. Sumekh was pleased with the article, yet felt its title, as “Not Your Typical Persian Girl” was not reflective of her identity as a Persian Jewish American woman. Sumekh took this as an opportunity to reclaim the title as a “typical Persian girl,” a choice that opened the doors for women in her community who, like Sumekh, want to redefine the status quo of who they can be their society.
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