I’m tired of having to prove myself as a Sephardic Jew

(Denis Azarenko/Pixabay)

This story originally appeared on Alma.

My freshman year in college, I met a woman who identified as a Mizrahi Jew. When I told her I was Sephardic, she was shocked. Taking a look at my blonde hair and green eyes, she laughed. She didn’t mean it in a malicious way — I just did not conform to her stereotype of Sephardic Jews.

I was used to this reaction. While I was raised Jewish and feel incredibly Jewish — I had a bat mitzvah, I went to Jewish sleepaway camp, the list goes on — I’ve always felt like I have to prove myself because of the way I look and the fact that I’m adopted. I want to own all my identities — Jewish, Sephardic, adopted, French — but every time I have to validate my identity, it makes me feel a little less part of “the tribe.”

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