Assimilation into Whiteness and Jewish Identity

Mya Jassey
May 9, 2022

Growing up on Long Island in New York, I became very familiar with the term “Jewish American Princess.”

JAP: a wealthy, bratty young girl who had a Bat Mitzvah party to turn her classmates green and the best camp friends to join. As a Jew on Long Island, I was expected to take on this role.

I certainly did not.

My mother is the first generation American daughter of Israeli immigrants, a Mizrachi father and a Sephardi mother. They named her Orna — light.

My father is the descendant of Polish and Romanian refugees. Those who managed to escape the Iași pogroms, then Nazi genocide, fled to Brooklyn and, naturally, opened kosher delis.

The funny thing is, all my Jewish peers had similar backgrounds of instability. So how would the children of a people who’ve been forever hunted and broken and taken from and given away, now be seen as privileged princesses?

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