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• Rachel Wahba  // Rachel Wahba is an Egyptian Iraqi Jew born in India who grew up stateless in Japan. She is a psychotherapist in the Bay Area and co-founder of Olivia Travel.

12 Mar Posted by in • Rachel Wahba | 5 comments

Exquisitely Sweet Iraqi Haroset for Passover

Exquisitely Sweet Iraqi Haroset for Passover

Look in any good Middle Eastern or Arabic grocery store and they will have a jar of what we Iraqis call silan (“see-lan”), a syrup, made from dates. Iraqi dates deliver the thickest syrup.  When you mix finely ground walnuts with the silan (usually at around a 4:1 ratio of silan to dates) to thicken […]

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19 Jul Posted by in • Rachel Wahba | 12 comments

From Betty to Olivia

From Betty to Olivia

When “The Feminine Mystique,” Betty Freidan’s seminal book arrived in the mail, it turned me inside out. I expected a how-to book on glamour – a  feminine “mystique” – refining  the ancient art of Allure/Glamour/Gorgeousness – how to put on make-up and look sexy. Right? What else would an unsophisticated 22 year old new immigrant […]

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13 Mar Posted by in • Rachel Wahba | 3 comments

Love You?

Love You?

Whether it comes out of my mouth or anyone else’s “love you” has always bothered me. Something (or someone) is missing. Its as if the heart is engaged. Where’s the “I”?  What’s the problem? When it comes to words and how we use them, the Buddhist teacher Yvonne Rand comes to mind. I remember her […]

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07 Jan Posted by in • Rachel Wahba | 4 comments

Be Here Now (or Later)

Be Here Now (or Later)

Becca her bright eyes lit up by a precocious mind, had finally figured it out! For sure she would get me to see the way—The way out of quicksand-longing. I was going mad wanting to go back to a home so damaged I was still removing the splinters from my body. “Nana, if there were […]

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06 Oct Posted by in • Rachel Wahba | Comments Off on A Kaddish for Steve Jobs

A Kaddish for Steve Jobs

A Kaddish for Steve Jobs

Brilliant businessman geek of life filled our lives and blew our minds with miracle toys master of Factory City somewhere in Southern China where young and old get disfigured hands from repetitive motion assembly line humans making our lives fun waiting for iphone 4 all the i’s the workers dot using up their bodies we […]

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12 May Posted by in • Rachel Wahba | 14 comments

Random Thoughts on Language

Random Thoughts on Language

At dinner at our favorite Japanese restaurant, Daniel from Iran, a scholar of Jewish history and I, talk about words—words that are being used in “new” ways that irritate and annoy us. It is uncool to admit sheer unmitigated difficulty. What used to be difficult is now “challenging”. We define our emotional life as if […]

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06 Apr Posted by in • Rachel Wahba | 7 comments

Hitler Built Good Roads

Hitler Built Good Roads

Mother Joan of Arc with her big brown eyes looked at me with great compassion one afternoon as she guided me to the almost life size Jesus hanging on the cross. Pointing to the scroll above his crown of thorns, “Look” she said, “see, it says ‘King of the Jews’, He was a Jew. Like […]

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03 Mar Posted by in • Rachel Wahba | 14 comments

Granny’s Baghdad

Granny’s Baghdad

It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve heard their stories, my stateless roots need nourishment. My family has been my country, the stories fortify my identity. Today we are in the kitchen, Mom, Granny and me and my notebook. They are my captives as long as they are washing, chopping, cooking, preparing dinner. “So tell […]

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16 Feb Posted by in • Rachel Wahba | 5 comments

Where Are the Egyptian Jews?

Where Are the Egyptian Jews?

You will find no Jews in Tahrir Square. Or in Mansoura, where Grandfather Wahba had a drug store. I scan the architecture on CNN looking past the screaming demonstrators. I want to see Egypt, Dad’s Egypt, and imagine what he would be saying about the situation today, almost four years since he died. Egypt is […]

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03 Feb Posted by in • Rachel Wahba | 15 comments

Worse than The Farhud

Worse than The Farhud

“I survived Baghdad to get cancer”? Mom says ironically as we drive to one of the many medical appointments. We do most of our talking in the car, driving to and from the doctors. Today it is with a Dr. Rossman, a hypnotherapist highly recommended for his work with people struggling with life threatening illnesses. […]

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