New York, after Los Angeles, is home to the largest Persian-Jewish community in the U.S. We have more than 50 temples and about a dozen kosher stores. About two months ago we heard the rumors about Googoosh's return to the stage. Everyone was excited.
The NBC (Channel 4) station in New York did a 20-minute feature on her. Even my dad was talking about it and asked me to check on the Internet to see whether “this thing” was right or not.
When we went to the temple the following Saturday, people were also talking about the concert — but in a different tone. They were angry; they were against the kosher Persian stores advertising the Googoosh concert on their windows.
“It is a shame to go and see a singer who betrayed her friends,” someone said. Betray? Friends? I asked my dad what the hell was going on. And this was the answer I got after we came home:
Many years ago when Googoosh became a famous star in Iran, many Jews (those who could afford it) would hire her to sing at weddings and parties. But then something happened. Googoosh got a gift from a British member of parliament.
The gift? A little puppy with white hair. She loved the dog to death and used to take her wherever she went, including family weddings and parties.
Now why should a dog turn Jews against Googoosh? The problem is that Jews can not have pets where they eat or cook. In other words, they didn't like the idea of Googoosh walking around with this poppy in their house.
And it got even worse. When one of the Jewish hosts told her not to bring the dog, Googoosh refused. Turning down Jews for a puppy? That was the end of it. From then on she was forbidden to sing at Jewish homes.
But we all went to see her in one of the best concert halls in Long Island, New York. Many like myself don't care about these old BS stories. We grew up with her songs, with the way she dressed and the way she sang our lives.