What Was Lost & What Was Found – Part 2

13151719_10209643599265448_7551991565547268465_nSome journeys take you forward along the path of life, while others take you back, helping to form a different and better version of yourself, now somehow forever changed. The three days in Atlanta, whether reading my poem or just spending time with my mom and cousin Linda, did both: moving me forward, while at the same time circling me back upon myself. The experience helped blunt the edges of some painful memories, overlaying them with better ones. Continue reading

What Was Lost & What Was Found – Part 1

Rachel Child PhotoDeath was no stranger to me in childhood. It’s a simple truth, yet so much more lurks behind it. Attending my Great-Aunt Francie’s funeral is one of my earliest memories, and I’m pretty sure I went to about a funeral a year through high school, with Grandpa Phil dying my sophomore year and Grandma Esther my junior. By the time I met Doug, in the summer before senior year, I had no living grandparents. I dreaded funerals and took no comfort in the Mourner’s Kaddish, which I’d learned by heart when I was far, far too young. Continue reading

I’m Far from an Über Jew (Part 2)

Hamsa ColoringWhat Judaism, and specifically my Judaism, means to me has been something I’ve grappled with my entire life. I think it’s harder because Judaism isn’t just a religion, it’s a culture and heritage too. You’re never just from a country as other people would define their heritage—i.e., I’m Polish. No, for us, it’s always more specific—”my grandparents were Polish Jews”—because being Polish and descending from Jews who lived in Poland are not nearly the same thing. So many Jews living in the U.S. today share this duality and I think it makes it harder to figure out for ourselves what an “observant Jew” looks or acts like. Continue reading