Beshert | Finding My Tribe

I was raised in Downers Grove, Illinois—the kind of place with so few Jews that when someone found out I was Jewish, they’d always ask, “But you still celebrate Christmas, right?” No, we didn’t celebrate Christmas, but we weren’t super-observant either. We belonged to the only Reform temple in Chicago’s western suburbs in the early 70s. We celebrated the “big” holidays and loved Jewish food, but things like observing the Sabbath, keeping kosher, and studying Torah… not so much. I had green eyes. I was fair. I looked Irish. And yet, as my mother said, Jewish is Jewish, and if Hitler showed up in DuPage County, bacon in the fridge and almost blond hair wouldn’t fool him. When it was time for college, I applied, as did five hundred other kids in my high school class,...

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