One of my goals this year is to discover my roots. Perhaps by sharing my journey, it can help you (or inspire you!) to Discover Your Roots too. I am the descendant of so many fascinating people, a long line of DNA and story that I’m only beginning to uncover.
I grew up thousands of miles away from any sort of extended relatives for most of my life. Maybe that's one reason I crave more connection. Here’s the quick scoop:
My dad’s mom: Grandmama, and who I’m named after :) A Jewish immigrant from Eastern Europe and the daughter of an Orthodox Rabbi. I saw her pretty infrequently — but she was my favorite e-mail (& ICQ Messenger) buddy in the 90s :D She passed away a few years ago ❤️😞
My dad’s dad: Grandpa Bob. Mostly a mystery that my dad didn’t grow up with. We all met him once when I was too young to properly remember. He's since passed away, before I ever reached out to him ❤️😞 I’ve started connecting with a first cousin, a third cousin, and uncle that I never realized I had!
My mom’s mom: Grandma Ruth, who I’m named after with my middle name :) Born in Puerto Rico, and the side of the family I grew up knowing the best! She lives in Florida right now, and I miss her BUNCHES. If you've ever met her, you know she's the most adorable human on the planet!💖
My mom’s dad: Grandpa Rueben. Mexican descent (via Arizona). He died when my mom was twelve ❤️😞 I’ve only begun connecting with that side of the family this year! I think that's absolutely, wildly exciting.
I’m half Latina*, and half miscellaneous European/Ashkenazi Jewish. While my sense of identity is rooted in much more than those two halves, they are important parts of myself that I want to connect with and understand more deeply. This blog post is the introduction to that discovery!
Sometimes, I let the fact that my mother's not Jewish (the ever important question) and the fact that I wasn't raised within Judaism intimidated me. But not this year!
The second Sunday of every month, I’m going to blog about exploring my Jewish side. Judaism isn’t just a religion; it’s also DNA, ethnicity, culture, and shared history. I love how Reconstructing Judaism puts it: that Judaism is a “progressively evolving civilization.”
While Judaism is best experienced in community, sharing a car with Janet right now makes that a bit trickier to attend events/synagogue/etc. I’m also an introvert, which means often I don’t have the people points left over to go attend big social things with other humans.
This year, I’m going to see what I can explore through books, the lovely internet, and incorporating little pieces into my ordinary life. What will resonate? What will I learn in terms of my own history, modern Jewish views, and my own evolving relationship to the passing of time?
I hope you join me! Whether you are interested in exploring Judaism yourself, have (OR crave!) a well-rooted sense of connection to your heritage, or just want to cheer me along in this journey -- I’m glad you’re here :)
*ps. check back on YouTube the third Sunday of every month to LEARN SPANISH WITH ME!