Broadening Representation of Jewish Life One Story at a TimePublished May 01, 2023
When I was in sixth grade, my Sunday school teacher had our class draw tally marks, filling sheets of paper. We covered the walls of our classroom with these pages. This was an exercise in empathy and designed to illustrate just how many Jews were murdered during the Holocaust. At twelve, I did not understand the concept of six million. But what I did understand was my connection to each tally mark.
However, I knew little about my Sephardic roots, growing up in a reform Ashkenazic community in New Orleans. We drove on the Sabbath and ate food that was not kosher. But when I was sixteen, my family moved back to our orthodox Syrian Jewish community in Brooklyn and, overnight, everything I had known changed.