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  • (What now?)

    This story, I think, begins with my grandmother, who survived the Holocaust, but not really. And so my mother and my aunt and I survived a life with my grandmother, but also not really.

    I have these snapshots of memory, and story, and the questions I did and didn’t ask. I remember my mother telling me about her own experiences of anti-Semitism, and that anti-Semitism was alive and well, breathing, thriving. HOW can that BE? I remember saying back to her. I remember my grandmother telling me, repeatedly, that if MY generation thought that the Holocaust couldn’t happen again, we were CRAZY.

    (What now?)

    I remember wanting justice – LONGING for justice - at such a young age.

    I wrote for a socialist newspaper. I registered voters. I marched with Jesse Jackson. I joined the Peace Corps. And I ALWAYS assumed all of this would make my grandmother proud. But it only made her anxious and upset and afraid. For a while I worked at a local abortion clinic, and she wouldn’t even speak to me.

    (What now?)

    I tried to explain to her that EVERYTHING I DID I DID BECAUSE OF WHAT SHE WENT THROUGH.

    But there was always this disconnect, because what was most important to her was being SAFE, and being safe meant being OBEDIENT, and being obedient meant NOT QUESTIONING AUTHORITY. When I was 6 years old, she called the police on me for going to the playground without her permission, to teach me a lesson.

    (What now?)

    I feel like there has ALWAYS been this tension, this tug of war inside of me - between being the good girl and being the revolutionary.

    Just last month I was at work, and this colleague was describing a friend’s relationship with money, and she said, “You know, she’s VERY JEWISH.” And all I could say to her was, “CAREFUL.”
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