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September 10, 2010


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Jen - you bring back memories of seders at Rita & Iz's house (they were Mr. & Mrs. S. to me then...) during my college years with your Mom. Such warm, wonderful people, so filled with love for your Mom and Aunt, and each other. And I remember the laughter. A wonderful home.

 Cynthia Kennedy

This is real nice!!! Good ole birbee and fuzzy. i still see him belly flopping into the pool.


This just makes me love you and miss you more.... I wish I could have partaken in your Rosh Hashanah celebration. Alas, my Jewish boss instead assigned me a project to work on (despite him knowing I too, am Jewish ;-)). I miss family (and friends who are like family)!

Danielle Davis

Nicely written Jen. I enjoyed reading it.


Can one of your new traditions be baking me ruggalah all the time?

Meadow Braun

jen, i love this! especially the laughter. i could almost hear it echoing in the room around me. i love the fact that you had a "script" and laughed at the same things year after year. and the flung potatoes! i don't know if it's a jewish thing, but we had some similar running jokes in my family. like at "christmas," my jewish grandmother and my mom would continually buy each other mundane items like sponges and dishtowels, each time unwrapping them and displaying the most overdone, phony appreciation, going on and on about how perfect it was, how much they had needed a new dishtowel. the laughs were better than any more expensive gift could have ever been.

i do have a theory, that maybe it is partly due to the forced/learned inclusiveness of a mixed family, the issues we have had to wade through, that opens us up to sort of mocking tradition even as we follow it. the humor in the fact that we were even celebrating christmas at all was probably not lost on any of us.

either way, here's to cherishing those memories and creating new traditions! since we have to do it anyway, we might as well embrace it. thank you for helping me do that:)


L'Shana Tova! Hope this turns out to be a very sweet year for you....

By the way, I see through friends that religious Jews are also always having to ask for special permission and having to remind people about the holidays and its prohibitions etc. in the workplace. (With the exception of educational institutions and a select professions/fields densely populated with religious Jews.) I am not going to say that your appearance had nothing to do with their decision, but probably if it did factor in, it was more slight than you might imagine. That's my take, anyway, as someone who is amongst those always asking for special treatment and permission for the holidays, foods, etc. I find that surprisingly, being a Jew and practicing Judaism is still a minority thing, even in New York.


Hi Jen,

You probably don't remember me, but I was in Professor Chang's class on Tuesday when you came in to speak about multiracial minorities. I am not multiracial, but I felt like I resonated with what you talked to us about, and with your blog post. I grew up in a Chinese family, I wouldn't say that my family is too traditional being amongst majority White Americans, or at least half of my family, but like traditional Chinese families we would always have family gatherings. Like you, family gatherings are my favorite, because my aunts, uncle, and cousins would all gather at my grandparents' house. However, what seems to stand out to me in my life, is besides my Chinese family, I feel like a minority in my everyday life, among the Chinese and American culture. I'm not sure if this really makes sense or even relates to your blog post, but ever since I was in elementary school I always saw myself as an American. It isn't until family gatherings that I feel 100% Chinese. It's wierd for me, because although I'm not multiracial I still feel pulled by both cultures. I'm guessing I'm trying ask, how would you define my situation?

I really enjoyed reading your post! :)


Daryl, thanks so much for your response! I totally understand what you are saying and I know many other people who feel similarly. You don't necessarily need to be multiracial in order to feel like you're straddling two different cultures. People have told me that they can relate to the mixed experience when they have life experiences like yours (two different cultures!), when parents are of two different religions, class backgrounds, etc. There are so many ways in which our identities can be complex and multifaceted. This is exactly why Swirl exists! To give voice to identity and all of its complexities. It's too simple to try and box any of us into one category. Too often we are a mixture (of cultures, religions, races, etc.). Great to hear from you. I hope you'll join in some of our events! If you'd like me to add you to our local list, please email me at jenchau@swirlinc.org!

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