Monday, September 28, 2009
The Jewish Project
Dark hair. Dark eyes. Large rounded head, big bushy eyebrows and an angular nose.
These are my features.
Not embarrassing features in anyway. In fact, I love them. But, growing up, they were just enough to keep me from fitting the mold of the “soft, delicate, small-featured, bright-eyed” American girl.
The problem – my features weren’t blatant enough to explain my ethnicity either so I wasn’t able to celebrate my differences, only endure the status of outcast.
Let me guess, you did a double take on the pictures and asked “ethnic”? Yes, we are.
My family is from the farm country outside Belgrade in the old Republic of Yugoslavia. I grew up understanding we are Slovenian, however by location of our village we are technically Serbian. But, all that aside, we are also Jewish. Sephardim Baltic Jews to be exact.
The two villages my family members come from began immigrating to the States in the early 1900’s around the time of WWI. They settled in Illinois. The relocation continued for 30 years, but after Hitler’s regime was in full swing, not too much else could be found about my family.
And, although I could write volumes about the above paragraph, I must digress back to my original point.
I was not raised Jewish. In fact, my Slovenian family was strict Roman Catholic. As far as I can tell through research, many Jews in the Balkans converted to Catholicism in order to make a living, raise a family, and avoid anti-Semitic behavior.
This leads me to The Jewish Project.
Now that I’m older, have a family of my own and have learned to tame my eyebrows, I’m ready to celebrate my differences. I come from an extremely rich heritage, and want to be able to pass it onto my children.
So, here’s the project. I’m going to learn and blog about what it means to be Jewish. And, I mean everything: the language, the feasts of the Lord, the history, the future according to the word of God, and even a trip to Israel.
I invite you to join me on this adventure and remember, I know nothing!!! I’m starting from scratch here, so please throw grace my way if I mess up.
Let the adventure begin!