1st chapter, paragraph 1

My ancestors were good, religious Jews, a proud and stalwart people from Russia and Eastern Europe who in my grandparent’s generation immigrated to America. Residing in Jewish tenements near the East River in turn-of-the-century New York City, my relatives remained immersed in Old World Jewish tradition. My maternal great-grandfather was a Hebrew scholar. I was expected to marry a good Jewish boy, and, yes, a doctor would be nice. Yet in spite of their strong Jewish heritage, the religious beliefs of those in my parent’s generation broke down when long-held traditions and sacred ritual melded into intellectual pursuit. We became cultural Jews.

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