I Will Always Be Muslim and Jewish

I’ve long felt shame that I knew much more about my Muslim heritage than my Jewish side, but this year, I’m diving in. I don’t know how to read or write Hebrew. I haven’t memorized a single prayer. I am illiterate regarding Judaism, yet I’m Jewish — a truth I know with certainty. How I interpret and process […]

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Tiny Love Stories: ‘What the Ukrainian Grandmothers Have Written’

My sons in Dhaka, Bangladesh, for their Aqiqah, an Islamic tradition. It is usually done when a child is seven days old, but it can be done until puberty. Symbols of Hope Every 30 or so years, Ramadan and Passover coincide. My mother is Jewish; my father is Muslim. I was conflicted about my seemingly disparate religions, […]

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My Lithuanian Holocaust Survivor Grandmother—

BEFORE: Hot water burbled in samovars. You strolled cobblestone streets, clicking your heels. DURING: You sipped grass soup. Dug the ditch for your murdered mother. AFTER: You slaved stitching stockings in sweatshops. My alcoholic grandfather cracked open your skull with a cast-iron skillet. You danced at Roseland Ballroom, smelling of bleach and herring, wearing tangerine-colored wigs. You played Ken […]

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Bunks

I’ve heard all these years about the bunks and their hardness. I’ve never felt them. I’ve only heard their stories. But, now I’m in a bunk, and I probably shouldn’t be here. I’m breaking rules as usual. I want to feel what this hard surface feels like on my back. I am lying down, and […]

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Khan el-Khalili, White, Texas, Pink Enamel

Khan el-Khalili © 2010Until you have experienced Khan el-KhaliliSmack dab in the center of Al’Qahira, Cairo you have not livedThe heat in the summer and the excruciating bone cold of the winterYour fi ngers damp and cold to the touch in December and JanuaryAnd still sweat dripping from your forehead on those July daysSituated at […]

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Tasbih

Rosaries to melook like yoursBut ours are called tasbihsWe wear ours around our necks; we wrap them several times around our wristsThey come with us on appointments,They keep us company when we go to bed.Our rosaries are made of rare woods,from Syria, Turkey, and DubaiSome are made of translucent stones—grays and browns from such places […]

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