• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 01
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The Tiny Island I Grew Up On

I grew up on this tiny little island where Jews
streamed down sidewalks on sweltering days
of summer to celebrate the Sabbath in synagogue.

Mothers and daughters in long-sleeved blouses
tucked in skirts hemmed well below their knees,
hair covered by scarves, showing humility to God.

Fathers in black jackets, long bushy beards,
their sons in crisp black pants, white shirts
and shiny black shoes, yarmulkas clipped to

their hair, curls of their peyot twirling as they
sped ahead of the group. I grew up on this
tiny little island where deli doors opened to

sweet scents of fresh bagels and blintzes,
knishes and challahs, customers kibbitizing
about families and friends while waiting for

their orders. I moved off that island a long
time ago, lived places where few Jews are
known except for those on TV, where all Jews

are thought of as rich and the same. Where
we were all doctors and lawyers and dirty and
cheap. Where bagels were fresh from the

freezer and reheated in microwaves. Where
I was forgiven for being a Jew. I loved learning
about cultures of other islands. The holidays,


The Tiny Island I Grew Up On

traditions, foods, and songs. But oh, how I miss
the sounds and sights of the island I grew up on
and treasure the dreams in which I return.