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I Am An Immigrant Series

I Am An Immigrant – Voices

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“I felt like I kind of had this obligation to become friends with Jewish kids and keep my religion flowing since both my parents are first generation immigrants.”
Long Island, NY
I definitely felt a little different growing up from most people who were born here.

It didn’t really hit me until 13-14 that most families didn’t operate like mine. Since essentially 90% of my extended family lives in Israel, huge family parties, holidays, weddings, nephews and nieces being born, all those things weren’t as frequent as what it seemed other American families were having.

It was easy to feel left out; Middle school is when I began to really notice the difference between my household and those around me.

Being Jewish made a huge impact on my life while growing up. All of my close friends were Catholic, making it even more apparent that I grew up differently.

I was never able to join in on certain conversations or relate to them on the same level. I felt like I kind of had this obligation to become friends with Jewish kids and keep my religion flowing since both my parents are first generation immigrants and they don’t really know American lifestyle.

In the long run, it kind of backfired. They always try to get me to go to temple and make friends with Jewish kids and go to Hebrew school. And when I didn’t want to follow Judaism to the extent my parents do, it felt as if I was disobeying them.

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