I often say that I chose to be Chosen. I consider myself both born a Jew and a convert, a “Jew-by-choice.” I come from an intermarried family: a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother. Thanks to my mother’s large, tightly-knit extended family, my childhood was peppered with baptisms, weddings, funerals, countless holidays and church events in which I was participant. Yet there was never any question of my family’s nuclear Jewishness. For my entire childhood, we lit candles on Shabbat and Hannukah, we said blessings over Kiddush and challah, and I am still tasked with reciting the four questions at the Seder we have attended since before I was born. For the sake of her Jewish daughters, my mother did everything from finding us the best Hebrew school in the neighborhood to making matzah brei and kasha varnishkes. Although I have always had a keen sense of being ‘mixed,’ and have a strong ethnic identity from my mother’s side, I have always, unwaveringly, been a Jew.
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