My Story 2: Second Generation American Jew

I am a second generation American Jew. My story no doubt mirrors the story of a large population of second generation American Jews. I grew up in Lexington, MA, an up and coming suburban town where I lived a middle class American life in a very good environment and received a very good secular education. Lexington was known for its excellent school systems and, like most towns in the 50’s and 60’s, was grounded in typical Judeo-Christian traditions. Lexington was also the home for a fairly well off and good sized Jewish community. I grew up like most second generation American Jews, mostly secular though we observed the major Jewish holidays. I received a Jewish education twice weekly at a local syngagogue on Sundays and after school. My siblings and I, like my father, did not enjoy learning at a Jewish school". Not because it was Jewish, but because classes were either after a long day at secular school or on the weekend. That simply disrupted my regular American life.

Most of my friends were not Jewish and I engaged in a mostly non-Jewish lifestyle. I knew I was Jewish and was aware that that made me a little different than the others but, during those school years, the only time I ever really felt different was when the rest of the country was collectively celebrating such holidays as Christmas and Easter. Those were nation-wide holidays that just about everyone I knew observed and celebrated. Even the schools and businesses were closed. Families gathered together on those days to celebrate. We gathered together on those days to do nothing and so I was left feeling alone and disconnected from a community that I generally felt so much a part of.

I was 12 yrs. old when my parents divorced. It was a difficult divorce which left many scars. My father re-married about a year later and, after many years of fighting, and a few life-changing trips to Israel for post graduate academics, my mother decided to leave America to make a new life there. She remarried and began to build a new home where she always hoped her children would come to.

My adult life in America was not too thrilling. After High School, as was expected in those days, I applied and was accepted to a college. It was not my first choice college. I didn't get into that one. College life was not my style because I was not the partying type! That seemed to me was all that was going on in college! So I attended one year of college before dropping out, moving to Boston where I lived and worked as a Boston cab driver for three years.

Cab driving in Boston was lots of fun. I absolutely loved the job. I was free to work according to my own hours and the job was always there waiting for me whenever I decided to take a vacation. I took my summers off and set out with a friend to see the rest of the world. We traveled around Canada and on the third summer planned to meet in Europe after I would spend a few months in some country called “Israel” where my mother was now living.