Op-Ed: How I learned to embrace my Black and Jewish heritage
Editor’s note: This Op-Ed was first published two years ago. Since then, I’ve lived a far different life than I did then. I’ve gone back to school, I’ve developed a new career, and I’ve discovered what my family calls “newfound love.”
I got into my parents’ house in September 2014.
“You need to meet my husband,” the black-haired, petite white woman said, leading me into the living room, where we sat on the pink couch with the multicolored flowers on the walls. Her eyes seemed to be made of turquoise — or maybe emerald. She had a large black mole above her left eye and, on her lips, the most adorable little smile that made her seem like her whole face was one big happy smile.
I immediately felt like I should run into the opposite wall, but instead I sat down beside her and tentatively shook her hand.
“How much more different can we get?” she joked. Her long dark hair was piled high on her head and was wrapped in a white bandeau. She wore a pink sundress, a matching pink flip flops, and an orange belt with pink flowers on it. She had a small birthmark on her left cheek. I looked on in awe.
I didn’t realize how different we were going to become before I became a part of this.
“I’m here for you!” she exclaimed, jumping up and embracing me. She was the first person I knew who wore high heels. At the time I was in my late 20s. I wore size six shoes — I wear size eight now, having grown into them. My mother bought them for me. One of her friends even bought me them for my wedding.
I was instantly intrigued by this woman who’d introduced us and her home and who was now making me her new best friend.
I quickly learned that she was a black woman who wasn’t afraid to embrace her black heritage and her Jewish heritage, too. She taught me to love both by taking the time to