In 2012 I began digging into my mom’s family history, trying to get to the bottom of a mystery that’d been eluding us for generations: whether or not we’re Jewish. But then the trail, such as it was, ran cold, and the last time I wrote about the Jewish question I lamented:
The clues are there, but I can’t piece them together. I feel as though I need a lucky break.
The ultimate break would, of course, be a copy of the letter that my great aunt burned for its suggestion that we might not be what we thought. I wonder if that exists, or if the sole copy (and the information it provided) went up in smoke.
Well…I’m holding it. The letter wasn’t burned; the smoke it went up in was metaphorical. There’s a lot to unpack here, beginning with the author’s identity: her name is Ella Miriam Weiner (née Borschow), and I’d never heard of before today. But the letter itself is unequivocal: Ella Miriam Weiner was Jewish, and if I’m related to her…then so am I.
Proving that relationship will be difficult, if not impossible. But I’m a lot closer to doing it now than I was 24 hours ago.