Overall my Jewish identity is not particularly strong, though I was reminded by a conversation with Louisa that it was much more so when I was growing up as a distinct minority in Rochester, Minnesota. Being a minority there, where kids who didn’t know better sometimes scratched Nazi symbols on lockers or used “Jewish” as an insult, made me a lot more attuned to the experiences of other minorities. It shaped my perspectives and the importance I place on equal rights and opportunities.
I was a lot more aware of my Judaism again from the moment we arrived in Berlin. Upon facing the airport security officer, a gentleman who ignored my hello and didn’t interrupt his conversation in German with his neighbor while processing my passport, I couldn’t help but think how fortunate I was to have this interaction now, rather than 70 years ago. It is strange to think about a whole group of people being persecuted based on any characteristic, to think how easily it could have been you, and how lucky we are that few of us have suffered the extremes of such persecution. This is a fitting consideration as we make our way to a coast from which many African slaves were exported.