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WPSU Reads

Community Response

This book made me think about what it would mean to go back to my childhood home and community- a place so changed that it is almost unrecognizable to me now. And I think about how much I have changed since I last spent time in that neighborhood as well. I imagine my old neighbors would not recognize me either.

Being born Jewish has been a huge influence on my identity. I love the culture, history, traditions, the foods, Holiday celebrations, family gatherings, and so proud of the Jewish heroes in education reform, the arts and humanities and community giving. Through the story ‘There, There’, I reflected on how my wife and I as parents of two different religions pass on this pride and love to our children, to give them both a Catholic and Jewish identity. We make this possible by sharing our unique customs and cultural influences through stories, songs and observing Holidays with family. As well as honoring our elders that are with us and have passed. Our hope in this effort and in this changing world for our future generations is for our children to embrace a broader respect and tolerance. Once they understand what identifies them; who they are, then can they respect other’s identity.

Being Native American and never living on a reservation or participating in my peoples’ cultural traditions, I find it hard to claim my heritage. And my tribe finds it difficult to claim me. Several times I have reached out to my people asking to be involved in some aspect of our culture only to be refused because I did not thoroughly know our history. Being raised white has its benefits and its downfalls as Mr. Orange so clearly presented in this book.

I come from a blended family of people who do not always share a biology or ethnicity. I felt a connection to the characters because they took care of each other regardless of family relations or tribe. They had a sense of community, a “chosen family,” a human connection. I feel that connection with my own family that goes beyond blood, beyond genetics, beyond time.