How Not to Fit In

What was the environment in which you were raised? Describe your family, home, neighborhood or community, and explain how it has shaped you as a person.


I sleep in on Sunday, I stay home on Wednesday nights; I don’t belong to any youth groups, and if you walk into my house there’s not a single cross to be found. Instead a big blue candle bearing the star of David is perched on the mantle, and two small menorahs sit comfortably on their shelf above the wine glasses. I was raised to stand out from the very day I was born in a tiny living room in Fullerton California. It was on this windy September morning that my young, first-time, parents decided to name me “Dream”. My chances of a simple suburb and a golden retriever didn’t look too high. However, despite the weird name and my many unconventional living arrangements, being Jewish was never something that I thought would set me apart from my community.

My parents had itchy feet and weren’t keen on settling down in one place. Therefore, growing up it became a routine to pack everything I owned in one suitcase and move every two years. I lived everywhere. In a tree house near Grover Beach, a cabin in the mountains of Paonia Colorado, a rather large tent on the big island of Hawaii (which by the way, lacked electricity and running water), and most recently a standard brick house in a nice neighborhood up in East Texas. Now one may...

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