An award-winning Canadian writer’s account of how learning a family secret led her to embark on a journey of spiritual transformation and religious conversion.
Pick (Far to Go, 2010, etc.) grew up in a home where family members went to church “once or twice a month.” But by the time she was 12 years old, she learned that her father, though a practicing Anglican, had been born to Jewish parents who had converted to Christianity after fleeing from Czechoslovakia during World War II. Later, she would also discover that other people in her father’s family, such as his maternal grandparents, died in Auschwitz. By the time she entered her 20s, Pick began to suffer from crippling bouts of depression similar to those that her father’s mother also endured. Her father called this tendency a result of inherited “bad blood,” but the older the author got, the more convinced she became that her depression was really a mark of an “unresolved trauma of an ancestor passed down one generation, then another.” When she reached her 30s, Pick began exploring her Jewish cultural roots, in part to help ease the existential anguish caused by her recurring depression. But the road to reclaiming the heritage her grandparents had denied was long and difficult. As she immersed herself in the Toronto Jewish community and contemplated conversion to Judaism, she found herself attracted to a Jewish man whom she nearly allowed to come between her and her long-term Christian partner (and later, husband). Pick found general acceptance within the community for who she was, but she was at odds with rabbis who held fast to Jewish laws—that, fortunately for Pick, changed—stipulating that both members of a couple convert to Judaism. Brave and honest, this book offers an intimate portrait of a woman seeking to heal from inherited family trauma and find the beginnings of peace within her own soul.
A poignant and powerful memoir of family, religion, love, and healing.