My Family Hadn’t Been Kosher for 76 Years. Then My Brother Came Along.

My older brother, Jake, was called to the Torah almost 19 years ago to the day. As he chanted in Hebrew to our congregation, he wore a yarmulke on his head and a tallit around his shoulders, while a photographer snap-snap-snapped photos, which we can n…

My older brother, Jake, was called to the Torah almost 19 years ago to the day. As he chanted in Hebrew to our congregation, he wore a yarmulke on his head and a tallit around his shoulders, while a photographer snap-snap-snapped photos, which we can no longer find.

I still remember the bagels: everything, sesame, pumpernickel, onion, poppy seed—but not blueberry, which we didn’t believe in—piled as high as the clouds. Cream cheese, scallion–cream cheese, more cream cheese, more scallion–cream cheese. Lox, herring, whitefish salad. Oh, the whitefish salad!

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