I am not a Christian.
I am neither a Christian nor a Jew.
I grew up in the most religious country on Earth, a place where Jews are banned from being Christians, Christians are barred from being Jews, and Jews are not allowed to be Muslims.
The fact that I am Jewish means nothing to me.
I do not believe in God or in Jesus Christ.
I have never read the Bible.
I never have.
And I am sick of all this.
I was born into a very religious family, my mother a devout Orthodox Jew who was a staunch Catholic.
I’ve never been in a church.
I don’t belong to any faith.
I consider myself to be a nonbeliever.
And, in a sense, I am.
It is no secret that the only reason I am a Christian is because I grew into a devout Catholic during the Great Depression.
I grew up believing that God loved me unconditionally.
I did not have to do anything to please God.
I was allowed to have my hair cut, wear skirts, wear makeup, eat out, go to the movies, drink from teas, and, yes, go shopping.
But I was never allowed to do any of those things.
I had to be the only Jew in the house.
My mother’s parents had to live in the ghetto in Poland, and I was always taught that God wanted us to be in the synagogue.
I felt like I had a choice.
But the synagogue I was raised in did not give me a choice either.
It was a Jewish ghetto.
My parents lived in a shack in a ghetto that had no electricity.
They ate only rice and bread.
And there was no toilet.
The only people who were allowed to enter were the children of the rabbis.
My father worked in a bakery.
I used to go to his place every day to watch him cook, but when he was sick he had to leave and I had no choice.
My brother and sister went to the same place, but I never went.
They were never allowed in.
They didn’t belong in there either.
We were always separated from the rest of the world.
I didn’t even know that they were in there until they were 15 years old.
I remember one day, my brother and I were standing outside my grandmother’s house, waiting for her to come back from work.
It turned out that she was going to take us back to school.
But my brother had forgotten to bring the school lunch, and when she went back to work, he didn’t bring it.
I knew that he was going out of town, so I said to him, “We have to go home now.
I want to go.”
I was only 15.
So, we decided to go back to the ghetto.
I started walking.
I remember the smell of the air.
It smelled like a rotten fish.
I walked through the streets.
I thought it was a place of peace, a nice place.
But when I reached the ghetto, I was just so scared that the rabbi would come and say, “What are you doing?
What have you done?
We’ve never seen you here.
We’ve not been to your place before.”
It was dark.
I could smell blood.
I saw blood everywhere.
I ran, I ran.
I got to the synagogue, and there were hundreds of people.
There were three or four people who told me that I had killed my family.
I asked them to put me on a bus and go home.
My whole family was killed.
I said, “No.
I’m not leaving until I find my family.”
I asked my sister, “Do you know who I am?
Where are they?”
My sister said, Yes, I do.
I went home and went to sleep.
The next morning, my uncle brought me out of my shack and told me to eat my food.
And when I went to get my bread, I realized that my brother, who had been eating the bread, had not eaten his.
He was very sick.
He couldn’t move his legs, couldn’t eat his lunch, couldn.
I just sat down and I prayed, saying to God, “Please forgive me for what I have done.
Please let my parents and my brother be with me.”
I remember that day because I went back home and told my parents.
I told my brother to eat his food and my mother to put the soup in the oven.
And then I went out to the streets and told everyone in my family to come and look for my family, so that I could take my mother’s place.
I never saw my parents again.
I went to a school for girls and was not accepted because of my father.
When I came to my parents, they said, Why are you coming here?
Why do you want to be here?
I told them, I’m here because I have a dream, and because I love this school.
So I was sent to the school