Abby is from West Newton, MA and graduated from Swarthmore College in PA in 2016 with a degree in psychology and English. This year Abby is working as an Associate Producer at Interfaith Voices, a public radio show about religion run by Loretto Sister Maureen Fiedler in Washington, DC. She is a member of IfNotNow, a movement grounded in the values of the Jewish tradition and dedicated to ending American Jewish support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
In 1939, Ruth Kurschner and her mother came to the United States on one of the last boats of Jewish refugees allowed into the country. She was four. Because of the United States’ quotas on immigrants from certain countries, her Polish father had to stay behind, and her mother couldn’t take care of her alone. Ruth ended up living at the Shield of David Home for Orphans, a Jewish charity, in New York City. Fifty years later, Ruth’s daughter married my uncle Jim.
A few Passover seders later, Ruth was telling her story and said she couldn’t remember - was the orphanage in Brooklyn or the Bronx? My great aunt piped up.
“It was in the Bronx,” she said.
How did she know that? Because it turns out that my great-grandmother had worked there. And my grandfather had grown up going to the birthday parties of all of the young girls. So Ruth’s daughter had ended up marrying into the family that had helped save her mother’s life.