When listener Loren Levinson heard our segment on Madeleine Albright earlier this year, in which she talked about the discovery of her Jewish identity and family members that were killed during the Holocaust, it got her thinking about her own roots. Her incredible story fascinated us, as it bridged together two of the unlikeliest of cultures.
Loren was raised in Jewish family but discovered that she was an adopted baby sold on the black market. Her birth father was a Pakistani Muslim and her birth mother was a born-again Christian. As she reached out to her biological family members that had been searching for her for 35 years, she had to face the multifaceted elements of her identity and how they related. Loren describes meeting members of her family and venturing into "that alternate universe that I could step into." Her desire to perform the Muslim pilgrimage of Hajj in Mecca, to visit Pakistan with her birth father, and in turn take him to Israel where she lived at one point in her life, brings about a larger issue that faces Americans: can people of such diverse backgrounds coexist?
In Loren's story the answer seems to be a heartwarming yes. Her uncles, brothers, and other family do not care that she is a Jewish women, but instead view her as one of their own. She describes the love they showed her as "astounding," something that undoubtedly makes things easier while she continues to explore her identity. You can read more about Loren's remarkable story on her blog.