Although i’ve always known I’m Jewish, my family was not in the least bit religious. We rejoiced on the High Holy Days because it was so easy to reserve a tennis court near our house in Scarsdale. We were too busy decorating our Christmas tree to celebrate Chanukah. When Easter rolled around, my sister and I dyed hard-boiled eggs lurid colors and received little baskets filled with chocolate bunnies and jelly beans.

Even though we never joined a temple or went to services, it was impossible to grow up in Westchester County without learning something about Judaism. There were bar mitzvahs and weddings to attend; occasionally I went to temple with a friend’s family. I learned how to say “Baruch atah Adonai Elohenu,” and I knew the words meant “blessed our Lord,” but I had no idea what came afterward and no...

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