To Debra Winegarten, living as a Jew means being “different” from everyone. No, this isn’t a pity party for herself; Winegarten accepts her difference and uses her gutsy strength and sense of humor to embrace her identity along with all the losses and loves known during the journey. She is funny and compassionate. In “Second Grade, Part One” she describes how she was assigned a locker with a Negro (the word was politically correct at that time) and rather than take it as a sign of rejection she decided it was because they were meant to take care of each other. Or the resignation of buying the Thanksgiving turkey that now, with her mother gone, inspires her to set a spot at the table, like creating a space for Elijah. Love is sacred in these and the remainder of this too-brief collection. Keep writing, Ms. Winegarten; the honesty, humor, and poignancy of your poetry deserve to reach more readers.
There’s Jews in Texas?
Deborah Schoeneman, is a former English teacher/Writing Across the Curriculum Center Coordinator at North Shore Hebrew Academy High School and coeditor of Modern American Literature: A Library of Literary Criticism, Vol. VI, published in 1997.
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