I wasn’t raised Jewish. Daddy-o was culturally of the tribe and brought home matzo during passover to mix into scrambled eggs, and he made borsht once a year, staining all the plastic ice cream containers he used to store it in. But it was a mixed marriage and my mom prevailed, taking us to the Presbyterian church and Sunday school every week.
So my knowledge of all things Russian/Lithuanian/Jewish was somewhat limited.
To that end, I am experimenting with:
- tea: with lemon and sugar, or with cherry preserves. My father always drank his with lemon and sugar. I don’t think I met anyone else with the same preference outside our family.
- listening to music by Russian (very familiar names) and Lithuanian (very unfamiliar names) composers. Alzo klezmer and other Jewish/Eastern European folk music
- most of my fave Ashkenazi foods have fallen by the wayside as I have become vegan. But I record them here: caviar, smoked salmon, chopped liver, good bagels, smoked meat sandwiches. Foods to focus on: vodka, Russian beer, “creem cheez” on lesser bagels, potatoes, matzo balls in veggie broth, potato dumplings, vegan cabbage rolls, dill pickles, dark rye bread.
- reading some more novels set in the Russian Empire, and maybe some Lithuanian novels (if I can find some in translation, obvs)
- randomly googling <berkman> plus some combination of <jewish, russian, lithuanian, family history…> You get the picture. So far: