Kimchi and Latkes: Growing Up Korean and Jewish

July 29, 2014 2:09 PM

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Kimchi and Latkes: Growing Up Korean and Jewish

I recently ran into a Korean-American friend who I went to high school with at a dinner party in Los Angeles. As we caught up on life, he told me that he fell in love with a Jewish woman, got married and had two beautiful daughters. "They're like you," he said with a wide smile. When I was growing up in Orange County, California in the 1980s, with a Korean father who was raised everywhere but Korea, and a Jewish mother, who was born in Dublin, Ireland, there were no kids like me anywhere, until my sister was born.

By the time I was in grad school at UCLA, I began to hear urban myth-like stories from well-meaning people trying to relate to my unusual heritage. There was the tale of a Korean girl who appeared at my friend's mother's cousin's temple in St. Louis and the Jewish guy who was practically Korean beca...

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