Tracing Jewish heritage along the Danube

March 27, 2015 12:01 AM

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Like many who share my hair texture and fondness for rugelach, I am the descendant of Jewish forebears who boarded boats in the first half of the 20th century to escape bad times for our people in Central and Eastern Europe. These intrepid emigrants took to the water, settled in America and built a Jewish-American culture of creative assimilation. I owe them my life.

Like about a third of the 120 or so fellow travelers with whom I spent seven nights on the Danube River last November, I boarded a boat called the AmaPrima in Budapest to float back to some of the same places so many of those same emigrants were — history has confirmed — lucky to leave behind. I was...

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