I was born in Shanghai and moved to the U.S. when I was 9 years old. At 29 years old, I discovered I have a great-great-grandfather who was Jewish. Suddenly, I've found my life's passion: furthering Chinese and Jewish relations.
Now I am searching for the missing piece of the puzzle in my family, while learning a lot about Judaism at the same time, that’s what my blog is all about. I hope you will find this an interesting read.
I plan to strengthen Chinese and Jewish relations first through my own story which I've published on my blog, then through other media in the future.
How do you save a 4 year old Jewish child from the "system" in 1969? You go to Vista Del Mar Child Welfare Agency [at the time they were known as The Home for Jewish Children.] They were receiving funds from The Jewish Federation to implement programs that would ensure that any Jewish child who was placed within their agency would be placed with a Jewish family. Again, to maintain the continuity of the child's Jewish heritage. We had two daughters and wanted to adopt this 4 year old boy. Many years later I had the opportunity to "pay it forward", in 1997 when a job opportunity came my way to work with The Jewish Federation and here I am, today. My son is now 45 years old. He has lived in Israel, worked on a banana plantation and is now married with 2 children of his own. He celebrates his Judaism by lighting candles on Shabbat, sending his children to a Jewish Day School and passing his life's lessons on to them. Thank You Jewish Federation for giving me the opportunity to have a son and to "shine my Jewish light" on another life.
I just found out 4 months ago I was Jewish through Ancestory.com. I looked it up in the Jewish cenus! I always felt connected with Jewish people, but little did I know I was also Jewish. When I found out Tears ran down my cheeks...Tears of Joy! I feel very blessed to have a Jewish Heritage. This is my Story...
My father, Leon Aaron Rutberg, Chief Pharmacist's Mate, USNR was killed in Okinawa on April 20, 1945 - he was with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. His final resting place is in Har Zion Cemetery in Collingdale, PA. Since I was only seven years old at the time of my father's death, I really didn't have a chance to know him; but I will never forget what I do remember about him. Since I was raised in Christian Science, the only link I had with my Jewish roots was the Star of David that marked my father's grave in Okinawa (attached photo). Since my mother & her immediate family wanted to assimilate, my story is about how I came back to Judaism, which includes being married to a wonderful Jewish man for 38 years (7/22 is our anniversary).
Having grown up in LA's Valley, my parents gave me a choice if I wanted to Bat Mitzvah'd. I chose not to go to Hebrew School, while my brother did. Now, as a young adult, I am so grateful for organizations such as The Federation for the community and commonality. From the 2006 Master Class in Film in Tel Aviv to my current active involvement in The Entertainment Division and previous YLD, I can pick and choose my involvement from social to philanthropy. The commitment is as strong as I make it, and I encourage new members to take it one step at a time.