Growing up as a single child to a Russian Jewish immigrant family, I have always felt the pressure to succeed. In a Russian Jewish home, success is often defined as perfection. Though I don’t know much about life in Russia, I can imagine that people were more invested in becoming “perfect” rather than taking a nurturing step-by-step approach towards growth. It seems that Russian culture is primarily concerned with where you stand on the ladder, rather than how many rungs you have climbed.
Growing up, I rarely contemplated my Jewish identity. I was part of a Council for Unity chapter at Edward R. Murrow High School, where I was busy working on projects that would unite individuals from a wide range of backgrounds. Somewhere along the way I realized that it was important to understand where I came from — and, even more, to appreciate my identity.