Jew-cubed: Making sense of my complicated Jewish identity

    Photo by Nad X at Unsplash.com

    According to my birth certificate, being Jewish is my race, my religion, and my nationality. I like to call it the “Kosher Trifecta.” While I speak English without any sort of accent, something about my my physical appearance must tip people off to the fact that I’m not third or fourth generation American, and I’m often asked where I’m from. I typically smile and answer “the former Soviet Union.”

    “Russia?” they answer back with widened eyes. Before the current Russian fiasco, the questioning normally would have stopped there — but in today’s political climate, people want to know more. And the answer, at this time, is best avoided. 

    I was born in the USSR, AKA the former Soviet Union. More specifically, in Lithuania, like my mother and her side of the family. My father, on the other hand, is from Ukraine. My family was part of the first wave of Russian Jewish immigrants to flee the USSR and take refuge in our adopted country America. Complicated right?

    So people delve further and inquire, “So are you Russian or half-Lithuanian and half-Ukrainian?”

    “Neither,” I say, “I’m a Jew.” Which leads to further widened eyes, and typically a response of “being Jewish isn’t a race, it’s a religion.” 

    I must beg to differ. My Soviet birth certificate clearly lists my race, religion and nationality as Jewish. 

    You see Jews born in the former Soviet Union were considered a subpar race. Non-Jews had “Russian” stamped in their passports as their nationality/race whereas Jews like myself had “Jew” stamped, because unlike our fellow Soviet citizens we were not deserving of the label “Russian.”

    So, who am I?

    • I was born in Lithuania but would never call myself a Lithuanian.
    • I speak Russian but do not consider myself a Russian.
    • I’m a naturalized American citizen yet my traditions and beliefs often seem very “old school” for modern American society.

    So, I am a Jew with a bit of a self-identity issue, one that seems to get more politically complicated over time. You could say I’m a triple Jew; and proud of it.

    Who are you?

    The Jewish Chick
    What started as a fun distraction grew to be a passion project for Liora Rez; but her career did not start in the social media industry. After a decade of working in structured finance, her life changed as she became a stay at home mom; Liora was unable to just sit still and needed a connection to the outside world. Her hobby has grown today to one of the largest Jewish social media accounts and features her passions of fashion, her unapologetic support of Israel, her relationship with Judaism, and her amazing family. Liora uses her continuously growing platform to collaborate with brands and organizations from both the Jewish and Fashion worlds. Her social media pages leads by example that you never have to be just one type of person, and showcasing all of your passions together can create a unique story.