I will remember the outline of the Blue Mountains in the town where my father grew up in Jamaica. I will remember the old siddur books in my grandfather’s shul that had been held by generations before me. But I will also remember the harder times.
I remember the smell of the cream that would strip my curls, and make it easier for
me to attend my Jewish day school without feeling different. But that was then. Now I walk through the halls of my high school with my curls coiled and alive.
At the age of 17, it has become easier to let these two parts of my identity—Jamaican and Jewish—become one. Memories from my childhood, good and bad, have helped shape my understanding of who I am and why my hair falls the way it does.
MAKEDA ZABOT-HALL on the Lilith Blog