Pho to by Joshua Krisra l
A University of Michigan student
discovers her roots ... and her religion.
KAREN BETH SCHWARTZ
Special to the Jewish News
lizabeth Dubey remembers putting up holiday signs, playing dreidel,
lighting the candles and learning the blessings on her first Chanukah
— seven years ago, when she was 13.
Raised in Imlay City as a Christian, Dubey said her family never
really agreed with church philosophy. When she was 12, they stopped celebrat-
ing Christmas and other Christian holidays altogether.
Her parents did not agree that the Sabbath should be. on Sunday so they
stopped going to church. Around that time, they started doing research into the
family's history and discovered that all signs pointed to Jewish roots.
Dubey's great-grandmother, who came to the United States from Bialystok,
Poland, in 1919, cooked gefilte fish and made challah. She lit candles and spoke
Yiddish to her daughter. Neither she nor her husband went to church.
When Dubey's grandmother was a teenager, she asked her mother if they were
Jewish. Great-grandmother just smiled and did not answer the question.
Years later, Dubey's mother started researching family history, and though
_much of the documented evidence was destroyed during World War II, the sto-
ries she heard were a cultural match.
Dubey and her mother started studying Judaism at home, learning from
books and practicing the religion as best they could in a Christian community.
Imlay City is in Lapeer County, 45 miles north of Pontiac.
Elizabeth was chided in school as "the lonely Jew." But when she went to the
University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, that changed. "I assumed coming to col-
lege that I was going to lead a Jewish life," she said. "I really didn't know much
about it then but, from what I had learned, it made sense."
Now a U-M junior, Elizabeth calls home and tells her mother about the sup-
port she receives being part of a Jewish community, what she does on Shabbat
and what she learns from her Jewish friends.
She studies Hebrew, takes part in a weekly Torah study at Machon L'Torah's
Jewish Resource Center on Hill Street, attends Shabbat dinners and meets
weekly with a friend from Oak Park to learn more about Judaism.
In addition to the pre-medicine path she intended to follow when she came
Karen Schwartz is a University of Michigan student from West Bloomfield and writes fir
U-M's "Michigan Daily" newspaper in Ann Arbor.
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