In mid 2017, I was drawn to care for a Guatemalan teenager, ultimately becoming his legal guardian and helping him move toward college and a Green Card. I also became involved in Vecinos Seguros, a local organization that tries to bring safety and support to the undocumented Central Americans who live precariously in our midst.

Though I haven't been an activist for several decades, I'm the daughter of refugees, born a couple of weeks after they arrived on these shores. As I learned English in my neighborhood and school, I became my parent's first "American child," assigned to interpret the often incomprehensible American world about them.

Looking at my writing, I see how two novels, The Flood and A Call From Spooner Street, a memoir, Afterimages, and my most recent nonfiction book, A Chance for Land and Fresh Air, all explore the trauma and conflicts of immigration. Though I feel very American, my heart is deeply touched by the hopes and resilience of immigrants.

Hey Zhankoye

On Saturday, May 26th, I gave a talk and slide show on Jewish farmers in Sharon and Amenia at the Roeliff Jansen Community library in Hillsdale, New York… In the audience at Roeliff Jansen was a woman … She surprised and delighted me by reciting a Yiddish song, Hey Zhankoye, that she had learned from her farmer grandmother… I sent out a call on email and Facebook.  A couple of weeks later, I received an email from Alexia Lali, along with several links to the song. Here are the recorded songs and the lyrics…

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