“When my classmates asked me what religion I am, I made them guess,” Luca Koo, 15 from Budapest, Hungary says. “They went through the whole list before I told them I’m Jewish.”
One of thirty-five teen girls who’ve come from foreign countries to spend summer at Un-Camp, a three week program in Dorchester, IA, Luca first noticed anti-Semitism in Hungary as a 10-year-old, when she overheard a classmate dismiss a rotten apple as a “Jew apple.”
“I’m proud to be a Jew,” she asserts, “but I don’t want to be scared.”
In recent years—with the help of Budapest’s Chabad representatives, Rabbi Boruch Oberlander and Rabbi Shlomo Koves—Luca’s grandfather, the son of Holocaust survivors, reconnected with his Jewish identity. At age 63 he chose to have a circumcision, and remarried his wife under a chuppah, in a Jewish ceremony. His decision to live a fully Jewish life had a ripple effect on his family, and Luca’s mother was careful to send her daughter to a Jewish kindergarten, to provide her with Hebrew tutors as she grew older, and to give her Jewish summer camping experiences.
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