“Thinking Inside the Box”: Framing My Grandmother’s Life

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I had never taken the time to learn much about my grandmother, Esther Rebeca Leibowich de Bortz’s past. While I knew that something in her history must have gone right—she became a renowned gynecologist in Argentina—large gaps existed between each of the detailed but disconnected anecdotes that she recounted to me over the years.

My grandmother—or Bobe as I call her—and I have never lived in the same country. She was born in Argentina and has lived there for her entire life, while I was born in Chile and have lived in Atlanta for most of mine. With each of her visits, I learn more about this woman I have always been taught to revere, but in truth never knew much about. Consequently, I welcomed the opportunity to take the course, “Jewish Women in Modern America,” at The Weber School in Atlanta, where I am a junior.

While I knew Esther was notorious for making a short story long, I never expected that an interview estimated to last one hour would occupy three. I also never expected it to be the most meaningful conversation I’d ever had. Each question I asked uncovered more of my grandmother’s rich past. She told me about the time she was discriminated against by a priest for being the flag bearer on the day that every child in the country entered the church for a national ceremony, an honor she earned for having the highest grade point average, and the way she prevailed by standing up for her rights as a student and a proud Jew.

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Posted by on Thursday, January 17th, 2013. Filed under Jewish Blogs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.