Gabriela Aizenman

“The school I attended in Puerto Rico had not a single Jewish person… except for me. It was extremely difficult growing up being so different than all of my friends. I remember that every Friday night, when all my friends would go out, I would stay home for Shabbat, and sometimes, I truly did feel left out. The hardest part was holidays because while my friend were all getting their Christmas presents and celebrating together, I was getting Chanukah gifts and none of my friends understood it. Although my friends did respect my different religion, they really didn’t get what Judaism — and its holidays — were all about. Every year, during Pesach, I would have to go throughout the whole school day without eating because the school didn’t have a Kosher for Passover option. Finally, three years ago, my parents agreed that we should come to Miami so I can surround myself with people more similar to me culturally, and now, I’m so happy that we’re here. I do miss Puerto Rico, and I feel that this challenge only brought me closer to my Judaism as I was able to stay strong in faith, even during the toughest times.”

–  Gabriela Aizenman, 9th Grade Student

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