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Jewish by heritage, uninformed about my history; would love to learn more

I hope this isn’t a redundant question, scrolled through the searchbar but figured I’d explain in a post if the mods are okay with it:

Disclaimer: I am Jewish by heritage, but not by practice—my grandmother revealed to my mother and aunt on her deathbed, when my mother was a young teenager, that she was Dutch-Jewish and had fled the holocaust for America, and for fear of a similar event happening one day in the future, lied to my mother and claimed they were non-practicing protestant Christians; essentially abandoning her faith for fear of her children’s safety and what the future may hold.

It’s an interesting and heartbreaking story, but she never shared many details to my grandfather about it either; my grandfather was a non-practicing protestant, so the practice of any faith kind of dissolved there.

Regardless, I find my heritage fascinating and love learning about my roots and ancestors; about 10 years ago, I found my name in a Jewish family-tree database online compiled by someone, stretching all the way back to the late 1500’s Spain (my mother speculates early Sephardic origin because of that, but her 23 and Me test revealed we are Ashkenazi).

Anyway, long story short- I want to learn more about my heritage, the faith, the principles of its practice, etc. Not perhaps in immediate efforts to practice a faith, but rather learn about my own heritage for the fulfillment of knowledge.

I hate to use this phrase and hope it doesn’t come off in the wrong way, but for lack of better words, “crash course” that I can kind of get a grip on the faith as a whole, and use my own time to read up and learn more about each and every part of our history. Currently I’m moreso learning random things from blog posts about faiths during my spare time. But I love history and heritage and there’s no reason to remain so uninformed about mine. My father’s side were Maronite Christians from Lebanon, and my grandmother shared so much wonderful information about her side of our family with me, but I have very little knowledge on my mother’s side of the family.

I’m also curious if anyone could shed some light on the possibility of our denomination’s heritage; like I said, we’re supposedly Ashkenazi, though the names in our tree like “Judith Mozes” born in Spain in the late 1500’s shortly before the rest of the names were born and died in Holland, and my mother and grandmother’s strangely darker skin tone for someone whose history is mainly Dutch for the last 400 years has us curious. There’s a lot of Asser’s and Asher’s surnames in that database, I started learning with the earliest 12 tribes, but I’d love to educate myself so much more. Living in Miami Beach for the past 5 years has had me rather disappointed in myself that I could not share much with my community.

I genuinely hope this post does not offend or insult in any way by its wording, like I said, very uninformed about my heritage and eager to learn. Thanks for reading.

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