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just found out my ancestors were jewish and want to learn more. where do i start?

hello, this is my first time posting on reddit so please excuse any mistakes i make in my post. i am 19f and have always been very close with my moms side of the family and always had an interesting connection with religion. i didn’t realize until i started college last year that my relationship with religion was different than my peers, as both my mom (52) and great grandma (101, who had a significant role in raising me) had never made a huge deal of it other than instructing me to never discuss religion with anyone outside of my house for concern of safety, and i never questioned it. growing up we never really openly celebrated any holidays other than occasional christmas dinners with my dads side of the family, but my moms side of the family who i lived close to and spent a lot of time with had their own traditions and very family centered ways of celebrating things that i never had any issue at all with this as a kid. once i got older and started to understand more social dynamics i asked my mom why discussing religion was dangerous and she just told me she wasn’t sure exactly, but that there’s a lot of hate in the world for people who aren’t in the majority (christianity i assume) and that it was always very important to my grandma and her parents/grandparents. i then started inquiring more with my grandma about our family history, and she told me about how she moved from germany to america on a ship with her family when she was young, because it “wasn’t safe there for people like us”. when i asked her what she meant by that she couldn’t remember as she was only three when they moved. she also told me about remembering them changing their names when they moved and burning the records that they had, but she didn’t know why. i got curious at this point and started asking other relatives, but nobody seemed to really know what had happened. my grandma gave me the name of her sister’s daughter who had researched some of our family history before, and i reached out to her a few days ago and asked to talk to her. she was excited to talk to me and said that a lot of the records were hard to find as many had been destroyed, but from what she had found she was fairly confident that our family was all jewish before coming to america. she had found that they had a family shoemaking shop in a small town in germany that became a concentration camp in world war 2, and that those who escaped took a ship to america before assuming fake “american” names (heinrich -> henry for example) and making a small rural farming community for themselves, where most of them still live now. i’ve always been very proud of my family and our traditions, and i’m even more interested now in learning about the culture my family came from and how i might fit into it. i want to make sure i’m being respectful and don’t overstep any boundaries or rules in the community. does anyone have any ideas or suggestions of where/how i should start researching and learning, if i should at all? i know this post is super long and rambly and i want to thank you for reading and hearing my story.

submitted by /u/Nervous_Way4442
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Source: Reditt

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