The Lost Tribe of the Andes: A Jewish-American Family’s Struggle with Assimilation.
By Jane Genende
“Little did we know that moving from our cramped apartment into a house would become a watershed event, in our lives. We moved from our small apartment to a three-bedroom house in the Bronx with a backyard and a basement in the summer of 1960.
I was six years old when Dad and I drove up to the Bronx and saw the house for the first time. I remember how big the house seemed after coming from an apartment. We moved in, and our lives moved forward. My parents had achieved the American dream of owning their own home. We had a backyard and a basement, and I had my own room. Everyone seemed excited about our step up in the world and all the possibilities for the future. However, I don’t think we were prepared for the downside of home ownership. After the initial euphoria wore off, I began to notice a strain in my parents’ relationship that I had not seen prior to our move. Their private conversations began to take on an edge of bickering about things like the bills, house painting, fixing broken faucets, car repairs, buying a lawnmower, private school tuition, and more.
The achievement of the American dream of owning a home, with all its ups and downs, coinciding with the advent of the tumultuous decade of the 1960s, proved to be a kind of perfect storm for our family. As the decade unfolded, bringing its changes into our lives, it intensified our family quarrels. As we all began to grow up and have our own opinions about the changes taking place, I often felt a longing for the past, when life seemed less complicated…”
“The Lost Tribe of the Andes” traces three generations of a Jewish family, from the 1800s in Eastern Europe to America in the present. In the aftermath of the death of her father, author Jane Genende began her search for meaning in her family’s genealogical story. In the course of her research, Jane uncovered a wealth of personalities as she travelled throughout Europe. In this memoir and family history, Jane explores the challenges her family faced in the course of emigrating from Europe to America before World War II and assimilating into American culture; she also recalls the conflicted process of separation and individuation from a traditional Jewish family that she and her three siblings experienced during the 1960s. “The Lost Tribe of the Andes: A Jewish-American family’s Struggle with Assimilation,” can be ordered on amazon.com, iUniverse.com, or barnesandnoble.com.
Jane Genende is a State Licensed Psychotherapist, LCSW-R in private practice in New York City, since 1974. She lives in Chappaqua with her husband. Her two grown children live and work in New York City.