First, I need to say that I have a daughter who is brilliant and talented, and she herself is a mother now. I also need to say that she is someone else's daughter, because I was 18 when she was born, and gave Shari up at birth. Birth control was very hard for young girls to get in those days, nor was education about birth control readily available then, and I was a relatively common adolescent statistic.
I requested, at the time, that she be adopted by a Jewish family. I'm not Jewish, but I had many friends who were, her birth father was Russian Jewish, and I think I also wanted to make sure that she didn't grow up with Catholic guilt. (I remember only too well all that shame I was supposed to feel about getting pregnant and having an "illegitimate" child.....) She was adopted by a lovely family, and when she was 21 we met again, and through the generosity of her parents, and Shari, I was able to get to know her, and in fact she lived for a while with me in New York City.
In 2000 I was living in California, and Shari and her husband-to-be were living in Brooklyn. Shari's mother had arranged and planned her wedding (a very bohemian affair on a boat), and I was to officiate for the service. They were both quite un-religious, so it was to be a non-denominational service - however, I wanted to honor the many Jewish relatives who were attending Shari's wedding. So I visited a couple of synagogues, feeling very ignorant, to see if I could find someone to read a wedding prayer, and anything else that might be appropriate (I did find someone, and also learned about a few other things).
In the course of talking with my daughter's husband, I learned something interesting. He had an Italian name, and always thought he was Italian - but only within the past few months he had learned that his mother's parents, experiencing prejudice when they emigrated, had changed their name, and his mother grew up never knowing that she came from a Russian Jewish background.
I remembered a sad story that my own mother had told me that same year. It seems that her grandmother was anti-Semitic. Her uncle had married a Jewish woman, and had two small children with her when he died of the flu epidemic. After his death his mother forced his wife, and her children, to leave the property they were living in (she owned it), and my mother sadly commented that she grew up never knowing these cousins, who were virtually "erased" from her family.
Both bloodlines had a harsh injustice in their backgrounds that came from intolerance and prejudice - how marvelous when these two young people joined hands, broke the glasses with their feet, and everyone shouted "Mozeltov!" I never really mentioned it to them, because I suppose they would have thought me sentimental and unrealistic, but truly I felt the Ancestors gather that night, a deep satisfaction that after 4 generations, these wounds finally were healed.