Oral Histories: Jewish identity

Denise Rootenberg

FROM: Harare, Zimbabwe
ARRIVED: 1989

Denise was born in Harare, Zimbabwe (then Salisbury, Rhodesia). One of four sisters, she grew up in a warm Jewish community that was able to sustain an Ashkenazi synagogue, a Sephardic synagogue, and a small Reform synagogue. One of her aunts ran the local chapter of the Women’s International Zionist Organization with her sister as well as a kosher food service.

"Someone said to me, ‘You were actually traditional Jews. You weren’t Orthodox Jews.’"