One older brother = 25 yrs old, named Eduardo (Eddie). Lives in Los Angeles.
Mother = named Estrella. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1949, grew up in Buenos Aires and Panama City. Her father, my grandfather Abraham, was born in 1915 in Malaga, Spain to two Sephardic Jewish parents. My mother's mother, named Donna, was born in Buenos Aires in 1924. Donna's mother was also Sephardic Jewish, born in Spain and moved to Argentina with her husband, a Spanish Catholic who converted to Judaism. Abraham owned a small watch repair store in Malaga. He met Donna in Madrid while they were both in college there. Donna was a writer and artist who had several poems published but never received a lot of recognition for her work. Donna and Abraham are both still alive and now live in Panama City. My mother moved from Panama City to New York City in 1968 to attend NYU.
Father = Marcus. Born in Ankara, Turkey in 1949. Moved with his family to Israel in 1952 where they lived on a kibbutz that they helped form. His mother and father remained in Israel until their deaths. They were integral parts of their community. I met them only once, when I was five. My father went to college in Tel Aviv, and then moved to New York City, where he met my mother. Both of them are journalists.
Biological, Psychological, Social, and Spiritual Strengths
Both my mother and my father are physically robust. Both have good eyesight, healthy heart, and neither of them smoke. My mother's father (Abraham) smoked when he was young, but quit about twenty years ago. Abraham has some heart troubles and takes medications to lower his blood pressure, but in general he is healthy. He walks to work every day and plays tennis once a week. My grandmother Donna is about fifteen pounds overweight but has no chronic illnesses. She has had a benign tumor removed from her breast, but that is the only health problem that she had. Donna told me that both her parents lived well into their nineties, and that his father was a rabbi in Malaga. Abraham's parents also lived long, but not into their nineties. His father had a heart attack in his late sixties and his mother passed away at around 80 years old. Therefore, longevity runs in the family.
My father Marcus is extraordinarily healthy and takes good care of himself. He runs three times a week and works out at the gym. He also tries to eat as healthy as possible. Neither of my parents are vegetarian but they eat light fare and don't overeat. They passed on their good eating habits to me. My father's love of exercise, especially running, also rubbed off on me.
Psychologically, my family members also seem robust. My father and mother both have keen minds and high intelligence. As journalists, both also have strong powers of critical thinking and prefer rationality and reason: they do not shy away from a good argument and our dinner table discussions are never boring. I did not know my grandparents on my father's side very well, but from what I did know and from what my father told me, they were reserved people, very quiet. However, he claims that they were both exceptionally well-read and highly intelligent. They were also viewed as the moral pillars of their community in Israel. My mother's parents are both a bit eccentric. When I visit them in Panama City they love to throw parties. They are socialites, even in their old age. Their love of social situations is a positive influence on the entire family. My parents are not as eccentric or outgoing as Abraham and Donna, but both of my parents enjoy going out with friends. Socially, everyone in my family seems healthy. Social anxiety has never been a problem for me or as far as I know, anyone else. Also, the Latin and Jewish influences in my family mean that social events are very important and usually entail large gatherings with lots of cousins and extended family.
Spiritually we are also a strong bunch. My father's parents were especially strong figureheads, because they devoted their lives to the kibbutz in Israel. Their work on the kibbutz was a labor of love and spiritual service. Communal living implied that devotion to God was expressed throughout their daily lives, doing simple labor like farming and construction. They were religious people, too. They follow most of the precepts of the Jewish religion and celebrate all the Jewish holidays. The Sephardic Jews tend to be orthodox in their approach to the religion, except for the younger generations. My mother's parents are also religious and we have celebrated many holidays with them. However, they don't talk about God or their personal beliefs; their spirituality is expressed through their social lives, through their morals and their upright dealings with other people including their family members.
Influences on my make-up and my well-being
My family has influenced my physical, psychological, and spiritual realities and my sense of self. Physically I have inherited strong genes. My eyesight is perfect, and other than the odd cold I have never had a serious health problem. Neither of my parents have ever had cancer nor heart disease. Also, my parents imparted good lifestyle habits in their children. I believe eating well and exercising has been important factors in my overall health. I also do not smoke or abuse drugs. My parents both drink socially, and so do I.
From my grandparents and my parents I learned to love socializing and parties, although I also like to be alone. I believe that my parents both possess a strong sense of self, and as a result I have never had any psychological or adjustment problems. I recognize both the need for solitude and the need for togetherness, which is why relationships have never been a problem for me. I know where and how to draw boundaries between myself and other people. I instinctually know when to reach out for help and when to draw upon my own reserves of psychological strength. Friends have told me that I am a good listener; I tend to stay quiet while people talk, which is something my parents have always done with me. Instead of butting in and offering advice unbidden, I will hear the person out and let them figure out their own approach and their own solutions.
My parents raised me with a balanced and consistent discipline, likely due to their cohesive upbringing. Their shared background and religion probably helped them form sets of rules and behaviors with which to raise children. When my brother and I were growing up, we were treated with respect but my parents were not overly lenient either. Furthermore, both of my parents were steeped in a strong sense of spirituality and community. The Jewish religion and traditions were integral parts of their lives when they grew up and they raised my brother and I to have strong concepts of self and where we fit into the world. Our religious upbringing was more centered on community and respect for tradition than on dogma or abstract theology. For us, the perception of God was a personal matter, whereas the way we treated other people was the real hallmark of our spiritual health.
Utilizing my strengths within the community
My parents love of journalism led me to pursue a similar path during the course of my education, although I have yet to solidify my career goals. Having been brought up in an atmosphere filled with a high sense of reason and rationality has prevented me from accepting anything at face value. I enjoy asking questions and…