Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 22, Ed. 1 Friday, October 14, 2011 Page: 31 of 48
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Andrea Myers' funny and poignant
tale of converting and coming out
Like most of us, from the
moment Andrea Myers was
born, her parents had cer-
tain expectations for her.
They expected her to grow
up with morals, decency
and kindness, strength and
smarts. They hoped she'd
be productive, happy and
live a long life. Dad might
have dreamed she'd take over the family busi-
ness. Mom might have wanted to teach her to
ride a bike or a horse. They saw great promise in
But as Myers shows in her memoir The Choos-
ing, they had a few surprises in store.
Born in Queens and raised in Long Island, lit-
tle Andrea loved to ask questions. No answer
was. ever thorough enough, and certain things
were never discussed. Controversy was forbid-
den, topics of religion and sexu-
ality among them.
Myers' mother was a Sicilian
Catholic who had been "in-
sulted" by the church and, as a
result, Myers and her siblings
were raised in their father's
Lutheran faith. Theirs was a unique and boister-
ous family; Myers' devout grandmother lived
upstairs and fiercely loved her granddaughter;
Myers' mother steadfastly stuck up for her chil-
dren, no matter what; and Myers' father had a
dubious flair for fashion.
With her inquisitive mind, there was no ques-
tion about college but when it came time for
Myers to apply she felt as if there was little
choice. Her boyfriend said that if she chose a
local college, they might as well "talk marriage."
But what he didn't know was that Myers had
been dating girls, secretly, for several years.
She chose Brandeis University a predomi-
nantly Jewish school, and left home. There, she
found people who didn't care that she was gay,
by Andrea Myers.
Rutgers University Press (2011).
RELIGIOUS AWAKENING | Rabbi Myers started life
in a much different place than where she ended up.
and a religion that seemed to answer a lot of
endless questions but that asked even more.
Seeking out a beloved campus rabbi, Myers,
told him that she wanted to convert to Judaism
and become a rabbi herself. He didn't follow tra-
dition by turning her away three times; instead,
he welcomed her, but warned her that it would-
n't be easy. Undaunted, Myers embraced the
challenge by moving to Jerusalem
to study. In so many ways, it was
a decision that changed her life.
Filled with wisdom, humor,
and the kind of contentment that
only comes when one has found
his or her right place in the world,.
The Choosing is one of those books that leaves
you feeling oddly serene. Myers writes vividly
about her life — her quirky family, memorable
childhood experiences, her wife and children,,
mentors and friends — but she also takes oppor-
tunity to educate readers on Talmudic teachings^
Jewish laws and her own spirituality. There's
plenty of humor as well — you can almost hear
the twinkle in Myers' words — but at the same
time, she imparts a sense of refreshment, subtly
pointing out the miraculous in the everyday.
If you're looking for inspiration, direction or a
few gentle laughs, you'll love this surprisingly
charming book. Grab The Cltoosing and you can
expect a very good read. ■
— Terri Schlichenmeyer
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Nash, Tammye. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 22, Ed. 1 Friday, October 14, 2011, newspaper, October 14, 2011; Dallas, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth239189/m1/31/: accessed February 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.