Knowing Your Heritage

An Inheritance
By Lisa Alcalay Klug

Dr. Maya Angelou offers her listeners a unique way to share their stories with her and her audiences on Oprah Radio. On online link invites listeners to send in their thoughts on what it means to them to be an American. It’s as simple as this: if your letter speaks to her, she invites you to be a caller on her show.

You can hear snippets of these programs on being Iraqi American, Native American and many other identities. In fact, there are already fifteen segments in her “To Be An American” series. I recently wrote Dr. Angelou about my background as a Jewish American and had the honor of sharing my story with her on her program. It was a peak experience! has limitations on posting specific links and content so here, I can only provide the link to the home page. But once you’re there, you can easily follow the links to Dr. Angelou’s radio program on being an American and sending in your own story.

I hope the Oprah Radio opportunity inspires you to share your own story, both with Dr. Angelou, and with your community at large. As I stress in my book, Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe, knowing, embracing and celebrating your heritage gives you a platform of immense strength, allowing you to connect across continents and centuries. In doing so, you enrich your personal identity and your mission on this planet. Because ideally, sharing the beauty and depth of your heritage with others in cross-cultural dialogue helps create a more tolerant world.

Lisa Alcalay Klug is the author of Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe, a 2008 National Jewish Book Award finalist. Lisa is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor and a descendant of Yehuda Alcalay, the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Sarajevo and an early Zionist thinker. She is the founding editor of Tolerant Nation.

About tolerantamerica

On her recent tour for her book, Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe, Lisa was inspired by the inauguration of Barack Obama, the first African-American elected president of the United States, to encourage cross-cultural dialogue about multiculturalism in America. To increase tolerance and understanding across communities, Lisa launched "A More Tolerant America" to feature guest bloggers, authors, activists, artists and other writers, who, like her, are multicultural. Klug's father is a German-Jewish Holocaust survivor from Poland and the descendant of a Spanish Jewish family that escaped the Spanish Inquisition. During her tour, Lisa encountered ignorance and bigotry toward Jewish Americans. As part of her campaign, this blog will giveaway books and other materials that promote cross-cultural dialogue.
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