Welcome Home. We are ALL One.

Here is a collection of family immigrant stories from across our human experience.

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I'm proud to serve on the production team for Deepak Chopra's new album & book: Home | Where Everyone is Welcome," inspired by American immigrants. Every family has its unique story. Here is one from ours...

Poverty, prejudice, and political pogroms may drive the fictitious plot of Broadway's FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, but our grandmother, Anna Krinitz Bluestone, actually lived it. Born and raised in a Jewish village (much like Tevye's Anatevka) located on the border of Austria and Poland, Anna Krinitz sought America's promise of "freedom from fear" and "freedom from want." A young girl, she came alone and with nothing. She never looked back. She worked in Pittsburgh, saved money, and paid the ocean passage for her betrothed, Frank Bluestone, so he could join her in America. They married and started a family. Their young daughter died; their oldest son contracted polio. Frank suffered from severe asthma, and the doctor recommended he live by the sea. The family moved to Atlantic City and opened a tiny grocery store. Now, with a third son on the way, all lived in one room behind the store.

Our dad, Herman Bluestone, the youngest of the three boys and the sweet face in the picture, would know his own dad for just a short time. At thirty-eight, Frank suffered a fatal asthma attack. Only six, Herman began selling newspapers on the Boardwalk to help his mom with household expenses, while Anna woke each morning at 3 a.m. to start her walk to the farmers' market to buy fresh produce for the grocery store that day. She never complained. Even in her grief and in the depth of the Great Depression, Anna never stopped demonstrating to her children that with hard work, tenacity, faith, and imagination, all things are possible in America. Not long after his father's death, "six year old Herman," who found comfort by singing (in his beautiful bell-like voice) at the synagogue, insisted he must have a menorah to light his Hanukkah candles. Of course, there was no money to buy a traditional brass candle holder, but Anna did not disappoint her son. Grateful to live in a country where her children could celebrate their faith without repercussion, she took a potato and made a menorah to hold the candles.

That same little boy, who grew up essentially without a father in the roughest and poorest section of Atlantic City in the 1930’s, became very “street savvy,” but his life choices always reflected his mother’s core values from her Jewish roots. Indeed, our father worked his way through college and earned his pharmacy degree. During his adult career, Herman Bluestone would became one of the most admired pharmacists in Atlantic City's medical community. In fact, he and his beautiful Brooklyn-born wife, Rita (who had her own compelling family stories of those who came from Odessa, Russia and London, England ) were the official representatives for the Ventnor Foundation, truly a pioneer organization, bringing the global medical community together in a worldwide effort to heal the wounds after the atrocities of World War II. The very Europe that had ostracized and persecuted Anna Krinitz, now graciously opened its doors to her son and daughter-in-law. Hers was not an easy life, but Anna Krinitz Bluestone's resiliency, strength, and determination are the stuff of all stoic immigrants who help to make up the soul of America. May their work ethic and devotion to family always define the character of our nation. Today, our grandmother would be the first to stand up and cheer the making of HOME: Where Everyone Is Welcome.