Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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One Book One Northwestern’s annual intergenerational storytelling event brings communities together

Weinberg+junior+Isadora+Coco+Gonzalez+detailed+her+experiences+learning+to+embrace+her+Jewish+and+Hispanic+heritage.
Jerry Wu/The Daily Northwestern
Weinberg junior Isadora Coco Gonzalez detailed her experiences learning to embrace her Jewish and Hispanic heritage.

Community members of all ages shared stories about family, food and legacy at One Book One Northwestern’s annual intergenerational storytelling event Tuesday. The conversation centered around themes prevalent in Michelle Zauner’s memoir, “Crying in H Mart,” which explores the loss of her mother, her love for Korean food and struggles with her biracial identity.

The event, sponsored by the NU Theatre Department and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, has been an annual tradition since 2017, according to OBON Director Nancy Cunniff. The event aims to bring “retiring lifelong learners” and undergraduate students together, she added.

Organizers selected the evening’s storytellers by drawing names from two baskets, one containing students and other for community members.

Among the storytellers was Jerry Bernstein, a retired physician, who dedicated his story to his uncle, who also served as a physician. While Bernstein was in high school, his uncle brought him into his office. There, Bernstein said he observed his uncle treat all his patients with understanding whenever they had any troubles.

“I thought he was being respected because he was a physician, but he was being respected because he was a good man,” Bernstein said.

Applause followed his final words, after which the floor was opened for the audience to comment on their favorite components of the performance.

Soon after Bernstein’s performance, Communication junior Mario Montes spoke about his lifelong travels with his father, touring cities throughout Europe and South America.

He recalled one trip to Venice, where he and his father had strolled through the narrow, storied streets “without any destination in mind.” They eventually came across a small restaurant where he said he dined on some of the “best pasta,” topped with tomatoes, sardines and a layer of bread crumbs.

“It’s crazy to think about it, but he was trying to prepare me for life, teaching me how to find joy in life,” Montes said while putting his fingers together and blowing a chef’s kiss. “I am so grateful for these teachings from my dad.”

Weinberg junior Isadora Coco Gonzalez reflected on her Jewish and Hispanic heritage. She shared insights into navigating a multicultural identity growing up, mentioning that her parents had not raised her to identify with Judaism from the start, and noting that she did not speak Spanish all the time.

She said she eventually came to realize that she could embrace both sides of her culture. She recounted holding a quinceañera and a bat mitzvah, and visiting her rabbi’s office to learn more about her Jewish identity.

“My dad had said to me, ‘No one can take this away from you … you are who you are for the odd mix of cultures that you come from,’” Gonzalez said. “So, on August 30, 2018, I had what would become known as my bat-ceañera.”

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