Discussion Questions

Treyf: My Life as an Unorthodox Outlaw

by Elissa Altman

  1. In what ways is Elissa Altman an outsider in her own family? How does she cope with her “otherness?” How does Altman use food to illustrate intergenerational conflicts between Altman, her parents and her grandparents?
  2. Sense memory--taste and smell, in particular--play an important role in Altman’s narrative. What smells or tastes still connect you to a family member who is no longer with you?
  3. Food was not the only treyf that shaped Altman’s adolescence. What else was “forbidden,” and what role did it play in her sense of self?
  4. In Treyf’s final chapter Altman writes, “belonging everywhere, I belong nowhere.” How does this speak to the Jewish immigrant experience? How has striving for or rejecting assimilation shaped your own family’s trajectory?

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Discussion Questions." (Viewed on February 25, 2024) <http://jwa.org/programs/bookclub/discussionquestions/treyf>.