Letter: When your family tree has many roots

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Sir: Clive Lawton, chief executive of Jewish Continuity, writes (letter, 30 June) of his Rabbinate's concern at outmarriage in the Jewish community and their difficulties in articulating a rationale for resisting it. More particularly, he writes of his organisation's experience 'that Jews . . . perceive . . . that a firm grip on your own roots enables you . . . to grow securely . . . (and) to provide sustenance and shade beyond your own needs to others'.

I have a mixed background; my paternal grandfather was ethnically Chinese, maternal grandfather North American Mohican and Scottish mix, and both grandmothers mixes of South African blacks (Xhosa) and whites (Afrikaner). Can he advise which of these of my 'own traditions' I should get in touch with?

As regards my cultural and/or ethnic identity, I have never been able to find it. Am I trying to 'escape my identity' by agreeing with Matthew Hoffman ('Dear Dr Jonathan Sacks', 28 June) that the best way to avoid conflict in the world is for us all to become multi- coloured and multi-cultured, or is this burrowing for roots just another example of the view that if you've got it, flaunt it?

Yours faithfully,


London, SE15