Senior Features Editor
Published: Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 16:07
I hate being faced with the challenge of writing a biography – mostly because there’s just so much to say and I don’t know how much information is too much information to share. If you’re reading this right now, though, then you must like me, or at least be slightly interested in what events have molded me into the whack job of a human that I am today. So with you, my lovely readers, I will not hold back in sharing any of the information necessary to explain exactly what brings me here to this very computer screen today.
My name is Keren Baruch, and I am a senior studying communication and journalism. I have taken most of the prerequisite courses for legal studies and health and human services because I am an incredibly indecisive individual and I have yet to decide what I want to be when I grow up – unless a mix of Chelsea Handler and Oprah is an acceptable career title, in which case that is what I want to be.
But let’s take a step away from my present and look into my past. My parents (eema and abba, in Hebrew) were born in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Israel. I am the first American-born in my family.
My dad, along with his family, had to escape from Afghanistan when he was 5. He spent two months on the back of a truck waiting to get through to Iran and then to receive Israeli citizenship. He’s been working since the age of 5 and has never attended school, not even kindergarten. He is currently an architect in Great Neck, N.Y. I can’t decide whether I should be embarrassed that my dad can get more LSAT questions correct than I can, while he has never been in a classroom and I have almost completed my undergraduate college career.
My mom’s family is from Iraq. Her father, Daoud Kuwaiti, was a famous singer and guitar player. When his family moved to Israel, his music was rejected because Israelis believed he was bringing too much of the Arabic culture into the Israeli land. After he passed away, people began to realize how incredible his songs were and imitated his music. There is now a movie about him and a street named after him in Israel. My mother flew to Israel to be a part of the film.
Here’s a link to my grandpa’s music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYfaD_Y0nUw
My parents’ cultural backgrounds have helped mold me into the curious, accepting and diverse woman I am today. I love to hear about others’ stories and that is what makes me a feature writer. I devote a lot of my time to The Spectrum to finding interesting people on campus and sharing their stories.
My parents sent me to a private, all-girls Yeshiva from kindergarten until 5th grade. I looked really good in my uniform. During parent-teacher conference, one of my teachers told my mother that I was not as smart as the other girls in the class so I could not be put in advanced English. My mom pulled me out of the private school and put me into public school, where my clothing attire shifted from long skirts and turtleneck button-ups to bedazzled shirts that rocked the phrases, “baby gurl,” “angel gurl” and “phatty gurl.” I’ll never understand what my parents were thinking.
Upon entering public school, my world changed completely. I was so confused why my classmates didn’t pray every morning and why I wasn’t learning Hebrew for half of my day. I finally learned how to write in script and my English sentences began sounding more like they were actually English.
In high school, I didn’t care much for school. I was captain of the varsity softball team and that was my only inspiration to get out of bed and enter the doors of Bayside High School each morning.
So, upon arriving to college, the only talents I had were throwing a change up and dressing in skirts that hid my feet. When I realized how cute the editor in chief of The Spectrum was, I decided it was time to prove my fourth grade teacher wrong and write for the paper.
I began to write sex columns, and the majority of the time that my pieces were being published, I was not actually having sex. My goal was to be humorous (hence my desire to be Chelsea Handler), and I believe I did so successfully. I know that my attempt at humor, however, was interpreted by some as sophomoric writing. People began making memes of my face, and though they were mean, I enjoyed every second of the little fame I got from writing these comedic sex columns.
After my phase loving the spotlight was over, I began to write more serious pieces. I wrote about drag queens, about immigrant and international students at UB, about smokers on campus, teenage parents, etc. I love having the ability to give the voiceless a voice.