My mother was really involved with the Refusenik campaign with Soviet Union Jews. They would come and stay at our house, some of them, after they managed to get out of the Soviet Union at the time. There were things that were Jewish-related happening in my house quite consistently, but it was much more from a kind of activist standpoint.
I started writing by doing small related things but not the thing itself, circling it and getting closer. I had no idea how to write fiction. So I did journalism because there were rules I could learn. You can teach someone to write a news story. They might not write a great one, but you can teach that pretty easily.