Identical Twins, Separated by Adoption, Reunited by Chance

As a father of fraternal boy-girl twins, I’ve often jokingly described my home life as a “continuing experiment in nature vs. nurture.” It is of course, only a joke, but it touches on one of the central mysteries of human existence: what makes us who we are? The question is even more compelling in the instance of identical twins who share not only a womb, but are also genetically identical. This most elemental question is what gives Identical Strangers by Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein such depth, as it relates their true story of learning after 35 years that they are identical twins, deliberately separated by an adoption agency that placed them into similar households as part of nature vs. nurture twins study. They grew up completely unaware of the other’s existence. Their discovery of the study is as shocking as their discovery of each other, a reunion that turns out to be far more emotionally complicated than one might imagine. The clip below is a tantalizing “trailer” for the book and you can have lunch with Elyse and Paula on Thursday, September 18 at noon as part of the Hyman S. and Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival.

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