Surprising catch

Lobstering is a way of life on Deer Isle and other communities along coastal Maine.

-After graduation from Wheaton in May 2009, Sam Kestenbaum spent a season lobstering in his hometown. The work not only provided an income while plotting his course, but it also yielded a hold full of rich memories and observations that the music major has drawn upon in his writing.

Kestenbaum’s tales of lobstering on Penobscot Bay have appeared online in a blog maintained by fellow Wheaton students  as well as in the college’s magazine, the Wheaton Quarterly.

The latest publication to pick up on Kestenbaum’s evocative stories: The New York Times. The newspaper published his reflections on his Jewish heritage and faith, a somewhat exotic background for Down East Maine, and the storm that made it possible for him to celebrate Yom Kippur without missing a day of work.

Growing up on Deer Isle, I quickly learned that there was something a little different about how my family worshiped. There were many churches on the island — from Catholic to Protestant to Latter-day Saints; from small, one-room church houses to big, established churches with freshly paved driveways. We didn’t pray at any of these. Instead we made a weekly pilgrimage to the nearest synagogue, 60 miles away in Bangor.

Now, Kestenbaum is living in Beijing, China, where he works as the editor of a bimonthly magazine and is studying Mandarin.