Book Review – Hidden Heroes – One Woman’s Story of Resistance and Rescue in the Soviet Union

Hidden Heroes – One Woman’s Story of Resistance and Rescue in the Soviet Union by Pamela Braun Cohen

“It all started on a warm June evening in 1970. Our kids were already asleep. Lenny and I were in our family room when we heard the news broadcast that would change our lives forever. John Chancellor was on national news reporting that a group of Soviet Jews had been arrested for trying to hijack a plane from Leningrad to the West. We were both astounded…Jewish hijackers?” Continue reading “Book Review – Hidden Heroes – One Woman’s Story of Resistance and Rescue in the Soviet Union”

Book Review – The Wisdom of Getting Unstuck: How to emerge from and avoid the muddy middle

The Wisdom of Getting Unstuck- How to emerge from and avoid the muddy middle by Shimshon Meir Frankel

“You are the author of your own story. You’re the main character and, as you know, a compelling story always has the main character come into conflict with an opposing force. This force is your Antagonist.”  Continue reading “Book Review – The Wisdom of Getting Unstuck: How to emerge from and avoid the muddy middle”

Book Review – My Sister, the Jew

My Sister, the Jew by Ahuvah Gray

“I had been a successful, middle-class, African-American professional with a comfortable lifestyle in California. All my major life needs, material and spiritual alike, had been met…or so I thought. But the irresistible call of God to make Israel my home and the Jews my people was so strong that I was prepared to give up everything: home, possessions, friends, and even my family.” From this introduction, Ahuvah Gray, born Delores to a close-knit, spiritual Christian family, takes us on her life’s journey- traveling from Chicago to California to Israel, accumulating frequent flyer miles as a flight attendant, leading fellowship tours to Egypt and the Sinai- all the while gathering friends and insight and conviction that her neshama was present at Sinai so many millennia ago. Continue reading “Book Review – My Sister, the Jew”

Book Review – Who By Fire

Who By Fire by Chaya Malka Abramson 

The ubiquitous brown cardboard carton was plopped on my front porch, delivered in one day as promised. I eagerly brought it inside and cut through the tape, not to get to the contents inside (diapers for the grandson? Yet another cute face mask?) but to grab at the bubble wrap and start popping those air-filled pockets of stress relief. Ah- what a difficult day/week/year I’ve had!

Then I opened Who By Fire and read Chaya Malka Abramson’s heroic battle with fire, burns, family and recovery. Bubble wrap, protecting my purchase and dissipating my stress, was my easy solution; a Jobst suit, protecting Malka’s burnt skin and slow healing, was her painful prescription. Continue reading “Book Review – Who By Fire”

Book Review – Layers

Layers: Personal Narratives of Struggle, Resilience, and Growth from Jewish Women by Shira Lankin Sheps

From The Layers Project, “a blog that featured the images and raw intimate stories of Jewish women,” to the book Layers, which “tackles different life situations or taboo topics,” Shira Lankin Sheps invites her readers to experience, understand and commiserate with amazing women through her narration of their stories. Continue reading “Book Review – Layers”

Book Review – Reaching for Comfort

Reaching for Comfort: What I Saw, What I Learned, & How I Blew it Training as a Pastoral Counselor by Sherri Mandell

“I had gone to the dying to learn how to live. To find comfort. And all this time it was the world of the living…that had just as much to teach me.” In the subtitle of Sherri Mandell’s book, she notes that she “blew it training as a pastoral counselor.” Continue reading “Book Review – Reaching for Comfort”

Book Review – How to Make Pesach in Five Days

How To Make Pesach In Five Days- A Pre-Pesach Guidebook by Meira Spivak

“Welcome to How To Make Pesach In Five Days. This book presents ideas that you can easily incorporate into your family’s routine. Your mind will not be cluttered with details…” So begins Meira Spivak’s lively- and uncluttered- marvel of a book, explaining in non-stressful language how to manage the pre-Pesach pandemonium. It is short, concise, and exactly what I need as I contemplate the calendar and realize that Purim was already a few weeks ago and Pesach is fast approaching. Continue reading “Book Review – How to Make Pesach in Five Days”

Book Review – The Gift

The Gift: 12 Lessons to Save Your Life by Dr. Edith Eger, Psychologist

Here I sit, on a cold, snowy February day, at my computer with that cold, flaky white stuff drifting down from that cold, gray sky. I’ve become a frenzied knitter, this winter of our COVID-19 discontent, clicking my bamboo knitting needles in endless colors weaving endless skeins of yarn into more afghans than my children or grandchildren (especially those in the hot Scottsdale climate) will ever need or use. I’ve also continued my lifelong habit of reading- from “Fifty Famous Fairy Tales” when I was little (how convenient it was to read ‘once upon a time’ conclude with ‘happily ever after’!) to tales of fiction, non-fiction, and self-help as I’ve grown older. Which brings me to The Gift by Dr. Edith Eger- a wonderful, enriching book conceived as a “practical guide to help us identify our mental prisons and develop the tools we need to become free.” Continue reading “Book Review – The Gift”