I don't like endings . When I was a little girl I always left a bite of food on my plate much to my Dad’s chagrin. I still tarry over the last few pages of a good book, not wanting it to be over. When a TV series I’ve been watching comes to a close, I grieve. So you see, there’s no way I would have finished writing Jewish Luck without my sister, Meryll, grabbing it away from my clutching grip declaring “We’re finished.”
So, of course I want to hold onto this past year for awhile longer. Based upon the 72 facebook contacts who wished me a happy birthday last week, I may be at the apex of my popularity. My kids were kind enough to remind me that my mom is likely more popular than me so I may still be on the ascent.
I thought this would be...
Leslie and I agreed from the outset that we were writing Jewish Luck for the love of writing and out of admiration for the stories of Vera and Alisa. Despite our high minded objectives, we still encourage readers to buy copies and spread the word. It wouldn’t hurt to cover our expenses!
Speaking only for myself, I also wrote the book because I thought I’d enjoy working together with my sister on a project. I did, and I also loved the process of writing and researching, especially talking weekly with Vera and Alisa. The research trip to St. Petersburg and Stockholm was a bonus. Aside from learning about the lives and struggles of Vera and Alisa, I have learned about the struggles of writers to publish and market their books and have felt warmed by the collegiality and generous spirits of other authors I have met along the way.
What has surprised...
Magical realism is nothing new for me. When you’ve spent your childhood watching “Bewitched,” “I Dream of Jeannie,” and “My Favorite Martian,” you assume you have special powers; or, at least, you might befriend an alien or genie who will grant wishes on your behalf. I’m glad to report that I have finally found my superpower – blogging.
However as Spiderman’s uncle said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” I can use my superpower for vengeance or good. For example, I could use blogging to repeat absurd statements that irritate me. But I shall not be petty. I really, really want to be petty, but my husband, Harry, and my sister advised me it’s an abuse of a superpower.
Because I blog, I can change the world, at least, in a minuscule way. Words are appearing in the spaces in front of me as I push down the keys. I know...
Following the peak experience of our book launch last Sunday, I said to my son with a mother’s convoluted logic, “Thank you for flying in for this. If you hadn’t, I would have been thinking If only Isaac were here, it would be perfect; and, now, it is perfect.”
Perfect. What do I do with perfect? I’m not used to it. I look around the room to smile at my daughter, husband, and son. My sister shares every moment with me. I see the faces of old friends, new friends, consultees, book group members, Meryll’s minions, and the wonderful people whom neither of us recognize all alight with interest.
Importantly, Bonnie is there as well. Bonnie is a physician, who has accomplished the miracle of cloning herself. Wherever I need Bonnie, she appears. Even when I haven’t realized yet I would need Bonnie, she is present. It might be to check on...
When we consulted with Scott Edelstein about the steps from written manuscript to published book, he patiently explained the complicated world of publishing and concluded with an introduction to the equally complex world of self-publishing. Both Leslie and I remembered one particular nugget of advice—if you want to be in control, self-publishing is the route to go.
That characterizes Leslie and me. We love control! We wanted input into every phase of our book – particularly, the cover. We batted around a lot of cover design ideas between us, usually incorporating a photo of Vera and Alisa. Neither of us is a designer and, finally, we decided we needed professional intervention.
How do you find a good designer? I thought it would be like finding a good hairdresser.
You look at others’ haircuts and asked, “who did it?” It’s not quite that simple because we also wanted a local designer....
I snapped up the invitation to speak at a zoom meeting for the Jewish Affinity Group from Columbus School for Girls. Self-quarantining for almost a year has made me hungry to talk about Jewish Luck. It's certainly clear from the news that Vera and Alla's perceptions about the "New" Russia are just as relevant now as they were when Vera first encountered Putin in Leningrad.More than the intellectua...
What I learned from American Kompromat by Craig Unger (2021) Dutton: NYC has prompted me to write a blog.
Trigger Warning: This book contains potentially distressing content that could trigger trauma that we have experienced regarding the previous US President.
I whisper this mantra to myself: "We're safe now. He's gone. We're safe now." The purpose of this exercise is to reduce my blood pre...
"Faster than a speeding bullet." .Organized anti-government rallies in 109 cities across Russia from jail for January 23 and January 30, 2021. Watch each weekend.
"More powerful than a locomotive." Able to make a miraculous recovery from Novichok poisoning on Aug. 20, 2020 after remaining in a coma for nearly a month. His is the only known case of survival of that strain of Novichok.
We were featured speakers at Hadassah Brandeis Institute and Levy Summer Series. Our speaking engagements include JCCs, synagogues, libraries, book groups, retirement communities, schools, and organizations (e.g. ORT, Hadassah, and Women's League). References are available.
"I was very fortunate to be able to hear Meryll and Leslie speak at a Hadassah event in Israel. Each of the ~50 participants really enjoyed the event because Meryll and Leslie were so engaging. While they had a natural rapport with the audience, you could also tell they had prepared well so they could connect with our particular group's interests. I learned a lot from listening to them, and I found their sisterly interaction unique and fun. If you want an enlightening and uplifting experience, attend one of their book talks." Lisa Shimoni, Modiin Israel
"Truly, you have written a story that makes accessible the reality of existence in Russia, through the eyes of individuals who lived through the various regimes and dictates. It is fascinating and very well told. As I read Vera and Alla's story, I learned more Russian history than I had known from a textbook. That's a big deal, women! You tell the tale with vivid detail and hook us on the two women and their stories, then weave in the history to illuminate their journeys. It is such a necessary book. I am thrilled that the two of you collaborated, as I can see the uniqueness of your personalities come through in the stories, and that, too, makes the book a gem." Margaret Leibfried, Danielson Group consultant
Buy the Book
Click here to order your copy of Jewish Luck: A True Story of Friendship, Deception, and Risky Business on Amazon.com.
Make a donation to Sholom Home and enjoy Jewish Luck at the same time. Jewish Luck is now available at the Sholom Home West gift store. Meryll and Leslie will donate 50% of the proceeds back to Sholom Home. Enjoy!
Nourish mind, body, and soul with Meryll's Tasting Torah, which will bring oneg (joy) and limmud (learning) to your Shabbat, broaden your culinary horizons, and draw your Shabbat guests closer together.