From seventh to twelfth grade in our girls’ school, we played field hockey every fall in Physical Education class. One very talented defensive player, Melinda, rarely missed a shot. But when she did, she’d shake her head, her honey blonde hair would shake and she would yell: “sugar!” Another of our classmates would yell, “sugar, honey, iced tea.” * when she missed.
I never understood why they were shouting food words when they missed. And I was too embarrassed to ask. My naïveté continued although by college my passive swear word vocabulary was increasing. Still, I hesitate to use swear words especially in writing and it has always stung my ears.
Leslie explained the meaning of mat’ (Russian vulgarity) to me and the need to include a few choice expressions in the book if we were going to be true to our subject. As Leslie wrote in her note to chapter...
My husband and personal chef (Henri) is giving me a “Thank God the Book Is Done Dinner” to thank several of the book’s characters and many of the contributors to our research. So, a Russian menu of zakuski (appetizers) and vodka is in order. Whereas at our Russian friends' homes, this would be just the beginning with a multitude of dishes to follow, at our home, this was it. Chef Henri relied on A Taste of Russia: A Cookbook of Russian Hospitality by Darra Goldstein (Harper Perennial 1991). Had we received Anya Von Bremzen’s new memoir in time, Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing (Crown 2013), we might have used her recipes as well.
Vera and I were skyping when Harry proudly announced the first item on his menu to Vera - Russian Salad (Stolichnyi Salat, or Salat Oliv’ye). According to Darra and Anya (I consider...
Now that the book is published, we discovered it doesn’t fly off the internet.
We have to market. As a confirmed introvert, marketing isn’t my chosen field
for good reason. When I email people I feel like I’m bothering them.
I choked down my distaste and began the process of reaching out and back.
Here is a report on three connections. They almost convince me marketing can be fun.
My arch-rival from elementary through high school:
I was always neck and neck competing in academics with one particular
classmate. Since all my classmates can name her in a millisecond, I’m not sure
why I’m uncomfortable naming her, but, for now, the rest of the world will
have to guess.
With a very small class, even rivals invited each other to
their homes. The two of us did get together and listen to Beach Boy
records and talk. What struck me when...
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....
Below is the description of Jewish Luck on Amazon.com
Jewish Luck recounts the intertwined stories of two women who—in their struggles against the anti-Semitism and patriarchy of the Soviet regime and the rebranded “New” Russia—succeed by creating their own luck. Their sisterhood is kindled when Vera and Alisa grudgingly line up to register for classes at the Institute that produced experts in Marxist-Leninist economics, a field on its way to extinction. For the next three decades, Vera and Alisa fight for their dreams of self-expression and status. To do so they must deprogram their minds of Soviet theory and learn the new language of a free market economy. After Vera dares to approach author Leslie Adler on a Leningrad corner in 1976, a forbidden friendship is formed. Leslie becomes Vera’s confidante and link to the West. With help from her Minneapolis connections, Vera builds a successful business in Russia despite her disdain for her...
When my mother was 8 years old, she had a "grandmother" for just over a year, the only grandmother she remembers.How did this happen? Grandfather Emil, a widower, lived with her family until 1937 when he was introduced to a "nice widow." Thirteen months after his wedding, Emil died at the age of 59.Cause of death? "Overfeeding by Regina," my mother said.Mom was sure that Regina was a " black ...
Dear Melania,As a former ESL teacher, I guess it is up to me to tell you that the title of your new campaign makes no sense. First of all, grammatically it is incorrect and should be "Be the best." However, even if you were to say that, my next question is "Be the best what?" The best bully? The best obstructionist? The best dressed? The best plagiarist?* The best blogger? By ...
Intrepid, almost. Pen in hand, I set out for my solo hike this morning in Sedona, Arizona with a bit more confidence than years before.I had been consulting my brother, who, astride his horse in Jack London Historic Park, was giving me advice on how to deal with any snakes I might encounter.I ...
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.