In his prologue to Former People:The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy, Douglas Smith explains how a paté fork led him to his 400+ page work, Former People:The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy. (New York:Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2012).While this is a daunting work of non-fiction detailing the fall of the Russian aristocracy in...
"The poetics of tragedy are important to me," stated Svetlana Alexievich,the Nobel Prize winner who creates a "novel of voices" from the stories of survivors.* She compiles a chronicle of trauma felt on a personal level.The peculiarity of the Former Soviet Union is that trauma was the norm, and the suffering was frequently perpetuated by ...
Reviews abound online for Stalin's Daughter. Rewards and honors have been heaped upon author Rosemary Sullivan for her comprehensive biography of Svetlana Alliluyeva.After reading all 623 pages of Stalin's Daughter while on vacation in England, my question to Rosemary Sullivan is: what prompted her to write this book?Sullivan, a Canadian, has ...
The Jihadi Dictionary: The Essential INTEL Tool for the Military, Law Enforcement, Government, and the Concerned Public. Multieducator, Inc. 2016.
Dr. Nancy Hartevelt Kobrin’s books have nothing to do with our book,Jewish Luck. Many nonfiction books cue a reader through the title or subtitle if the book is meant for them. I feel I am one of the “concerned public” when it comes to the topic of terrorism. I’m also tired of hearing pundits talk about terrorism in terms of airport security or border control. I don’t want to rely on instant replays and reactive reporting. Maybe it’s my background as a historian that makes me want to know more about the root causes, the culture, the language of jihadis. For me it’s more than an academic exercise. Understanding the “whys” allows us to address the question, “how could this be different?”
When I saw the title, The Jihadi Dictionary, I assumed...
Before we published Jewish Luck, a memoir about two Soviet born Jewish women and their struggle to break free of the Soviet system, we read as many memoirs as we could find written by Soviet Jews. We arrived at two conclusions.
#1. There was no memoir we could find that was similar to the one we were writing about Vera and Alla.
#2 Memoirs by Soviet Jews and others from the USSR are compelling.
For your May perusal, we’re listing six of the memoirs we read during our research along with a brief summary of our impressions. Each of these memoirists writes with honesty and in his or her unique style. For each of these writers, English is not their first language but you will forget that fact as you read their works.
Azbel, Mark Ya. Refusenik: Trapped in the Soviet Union. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1981.
For readers who want...
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.