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...
We imagined our grandma hovering lovingly above us as we worked. We also imagined what would happen if our grandmother conversed with Vera and Alla's grandmothers. We knew that our grandma would prepare treats and tea no matter what the conversation. Below is an updated version of her mandelbrot. See the deleted chapters for the imagined conversation that might accompany these treats. I converted the recipe so that you would not lose a filling.
Mandelbrot—Updated version: Chocolate Shot Biscotti
2 eggs1 cup canola oil1 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour1 teaspoon baking powder1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces chocolate shot (jimmies, sprinkles)6 ounces slivered almonds, chopped1 teaspoon vanilla
cinnamon and sugar
Beat eggs, oil, and sugar until well mixed. Add flour, baking powder and salt and continue to beat with mixer until dough is smooth. Add chocolate shot, almonds, and vanilla.
Chill dough at least 8 hours.
Form into rolls (like play-doh snakes) and place on...
When I was twenty-four, I went to a fortuneteller who traced the lines in my palm to inform me that I would marry, have children, travel extensively and live into my eighties. What she did not foresee, and neither did I, was that my dear friend Vera, whom I met in Leningrad in 1976, would remain in my life forever. She did not mention that our sons would be friends and that I would have the pleasure of observing the love grow between her son, Lev, and his future wife, Lauren.
To stand on Seven Mile Beach in the Cayman Islands and witness the wedding of Vera's son and daughter-in-law thirty-four years after we met seemed nothing short of a miracle. It brought back the astounding lifetime planning that Vera and her best friend Alisa had done to force open the iron gate.
For me and my contemporaries, the age of...
Wearily, I don my mask, my gloves for the weekly drive from my Minneapolis home to my suburban office to collect my mail. My footsteps echo in the empty hall. The calendar is still turned to March 2020 which means I have spent less than three months in this space that does not yet feel like my own. The March calendar photo of Little Paradise, New Zealand reminds me of my visit to an exquisite plac...
The date- April 15, 2018.The place- Minneapolis. The weather-15 inches of snow due to fall by the end of this day. The dilemma—Do I move the gilded mirror measuring 39" by 54" and weighing over 40 pounds from my sister's house to ours?I had delayed responding to the question—do I want this family heirloom—for a year and now Meryll was moving the next day.This forty pound heirloom seemed so much we...
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 ...
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.