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...
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.