MY FIRST BOOK
MY MOTHER’S MIRROR
ABOUT THE BOOK
Who am I? What’s my purpose? How much longer can I endure this pain? Everyone encounters these moments– waves of identity crisis crashing that swallow your confidence, dignity, and dreams. If we all endure these earth-shattering moments, how do we emerge from the rubble? How do we rouse ourselves from darkness to illuminate roads ahead?
My Mother’s Mirror is a collection of tumultuous true stories entangled in identity crisis, relationships, motherhood, parenting, and adolescence. A memoir-style book that shifts from a daughter’s perspective to her mother’s tells a generational story of acquiring principles to cultivate oneself with grit, integrity, and tenacity to find personal power and fulfillment.
The turbulent journey is illustrated through introspection, cultural blending, and transforming conflictive paradigms. It opens with my teenage experiences in highschool and beyond, then ties back to my mother’s roots. My mom’s story originates in a mountain-top village in the Russian Caucasus, where tribal traditions indiscriminately confine women to patriarchal standards. Upon emigrating to Israel, a cultural melting pot with intense racial divide, is infused with communal values that strive toward the collective good. The journey continues in Brooklyn’s ultra-Orthodox quarter, allured by social and economic prestige, then transitions to the bustling, male-dominated Wall Street sphere, and finally, to the placid paradise of San Diego, California.
This voyage of transformation demonstrates how to embrace painful moments as opportunities to cultivate inner-strength. I dedicate each story to women around the world who seek meaningful, liberated, and confident lives.
COVID 19 forced us all to isolate in our homes. For some, the pandemic hindered a transition from one chapter of life to the next. In 2020– the year I eagerly look toward, to set foot into the college world– I had to stay behind.
While adamantly opposed to taking a gap year, quarantine blessed me with some relaxation after many months of high school stress and anxiety. I had all the free time to relish in books I wanted to read and indulge myself in binge-worthy TV shows and movies. My mom and I got hooked on the series, ‘Unorthodox:’ We finished it in two nights.
Aware that my mom had been immersed in a similar lifestyle in her past, I asked her how accurate the series was. She told me that the show did not reflect her exact experience, but that the overall portrayal of the Hasidic community stayed close to the truth.
I began researching the topic avidly and was able to connect my new knowledge to the stories my mother had shared about her early life during our endless quarantine walks. Then something clicked: If Unorthodox was a national hit, my mom’s life story could be one too! I insisted that she write her memoir.
“I’ve tried. I have pieces, but I don’t have the skill to put them together.”
“Well, if you’re not going to do it, I’ll write it for you. Seriously.”
I began tinkering with an intro, and the rest was history…
My sacred time with my mom enabled me to understand how she came from such restrictive communities to become the strong-willed, determined, and compassionate woman she is today. Life through cultural and personal extremes precisely drove her transformation, and bestowed a duty upon her to help others do the same. She raised me this way, and her advice has inspired my attitude toward relationships and life in general.
I wish to pass on the tools and techniques to help women transform each obstacle into an opportunity through our paired narrative. I’ve been raised with support and to support, so there is no greater gift than using our stories to connect with others and empower them to be their best selves.
EXCERPTS FROM THE BOOK
“Select, don’t be selected’ became my mantra. When rejected, I found liberty…I realized what I had gained from the relationship, and this would translate to progress in the next stage of my life. Harnessing personal power through reflecting on our break-up actually bolstered my self-esteem.”
- Advocate for Your Kids so They Can Advocate for Themselves
- The Dawn of High School: Decisions, Decisions.
- Fifty Shades of No Shame.
- Converting Passion to Action.
- “Why Don’t You Have a Little Fun?”.
- I Burned My Bridges. Don’t Do That.
- Plunging Into the Pressure Cooker
- Is the Ivy Brand Really So Grand?.
- The NYU Blues.
- The Gift of Gap Year
- The Author’s Journey.
- Roots Shaped My Attributes and Attitudes
- Born in the Caucasus
- The Unity in Community
- My Mother’s Sanctuary of Warmth
- My Dad’s Ethics
- Luda the Rusty: The Bully Gets Busted
- Role Model Miriam: My Engaging and Inspiring Teacher
- Reflect Before You Rebel. Have No Regrets
- Girl’s Got Chutzpah! Equalizing the Playing Field
- The Channel of Change
LIFE IN THE BORO
- Landing in the Big Apple
- Floundering Through Foreign Waters
- First Date: I Resisted, He Persisted
- Love Conquered it All: Changing My Ways
- Terms of Marriage: Luda Becomes Leah
- Married and Buried
- Beyond the Boro
- Grappling With Hypocrisy to Demand Authenticity
- Shanda, Shanda! Shame on You!
- Dare to Dream, Dignity into the Bloodstream
- Escaping Problems Doesn’t Fix Them
- The Contingency Plan
- “Leah’s Late Nights:” Gossip Sparks More Fights
- Seek Support but Seek No Approval
- Holiday Season
- Moving Out: Ask for Help!
OUT OF THE BORO
- Know Thyself to Love Thyself
- The Jewel on My Crown
- Loosen Up and Learn from Lazuli
- Alone, Not Lonely
- Transform Regret to Beget Greatness
- My Oath of Allegiance: Leah Becomes Lea
- What I Unveiled at Chippendale
THE NYC SINGLE SCENES
- Select, Don’t Be Selected
- Ari Tests My Self-Respect: Be Direct and Project
- Bill Miller: Finding Liberty in Rejection
- My Makeover
- Tom Manning: Wet Dreams, Dry Promises
- Daniel Schwartz: Entangled in a Three-Year Package Deal
- Rey de la Cruz: Love, Sex, and Friendship
MY SOULMATE: A SUSTAINBALE RELATIONSHIP
- An Unexpected Encounter at the Turn of the 21st Century
- Getting to Know Vick
- My First Visit to San Diego
- Packing and Helping Me Move
- Compulsive Order Creates Disorder
- You Took My Cousin Away from Me!
- Communicate to Motivate, Manage to Your Advantage
- Ringing in a Respectable Woman
- Never Let Turmoil Spoil
- Masterpiece Matrimonio
MOTHERHOOD: THROUGH MY DAUGHTER'S EYES
- The Alien Invasion
- What Kind of a Mother Will You Be? Eyes Paired by Mutual Tears
- Parenting School
- From a Bully to a Buddy
- Make Your Children Your Masters
- Avoid a Flare, Just Repair
- The Underpinning of Winning
- She Stole My Squishies! Speak Up to Make Up
- Deeds By Kids
- Don’t Let the Lie Multiply
- The Value of Money: UGG, Unconditional Glamor Galore
- Principles Merge a Fork in the Road
- A Crash from Whiplash: A Healthy Path to Greatness
- Turn You and Take Your Journey
- Concluding With Purpose
MY LIFE'S MISSION INSPIRED BY MY DAUGHTER
- Lea Wolf, The Warrior
My Book Inspired Formation of
*Read my full article about GW Resilience Groups in the September 22, 2022 issue of the Hatchet.
GW University Hillel staff members and I first connected over Jewish themes in my book. We then discussed the lessons arising from each story, which could help students with their decision making, confidence, and most importantly, building resilience.
Resilience groups are small group seminars with no more than 10 students per workshop who discuss shared challenges, like stress, identity crisis, cross-cultural communication, parenting, religion, friendships or relationships, all of which have narrative-based tools in My Mother’s Mirror. Students who join these groups will not only benefit from fortifying their mental toolbox, but they will also build a supportive group of friends to empower each other on a campus that is often criticized for lacking a sense of community mental health resources.
If students begin to cultivate resilience at the onset of their college experience, they can prevent potential episodes of discouragement and manage the obstacles they’ll face in their four-year journey and beyond. Any student who wants to form their own resilience group around a particular theme can reach out to me. I hope to expand this concept beyond my university and as generalized workshops which use my book as the framework.