A Grandmother’s Love Story

June 2, 2022: In Art in the Time of Crisis: Women Writers Respond to the Call, Stephanie Raffelock (ed.),  coming June 28, 2022 from She Writes Press I was named in memory of my maternal grandmother, Estera. She was named for the biblical Queen Esther, who risked her life to save the Jews of Persia—condemned […]

Lost From History – A Taste of Licaricia

May 24, 2022: In the United States, May is Jewish-American Heritage Month—a time spotlighted for reflection on topics that we might lose sight of during the busyness of our lives. In addition to the personal details of how our family stories have led us to where we are today, let’s take the time to reflect […]

Joseph, We Never Knew You

April 28, 2022: On Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, when we remember those who’ve died in wars and terrorist attacks, thoughts of the fallen—past and current—fill my consciousness. This year, in addition to thinking of the fallen of Israel, I am also mourning the fallen in the current war in Ukraine. So many lives lost, […]

“Hello, I’m your cousin.”

April 25, 2022: In these days of robocalls and other forms of telephone spam, I usually do not answer calls from numbers I don’t recognize. About a year ago, though, I did answer and heard a woman’s voice: “You don’t know me, but I believe we’re cousins.” Yeah, right. Who is this woman, and what […]

Happy Chanukah!

December 5, 2021: In the midst of the end-of-year holidays, I got to wondering how Rebecca would have celebrated Chanukah in the Thirteenth Century in the Kingdom of Sicily. In the contemporary American world, Chanukah, although religiously and historically a rather minor festival, has become much more important because of its proximity to that behemoth […]

Meeting My Medieval Heroine—In-Person!

September 16, 2021: What would you have done? Imagine your reaction if at a break during New Year’s services in a synagogue—or during church services or a public lecture or even a show—a stranger came over to you and said you remind her of the medieval heroine in the book she’s currently writing. Would you […]

Salerno Today

August 5, 2021: Like Jews before her time and after, Rebecca is a refugee. Naturally, in concert with the overarching theme of her search for a safe place to be her home, this chronicle of Rebecca’s adventures after Ivanhoe has a distinct geographic flavor. Most of this book takes place in Salerno, now a part […]

Whence Rebecca?

May 3, 2021: Urban legend or truth? Will we ever know? Rebecca, daughter of the merchant Isaac of York, is the Jewish heroine of Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe (and, of course, of my Rebecca of Salerno). The fair Saxon noblewoman, Rowena, is the Christian heroine starring in the love triangle Scott created. Books such as Ivanhoe, […]