This book is extraordinary! I was initially drawn into this book with the idea of learning about the Jewish wisdom secrets that Michal claims to share. I loved learning about her life and some of the history of her ancestors. Her grandmother jumped from a train that was heading to a concentration camp! My own great grandfather, with Jewish heritage, immigrated from Austria to the United States a couple of decades before the Nazi invasion of Austria. Thus, my ancestors were not personally involved, but I frequently wonder what would have happened had they not immigrated when they did. While I am not a Jew religiously, I love learning about other cultures, especially those that I have ancestral ties to. One of the things that most surprised me, was how each of the Hebrew words of wisdoms and their meaning translated into a similar teaching that I have been taught in my own religion. It was really eye opening how similar we, as humans, really are, despite our differences.
I found Michal to be such an engaging author! She is so relatable! I, too, have felt the fear that she has, though my life circumstances be different. I am so inspired by how she has overcome so many of her fears and had such extraordinary faith and bravery. This women has been dealt her fair share of hardships and she is so vulnerable and honest in discussing them through the books. But she was resilient and was strengthened by each of them. Her story is uplifting and motivating.
While the book is part memoir, it also weaves in Jewish wisdom. While many of these are ideas that I have already been taught, she teaches them in a way that really touched me differently than these ideas have in the past. These concepts teach the reader how to be more compassionate and empathetic, to put faith over fear, and how to live a more joyful life. They teach how serving and providing room for others, can help us develop humility, confidence, and contentment.
A quotation from the ending of the book really brought things full circle for me.
"...You have the power to assess where you are and where you ought to be. View every single day as an opportunity to adjust, to correct, to forgive or be forgiven, to reflect and evaluate and to always, always, move forward."
No matter where you are in your life or what religion you do or do not practice, I feel this book is exceptional. It is insightful, moving, and I learned a lot from it. It teaches how to be a benevolent and more cheerful person through ancient wisdom that has been passed down from ancestors. This wisdom can, and should, be applied today too.
Thank you to the publisher, DK publishing, for an advanced reader's copy! I have a hard time doing anything to "blemish" a book, but I couldn't help but highlight some of the soul-stirring words in this book. I plan to come back to it frequently!