GLIMPSES OF SOUTHERN JEWISH ROOTS
"... a delightful collection of vignettes..."
American Jewish Historical Society
"... collection of 22 charming stories..."
"... true stories about how it was in America when Eastern European Jews were fleeing pogroms and poverty... Hardships are combined with humor as the extended Bercovici-Berkovitz-Berk family adapted to their new country... Yankel comments on what he sees, thinks and feels in the manner of Sholem Aleichem's Tevye..."
The Las Vegas Israelite
... GLIMPSES OF SOUTHERN JEWISH ROOTS is a collection of short stories about real people and events involving Jews who arrived in the South 100 years ago. Also included in the book is "Yankel In Amerikeh," a group of vignettes told in the voice of one of the immigrants speaking his new language in a distinctive way..."
"... a 125 pager worthy of mention... well-written and interesting..."
The JEWISH WORLD Northeastern New York, Vermont and Western Massachusetts
"... The adjectives that came to mind while reading these works were pleasant and charming... Berk's loving descriptions makes it easy to see that she truly cares about these people, and readers may find themselves feeling the same. And then there's Yankel, the funny elder who has almost disappeared from the American scene. I found his monologues on life amusing... If you laugh or groan with pleasure, you'll find yourself liking Yankel."
Rabbi Rachel Esserman, The Reporter, The Jewish Federation of Broome County, Binghamton, New York.
CALL HER BLESSED: Biography/Memoir473 pages with over 160 original photographs and illustrations.
The inspiring life of Lara Moskovitz Berkovitz who through courage, stamina, wisdom and love became a fully realized woman before there was such a thing as "feminism." The story tells how she grew in strength and understanding as she survived heartbreak and terrible loss to make her life one of rich fulfillment.
The author says about this work:
From early childhood I wanted to know about my mother's life. "Tell me about when you were a little girl" was my open sesame to a whole wonderful world.
As I grew older, I heard more and more of the chapters that filled the book inside her, and the people she spoke about took on substance -- as if I, myself, had known them in a different time and place.
One day three or four years before she died, my mother said to me, "Why don't you write my story? It's very interesting." When I answered that I couldn't write her story, only she could, she sat down and began to write. A week or so later, she showed me a sheaf of 67 pages. Other than to ask a few questions, I did nothing. After her death, I was too full of the pain of loss to open the manila envelope that contained her angular writing. The manuscript sat in a drawer gathering importance and waited.
Though I was filled with her stories that supplied me with pictures and sounds, places and people, thirteen years would pass before I was able to begin to write her story. In her writing, she indicated only sketchily the events that caused her great suffering. I would fill in the gaps, she knew.
Lara Moskovitz wrote in her memoir:
My Father was in the Catle Business he made a poor living but My Mother never complained they lived pecefully although My Mother was diferent from my Father he liked to sing & Drink Wine & Dance she didnt even bother with the neighbors my Father used to do what he wanted & she did what she wanted they never argued about anything, they had tree Sons before I was born naturally they were happy to have a girl...
The Moskovitz Family
Here is a quote from the narrative text of CALL HER BLESSED:
Used to a life of comfort, after her marriage to Yankel Moskovitz, Gittel Nachman was soon measuring the amount of water to add to the soup pot mouth by mouth. At first she added a cup for Itzick, their first born, then a second for Julius and a third for Shruel. By the time Lara, her younger sister Sophica, and Ruben came along, the cups to be added called for a cauldron.
Lara Moskovitz at 14 1/2
ROSA BELLA TAKES CARE OF THE WORLD (PLAY)
Based on a true story set in America's South and Havana, Cuba at the beginning of the 20th century which deals with an Eastern European Jewish tradition of "special women."
YANKEL IN AMERICA
Reading at The Lambs Club December 2005
Based on material from GLIMPSES OF SOUTHERN JEWISH ROOTS AND CALL HER BLESSED
Marie Therese (Die Marschallin) has not seen her young lover, Octavian nor his young wife, Sophie, since she sent him away 10 years earlier fearing he would eventually leave her. She was 31, Octavian and Sophie were both 17. At great sacrifice, she made it possible for them to marry. When they reunite, his unquenched love for her tempts her to resume her affair with him, but memory is overwhelmed by new and wholly unsuspected feelings. Marie Therese, the most complex and fascinating woman in opera/theatre discovers for the first time what it means to fall completely in love.