Liftoff!, Life Support and The Missing Peace

Liftoff!, Life Support and The Missing Peace

A Triple Book Review by Rachel Stein, who adds another adult book to her prolific lineup.

Rachel Stein

Toco Hills resident Rachel Stein writes about spirituality and, working with readers, tries to help community members deal with dilemmas.

“Liftoff!," “Life Support” and “The Missing Peace” are three books by Rachel Stein available at Judaica Corner.
“Liftoff!," “Life Support” and “The Missing Peace” are three books by Rachel Stein available at Judaica Corner.

It’s been a long day. The possibilities for stress lurk everywhere, just waiting in the shadows for an opportunity to pounce on an unsuspecting bystander. They may appear in the form of a demanding boss, a moody spouse, challenging kids, snarls of traffic. So, dear unsuspecting bystander, you deserve a break. Why not treat yourself to a no-fail recipe guaranteed to help you unwind from your daily rigamarole?

Here are the three essential ingredients: one aromatic cup of coffee, a plush, leather ottoman and a compelling read. Do I have suggestions for reading material? Why, I thought you’d never ask.        

“Liftoff!” is a collection of 23 real-life stories about people who faced challenges, yet managed to overcome them with remarkable courage, faith and strength.

All the stories are true. All of them happened to “ordinary” people like you and me. All of them have the ability to uplift and transform each one of us with the message of the power of the human spirit and the uniqueness of the Jewish soul.

“Liftoff!” was born from a column I wrote for the Yated Ne’eman, a national Jewish weekly publication. It was my job to find people with inspiring stories. The more I listened and wrote, the more inspired I became. These people were remarkable. I felt awed each time I chronicled their stories. How did they manage with their life circumstances? Why, intrepid soul that I am, crises like searing heat or midnight encounters with six-legged creatures leave me gasping, my heart drumming a wild rhythm. But these people lived through real challenges. And, not only did they live through them, they emerged, like butterflies, more vibrant and resilient.

Some raised handicapped children, lived through a tornado, sent children off into an unknown future, changed the course of their entire lives to embrace a Torah lifestyle, survived a terrifying carjacking, or suffered imprisonment when an emotionally challenged child called the police. Standing tall, every one of them refused to buckle during turbulent storms that would have felled weaker saplings.

Writing these inspiring journeys helped me realize that regular people can achieve the impossible if they set their minds to it and believe in themselves and in their Creator. My goal is to share this message so that each one of us will spread our wings and achieve the vast potential embedded within us.

In addition to “Liftoff!” I have authored two other books for adults along with children’s books for various ages. “Life Support” is a diary of my experiences, sometimes harrowing, always enriching, that occurred during my chaplaincy training. It’s an awesome responsibility to care for the sick, yet there was always a positive thread in each situation that helped me learn and grow. Many colorful characters crossed my path while I was on call in the hospital, yet each one taught me something invaluable. There were also many obstacles strewn in my path. It was my job to figure out how to navigate my way around these hurtles, sometimes through laughter, sometimes with tears.

Writing my experiences was therapeutic, a way for me to process the deep and emotional journey I was traveling.

“The Missing Peace,” or the secularized version, “When Ice Cream is not Enough” (available on Amazon) brims with scenarios depicting conflicts between family members, friends and acquaintances.

After reading the first vignette, your initial reaction may be: “He’s right.” But once you read further, you may waver and decide: “No, she’s right.”

How can both parties in a conflict be right? Herein lies the key to “The Missing Peace.” Reading stories told from both sides of the fence, the reader gains insight into another person’s perspective. The ability to understand someone else’s viewpoint provides the ability to help manage interpersonal conflicts, enhancing significant relationships. And who doesn’t want more intimate and satisfying relationships?

One of the highlights of writing “The Missing Peace” and “When Ice Cream is not Enough” was co-authoring this book with my only sister, Esther Gendelman. Her experience as a veteran educator and a mental health therapist greatly enhanced the insights we were able to provide. Besides that, it gave us time to laugh, enjoy and just be sisters working on a project together.

As a writer, I feel energized by spilling words onto paper. My wish is that you, the readers, will feel just as energized after enjoying these stories and absorbing their valuable messages.

If you are looking for a lift, some life support, or that missing peace that’s eluding you, one stop will take care of your needs. “Liftoff!,” “Life Support” and “The Missing Peace” are available at Judaica Corner. Happy reading!

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