Behind the Layers

Tags: Books, Jewish Identity, Family, Inspiration and Hope, People and Society

By Shira Lankin Sheps

I made aliyah in July 2018 and for the next year and a half, I worked nonstop writing my first book, “Layers: Personal Narratives of Struggle, Resilience, and Growth From Jewish Women.”

I sought out to travel the country of Israel interviewing Jewish women about their lives.

I recorded thirty-four stories; all deeply layered and filled with raw emotion.

I heard stories of suffering and healing of lives revolving around eating disorders, mental illness, post-traumatic stress disorder. Incredible narratives of caring for loved ones sick with cancer, multiple-sclerosis, and developmental disabilities. Heartrending stories of all different types of grief and loss; spouses, parents, pregnancy loss, and more.

I learned about refugee and immigrant experiences; tales of escape and the gratitude that comes with finding a place in Israel, to call home.

I was told about the inner life of someone who is fighting cancer and chronic illness. I heard what it was like to fight in or witness war here in Israel; intergenerational trauma, and the indescribable costs of terror.

They told me about what it is like to go on a spiritual journey; closer or further, choosing your religion and a new life. The feeling of finding love, losing love, and still waiting for love.

There are so many more stories.

Every one of these women touched my life in a way that I will never be able to quantify.

In a short time I traveled, collected, interviewed, photographed, and wrote these powerful stories.

Photo credit Tzipora Lifchitz

I feel transformed by the experience, and I am excited to share these narratives with you.

Learn more about the creation of the book here


About the Author

Shira Lankin  Sheps
Shira Lankin Sheps studied social work before turning to photojournalism. She is the founder and CEO of The Layers Project, which explores the many expressions of being a Jewish woman in today's world. Shira made aliyah in 2018 with her husband and children.

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Tags: Books, Jewish Identity, Family, Inspiration and Hope, People and Society