Behind the Layers
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.
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