Reading Israel

Discussion Questions for Miriam’s Song

Tags: Books, Zionism, Romi Sussman, Soldiers and Defense, Family, Community, Yom HaZikaron

By Romi Sussman

The story of Miriam Peretz is an emotional read, of love, loss and ultimately a Mothers' journey to inspiring others. Delve deeper into Miriam's journey with these thought provoking discussion questions that are a welcome addition to any book club or personal understanding of the book.

  • Did you enjoy the overall structure of the book with the different sections and perspectives? Why or why not?
  • Did you find that you had to put the book down at one (or more) point and take a breather? At what point?
  • How did the background chapters about Miriam’s time in Morocco and her Aliyah influence your understanding of her and her future loss?
  • Did those early experiences make a difference to you, as the reader, when she lost her sons?
  • When describing Uriel’s time in the army, Miriam says, while doing his laundry, “God keep giving me socks with thorns.” What do you think she meant? Do you think that God listened?
  • In the chapter “I Knew Uriel Would Die” Miriam gives many examples of how she felt that his death was coming. But obviously she is writing this in hindsight. Do you think that this is true, at times, that people give us signs of the future? Or do you think that we reinterpret such events after they’ve happened to fit our needs?
  • Miriam and Eliezer had to sign off to allow Eliraz to continue in a combat unit after Uriel is killed. We can probably all agree that this must be one of the most difficult things that parents could be asked to do. What do you think about their decision and Miriam’s explanation? What does Miriam mean on page 200, after signing the document for Eliraz to be in a combat unit, when she says, “We left the room as different people.”
  • In Hadas’ section, she says that “God has also done many good things for me in life.” This is certainly an interesting statement from someone who has lost two brothers and a parent. What do you think of this statement, and how it helps Hadas to move on? Matan proposes to Bat-El two months after Eliraz falls. Many people question why they didn’t wait longer and Bat-El explains that “I had learned that in Jewish tradition, we don’t put off celebrations.” What do you think about this philosophy? Have you had a similar experience?
  • When she accepts the Menachem Begin Prize, Miriam says, “Out of the darkness that visited our family and many other families in Israel, every day I choose to spread light.” Explain how Miriam has managed to do this in her life. Can you think of ways that you spread light in your own life?
  • When discussing life now at the end of the book, Miriam recounts how Eliraz became a symbol when he fell and how they lacked privacy around his death. She recounted how a senior report wrote on his Facebook page that Miriam’s family was a “family of jihadists.” When asked how she responded to these accusations Miriam said, “Look, I grew up in a simple, modest Moroccan home. I was taught that when you like someone, you invite him to eat. So I invite that guy to have a meal with us. That’s all.” (p. 346) What do you think of this response?
  • When Miriam gets a copy of Miriam’s Song in her hands she says “This is the Peretz family Passover Haggadah.” (p. 349). What do you think she means? Do you have an unusual “Passover Haggadah” of one sort or another?
  • When giving advice to mothers who have lost their children, Miriam says “Always leave the door to life open, even if it’s just a tiny crack.” (p. 373) What do you think she means?
  • What is the significance of Eliraz’s meatballs on page 376? Do you have an item in your life that is like those meatballs?
  • How did you feel when you finished the book? Did it change your connection to Israel? To the IDF?

Romi Sussman heads the content writing department for a technology and digital consulting company. Originally from Los Angeles, California, she made Aliyah from Potomac, MD and is raising six boys in the hills of Gush Etzion. She frequently blogs about life in Israel and her experiences over the last decade.



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Tags: Books, Zionism, Romi Sussman, Soldiers and Defense, Family, Community, Yom HaZikaron