Remembering on Memorial Day

Remembering on Memorial Day.

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Remembering on Memorial Day

BlimaiconHello Again–Memorial Day is a time to reflect on the dedication and sacrifice of our troops.  I will forever be grateful to the valiant soldiers who liberated my parents and other survivors from under the heavy hand of Nazi domination.  Each day I am aware of the young men and women who undergo toil and sacrifice to keep our nation whole and safe.  And, like my parents, I am so very grateful that I and my family are citizens of the United States.  Thank you.


On Sunday I was able to view patriotism up close as I witnessed the stunning parade of motorcyclists honking and showing their colors near the Washington mall.  Although I was an hour late for a book signing, I couldn’t help but feel inspired and proud at the display.

The book signing of MY MOTHER’S SHOES at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum was also a time for remembering.  I have visited the museum several times and it never fails to awe me and, I confess, leave me at a loss for words. I enjoyed meeting so many visitors and having the chance to converse with teenagers, scholars, and people from as far away as Norway.  I even met a former student from Middlesex County College!  Thank you all for your interest and kind words.

Of course it is always a joy to visit my son, Howie, and daughter-in-law, Jaime.  And I can never forget Zoey (hugs and kisses) who continues to charm us and soon will be three.  Thanks so much to my brother-in-law, Mark, and sister-in-law, Michelle, for coming out.  It is always wonderful to see family.  Lastly, my love and thanks to Arthur for driving and shlepping–you are the “bestest” of the best!

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ShirleyIconHello Again, Everyone—

Just a note to thank those of you who turned out for the reading and book signing of my latest novel, THE MUSIC MAKERS, held at Barnes & Noble in New Brunswick, NJ. on February 14th.  It was such fun re-connecting with dear friends and meeting new ones.  Special thanks to my assistant, Zoey, my delightful granddaughter, who held my hand throughout it all.  2015-02-14 15.08.022015-03-15 09.08.04

Most recently, I wish to thank the Sisterhood and Men’s Club of the East Brunswick Jewish Center who hosted me on March 15 for their author event and for providing a delicious breakfast for all.  Special thanks to Myra Feldman for supporting me and for her kind words about the book, and Cindy Rabinowitz for her encouragement and organization of the event, and the always-supportive Gloria Jaslow and Bernice Bellows.  Thanks to all who woke up so early to make this morning such a memorable one!

After a week of freezing temperatures, I couldn’t wait to get away during spring break to the only slightly warmer environs of Washington DC where I visited my son, Howie, daughter-in-law, Jaime, and the aforementioned Zoey.  I was thrilled to read my first book, WHAT WOULD I BE? to Zoey’s class of two to three-year-olds.  What a well-behaved bunch (much to the teachers’ credit)!  Although my time with Zoey was limited, since she spent most of the day in school,  the memories of our making brownies and omelettes together, drawing flowers, and caring for her “baby” will sustain me until we see each other again. I still hear her voice asking, “Shoshi, how are you doing?” ringing happily in my ears.  I am so grateful to Jaime for “putting up with me” during those few days, but I was so glad for the opportunity to enjoy her company as well.

I want to give a special shout-out to a new friend whom I met on the train on the way to DC.  Sandy Cypess is a professor of Latin-American Literature at the University of Maryland who posts impressive credentials in her field.  Most notably, though, she hails from Brooklyn, graduated from Brooklyn College, and her parents owned a candy store.  Who knew?  Somehow, I feel sure we will see each other again–(perhaps at my book signing of MY MOTHER’S SHOES at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum on May 24th?).

Last, but certainly not least, I wish to publicly thank my husband, Arthur, for carrying the books, taking the pictures, and transporting me to my events.  Without his love and support, nothing is possible.  He is the best.

Until next time,




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JUST RELEASED–The Music Makers

ShirleyIconSo happy to announce the release of my new book, THE MUSIC MAKERS, available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  I hope you can join me in New Brunswick!

Barnes & Noble Welcomes

Shirley Russak Wachtel

author of

Book Cover

Meet Shirley Russak Wachtel, author of the acclaimed memoir, My Mother’s Shoes, as she presents her new novel, The Music Makers.  Reading followed by a book signing.

Sat., February 14th –  3:00p.m.

                                                Rutgers University Bookstore

100 Somerset Street * Gateway Transit Bldg. *  New Brunswick, NJ



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A New Year

A New Year.

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A New Year

ShirleyIconHappy New Year, Everyone!  2015 is a time for new beginnings and, even in this troubled world, a hope for the future.  January sees me returning to teach after a productive and enjoyable sabbatical.  I was also given the opportunity to spend time with my granddaughter, Zoey, who like a glowing light, illuminates my every step and continues to bring me immeasurable joy.  I wish I could offer all of you one of the delicious Hanukkah cookies we baked together.



Professionally, I am very happy to announce the publication of my book, The Music Makers, which has received a favorable review from Kirkus.  The book is now available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Additionally, the first chapter of the The Music Makers, “Virginia,” has been chosen as Scriggler’s “Publication of the Day” for January 10th.  Please check it out.  Also, look for my announcement for an upcoming book signing.  Until then, stay cuddly and warm in this deep freeze.

Scriggler Story of the Day: Virginia by Shirley Russak Wachtel
by Shirley Russak Wachtel
From The Music Makers
Shirley Russak Wachtel — Scriggler

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And Now December Comes



Hello all–I hope your Thanksgiving was as wonderful as mine was.  Surrounded by family and friends, and “kvelling” about my little granddaughter who astonishes me daily, what could be better?  Just a quick note to let you know that has again chosen my work as publication for the day.  This one is the preface to my memoir, MY MOTHER’S SHOES.  Please check it out through the link below:

Scriggler Story of the Day: AND SO by Shirley Russak Wachtel

 And here is a recent poem.  I hope you enjoy it.    Till next time, SHIRLEY






A drop of water

Falls from my hand entering

The big sea

Merging in a wave until

I can no longer tell

Where it is

Where it ends

And another begins

I stand at the shore and watch

The waves a multitude

Now undulating in the dusk

Orangeviolet lights that reflect

The moon until ultimately

All seeps into

A vast grayness.

I stand on the shore

Looking for the distant light

My fingers still oh still wet.



—Shirley Russak Wachtel

November 30, 2014

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