True Stories Of Bright Stars On Earth –
Like The Stars Of The Heavens
By Helen Zegerman Schwimmer
Like The Stars Of The Heavens is a book that shines almost as brightly as the very stars in heaven. Written by Helen Zegerman Schwimmer, who just might be the brightest star of all, the book takes us through the lives of close to 50 incredible people while telling us Helen’s own life story.
Helen was born in the St. Ottilien displaced persons camp in Germany to two holocaust survivors, shortly after the end of the Second World War. Her story is fascinating in and of itself, but she doesn’t just focus on herself. She weaves the story of so many others into this charming book.
Each chapter is just a few pages long and I thought I would read one or two chapters at a time. But I found that I didn’t want to put the book down, so I read one more chapter and then just one more after that. Helen has a gift for writing and my eyes were often filled with tears as I read. Perhaps it is because she puts so much of her heart into the book.
A few of the stories in this book originally appeared in The Jewish Press under Helen’s byline, but I read them again as if it were the first time. The people profiled in this book are as diverse as “Foolproof Rugelach” is from intricate heart surgery, but you will read about both. The stories about mystery writer Rochelle Krich, actress Rachel Factor and Rebbetzin Esther Winner are alongside those of heart surgeon Dr. Richard Golinko and cutting edge research scientist Dr. Judah Folkman, to name a few. One minute we are experiencing the Holocaust and its aftermath, and then we are on Wall St. with computer mogul Akiva Shapiro. The amazing thing is how Helen manages to tell all of these stories, and her own, so compellingly.
Over more than 45 years, The Jewish Press has helped many writers gain experience and name recognition, but rarely has the paper been credited. Helen Schwimmer is an exception. She takes the Jewish ethic of “Makir Tov” (acknowledging something done on one’s behalf) seriously. And her very funny first chapter is a wonderful example of this trait as well as a good introduction to the book.
Like the Stars of the Heavens will make a wonderful Chanukah (or anytime) gift for everyone…men, women, teenagers and yourself. It can be purchased on line from: Amazon.com or chosencouture.com
It is also available at select bookstores: at Eichlers in Brooklyn and at West Side Judaica and Levine’s in Manhattan.
Naomi Klass Mauer