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The Forever Letter: Writing What We Believe For Those We Love Paperback – September 8, 2017
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"Zaiman is a wonderful storyteller, which is evident in this book peppered with personal stories about meaningful letters she has received, stories from people in her workshops, and stories about letter-writing from literature and philosophy." ― Psychology Today
"This straightforward, engaging book offers practical tips for writing not just a letter, but a parable that conveys the essence of what has given your life meaning." ― Spirituality and Health
"Zaiman writes The Forever Letter with compassion, understands the gravity of her subject and leavens it with humor, stories that she tells well and practical advice." ― The New York Jewish Week
"This lovely book is a thoughtful aid to those who might wish to leave a written legacy for loved ones and provides helpful advice for how to do just that." ― Foreward Reviews
"The Forever Letter offers tools, guidelines, and examples for grandparents and parents to share their love, respect, and values with the next generation." ―Jack Canfield, Co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul
"The Forever Letter will convince any writing-shy scribbler that putting words onto paper (or typing them into a computer) is the most effective way to communicate what is in our hearts to the dearest people in our lives." ― Books and Blintzes
"Elana Zaiman has a mission: She loves connection, deep and personal, and wants others to experience the sweet joy she has lived of shared truth-telling." ― Julie Schwartz Gottman, Ph.D., co-founder of the Gottman Institute and author of Ten Principles for Doing Effective Couples Therapy
"If prayer seems a little too much like religion, but you need a place to express your hopes and desires, how about writing a Forever Letter?― Publisher's Weekly
About the Author
Elana Zaiman (Seattle, WA) is the first woman rabbi from a family spanning six generations of rabbis. She's also a chaplain and a writer. Elana travels throughout the U.S. and Canada as a scholar-in-residence, speaker, and workshop facilitator. Her most sought-after topic: forever letters. Her venues: synagogues, churches, interfaith-gatherings, social service agencies, geriatric residencies, law firms, women's organizations, private salons, and elder-law, health-care, and financial and estate-planning conferences. Her writing has been published in The Gettysburg Review, The Sun, Post Road, The Beloit Fiction Journal, and other venues. Visit her online at www.ElanaZaiman.com.
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There is so much wisdom and compassion communicated in this book. I like the quotes at the beginning of the chapters – such as this one from Wordsworth, “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” I also particularly loved Zaiman’s forever letter to her own son—I know it will make me think of many things to write to my own daughter.
After reading this book, even if you don’t write a forever letter, perhaps you will communicate your beliefs, wishes and gratefulness more clearly with a loved one. Or will be touched, as I was, by many of the stories and wisdom that is shared here. This book is a gift—give it to those you love. They will be forever grateful.
I have two grandchildren (nine and thirteen) who live in Houston. I don’t get to see them very often (I live in Seattle) and I realized they were growing up hardly knowing me, so three years ago I started writing one of them a letter alternating the recipient each week. Zaiman’s book has inspired me to write more thoughtful, richer letters and follow through on telling them about my life, my memories of my parents and grandparents, some of the lessons I learned, maybe what I hope for them although I know after reading this book that one must be mindful of the message.
A bigger project will be to write a forever letter to my son. I know this will take some time to tell him what I want to leave with him but I want to give him this gift. It will be a gift to me too since the helpful prompts in the book will enable me to examine my life and how I’ve lived it. Zaiman’s sage advice about carefully considering the contents of such a letter is welcome and important.
I would not have considered these steps in communicating with my family without this beautifully written book which feels as if the author is sitting beside me, guiding me to do the best I can.