Naomi Litvin: We Never Lost Hope: A Holocaust Memoir and Love Story ~ Book talks, corned beef, out of town relatives

November was busy at my house. Due to my two public book events, my family came in from out of town to celebrate with our local family. In a stunning turn of events, and in what may have come as a total shock to the whole famn damily, I actually wrote a book, was accepted to the Jewish Book Council, and was going to have the floor without being interrupted.

Thank you, Afikomen Judaica, in Berkeley, CA for hosting me on November 8 for a book talk, sale, and signing. It is such a cool Jewish store, where you can find everything from a challah cover, tallit, books, to chatkes galore.

I stood up to give my spiel, and for some reason, maybe because my sister in law was video-taping me, I suddenly was at a loss for words. At that point my Mom jumped up, put her arm around my waist, and said, "go ahead, tell them what I said when I arrived in Munich on that day after liberation." And I did-- 'When I got off of the train that day, I could not help thinking that for all that the Germans had done to us, fate had spit the Jews right back on them, on that glorious day when the Jews were free and we arrived in Munich.'

Afterward, we went to Saul's Deli in Berkeley and had a raucous time with martinis, corned beef, camera flashing, and lots of laughter! So much so, that some people from another table came up to us, asking what we were celebrating. I said, Freedom! Then I sold the guy a book! Next event was on November 13, at the Contra Costa Jewish Book Festival, where I had the privilege of being on a stage with Riva Gambert. Director of Community Programs for East Bay Federation, Riva has demonstrated a deep, life-long commitment to Israel, and is a fan of Sir Martin Gilbert, who wrote the foreword and contributed maps to my book. Riva interviewed me and we discussed my book. At the end of it, I read my mother's poem, Hopes Worthwhile, a poignant piece that actually encapsulates the story, making it a perfect preface to the book. When I looked up, the entire crowd of people were crying. That made me happy! When all this was over, my sister stayed in town with my mom and I got out of Dodge, heading down to Carmel, to stay with my friends. While I was there, I presented We Never Lost Hope to the Monterey Public Library, hung out at River Beach where the Carmel River meets the Pacific Ocean, and drove like a maniac down Highway One to Big Sur...with the wind in my sails!