Welcome to our latest edition of Author Spotlight, where we delve into the literary journey of Mrs. Bracha Toporowitch, a distinguished author at Mosaica Press. With a repertoire of three significant titles to her name, Mrs. Toporowitch has carved a unique niche in the world of storytelling and therapeutic writing.
In this insightful article, Mrs. Toporowitch shares her experiences, tracing her evolution from a devoted mother and grandmother to a successful author and therapist. She offers a candid look into the inspirations and challenges that have shaped her path, revealing a deep connection between her personal life and her literary endeavors.
To date, I have written and published four books, and behind each one was a different motivation for writing it.
The first was a biography of my father, z”l. He had such an amazing life that I felt an obligation to record his journey with as many details as possible, for the sake of my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Some people told me that the book read like fiction; it was that interesting. I gained tremendously from writing this account for I discovered things about my father that were previously unknown to me.
Although my motivation was to preserve my father’s life story for the family, the book sold very well, and Targum Press decided to put out a second printing at their expense.
I had no formal training in writing, but I had a natural flair for expressing myself on paper. Throughout my life, I’ve always written. My innate talent was recognized, and I was chosen as the English editor of our high school yearbook. In school I’d put out newsletters, and I’d write Purim shpiels and plays for tzedakah projects. My active imagination provided plots for my various endeavors.
As a young married woman, other than writing for my tzedakah projects, life was too hectic, and I had no time to write seriously. After moving from Monsey to Israel, when my youngest child was already past bar mitzvah age, I finally decided to write my father’s biography. At Your Command was published in 2003, before the suicide bombing that changed my life. The No. 2 Bus bombing from the Kosel Maaravi in August 2003, which killed 22 holy kedoshim, including our granddaughter, would be the catalyst for another of my books.
But I’m jumping ahead of myself; it took me years to write about the bus bombing. Prior to that I’d gotten a taste for writing seriously after my first book was published. As a practitioner of mind-body healing, doing therapy for women with various mind-body healing modalities, I was very familiar with women’s suffering and their inability to express their pain. I wanted to write a story of inspiration and chizuk that would strengthen those suffering with personal crises. I decided to write a novel, a fiction story of intense suffering, with heroes who were able to overcome their challenges with emunah and a strong connection to daas Torah. That novel, From Darkness to Dawn, published by Mosaica Press in 2018, was a story of struggle, perseverance, and transformation. I had a deep sense of satisfaction when it came out, and I celebrated greatly when the book was delivered to my home.
There was also some autobiographical content in this book via the heroine, who similarly went from being a shy and unexpressive person to becoming someone with a lot to say and an active hypnotherapist. The story was fiction, but some on my own struggles were depicted within.
The heartfelt feedback I received for my first novel encouraged me to write a sequel, another fiction story. The beloved heroes of From Darkness to Dawn continued into my second novel, Sparks of Radiance, with new adventures and challenges. This was published by Mosaica Press in 2020.
After the Perlman family move to Eretz Yisrael, they are devastated when their very own daughter becomes a victim of a bus bombing. In this tale I could write about the pain, the exhaustion, and the challenges these victims went through, not only immediately following the tragedy but for months and even years afterward.
For various sensitive reasons, I had never written an actual account of the No. 2 Bus bombing that our family endured, but there were certain messages I felt I had to put out, and this was a great way to do it. Once again, the feedback the book received was phenomenal.
Obviously, as all authors experience from time to time, writer’s block was one of the challenges I had to overcome in my writing career. I felt emptied out of ideas for a while, but when the coronavirus came along and I was essentially sitting at home without clients and without much to do with my time, I ventured into writing my next book. I decided that the amazing experiences I’d been privy to in my hypnotherapy practice deserved some publicity. Writing Amazing Hypnotherapy Tales was relatively easy as I merely had to choose from the numerous true patient accounts, change names and details to ensure privacy, and create fascinating tales out of what actually took place. Mosaica Press published this, my most recent book, in 2021.
Ever since publication, people have been turning to me for help as a hypnotherapist and some have actually became clients. So this book served not only to create a fascinating read for the public, educating them in a relatively unknown modality of healing, but became the catalyst for helping members of the frum Jewish community with some of their greatest challenges.
My books never became bestsellers in the literal sense, or achieved numerous printings, and I didn’t make money on my books. Some authors might see this as failure, and truth to say, I did feel that at first. But after realizing that my books have helped people in many real ways, I no longer look at the numbers. Each person is an entire world, and saving one life is considered as though one saved an entire world. That is my reward, a very palpable one. I hope this feeling will push me to produce more.
A tentative future project of mine is to create a novel that can be enjoyed by children as well as adults — a great challenge indeed! But if Mark Twain could do it, I figured I might be able to as well. The project is simmering in my mind. I have some plays I wrote for my grandchildren that we acted out together (myself included) and had videoed. These stories were great entertainment. Could I bring them up to the level of worthwhile entertainment for adults? I look forward to seeing what the future holds!