Pesach (Passover) is the sacred holiday where the Jewish people retell the story of their ancestral flight out of Egypt. Each year they celebrate their journey from bondage to freedom. Each person identifies with the story as though they, themselves were oppressed slaves under the wrath of Pharaoh. One of the most fundamental truths about life is that everyone experiences their own Egypt. People have a choice to live under the tyranny of Pharaoh or experience an exodus and travel to a land flowing with milk and honey. Based on a true story, this is the retelling of one woman’s escape from Egypt. Adira Bat Avraham shares her incredible journey that led her to a place of personal and spiritual freedom. Adira is an exceptionally strong woman who struggled through unbelievable circumstances. She overcame incredible odds to achieve freedom for herself and her for her family. Along the way, she learns to validate her own voice and cries for justice. Adira’s inspirational story is about healing, deliverance, redemption, and finding hope.
I drove through the Plateau Gardens. Giant rocks shooting straight out of the ground, with the majestic mountains as their backdrop, were so beautiful at sundown. The red and orange clouds were painted behind the purple mountains with giant orange sandstone rocks in front of them. The rock formations that protruded from the ground cast giant shadows that I imagined would be sentinels over the garden. But tonight the sun had already set behind the mountains and nighttime had settled in. Malevolence seemed to settle over the garden and the shadows of the giant rocks blanketed her with an obscure darkness. I felt the haunting of shadowy creatures watching me from the dark crevices of the places my car lights would not reach. But the isolation of the garden presented me a kind of tranquility that a normal drive home wouldn’t offer. In some way, I was enveloped in the darkness, and I could allow myself to undress my fears and my doubts about the meaning of my meager existence. Loneliness settled deep inside me as I quietly drove through the night until I found a secluded place to pull over. I parked my car, turned off the engine, and sat quietly in my car, wrestling with my anxious thoughts. I felt like I was being smothered in my unbelief. I finally stepped out of my car to get some air and try to regain control of my thoughts and emotions. “Who am I and what am I?” are two questions that echoed through my life like static noise in the background of everything I did, said, thought, and felt. The entirety of who I thought I was going to become and what I dreamed of becoming had crumbled and burned to ashes. I felt like the empty space I saw beyond the small city below me. Somewhere in the vastness of that darkness was the mirror of my inner barrenness. I missed commonality, community, and relationships. I was bewildered by my own desires and struggled to mask the emptiness with the faces of people I have grown to love and care for. I found family members among people who were not even my family, so my desire for ‘home’ and the cravings of my spirit didn’t make sense. Deep from the wells of my soul, I felt something begin to rise up to the surface of my consciousness. Slowly a memory began to form of places and times that seemed so far away. Sacredness was calling me again. Old desires for lighting candles, and singing the methodical melodies of Hebrew texts tugged at my spirit. I remember the rabbi and his wife showing me around their small synagogue in Albuquerque. I remember vaguely what he looked like, but his presence felt kindred to me, as though I had known him my whole life and our conversation lasted only a few moments. I remember the sound of his singing in the sanctuary and the lighted candles of the Menorah that were shimmering beside him. I remember the few people in the room and their presence seemed equally familiar. That day replayed through my mind like a gentle song drifting in the cool crisp night. It was as though summer had broken through the cold New Mexico autumn night. Memories of Shabbat candles and the quiet Saturdays I spent meditating warmed me. I thought about the Menorah and the Shofar and my heart began leaping for joy. I thought about Jerusalem and the Wailing Wall. I thought about the meaning of Koshrut and the significance it had to me at one time in my life. Somehow, along the way I had gotten lost. I felt as though I were miles away from my intended destination. I lost my dreams, my heart, and myself. And my world never felt more alone than it did at that moment. I pushed back tears and pushed the memories to the back of my mind. I sucked in the emptiness and tried hard to swallow the present. I looked out into the darkness, searching for a remnant of hope, and believed that I was the cause of the life I now lived. I struggled to accept my life as it was and thoughts of what my future held. It no longer contained fantasies of saving the world, and the thought of giving the world Jesus were childhood dreams that didn’t seem possible. I cannot say that at this time I believed G-d was on my side. I sat there that night a broken human being. I felt defeated. I felt empty. All the things that I once surrounded myself with no longer existed. I was not an on fire for G-d Christian as I once was when I started my Theological degree. I wasn’t a minister of the Gospel of good news, nor was I confident that the life that I was now living measured up to what constituted a good Christian life. I examined myself and found I did not bear the image of Christ, as Christians should. I did not represent Jesus, as Christians should. I didn’t experience the blessing and the peace that other Christians did. I was far from the typical Christian life. “I am nothing,” I thought. The simplicity and the clarity of that thought seemed to penetrate my spirit as if to answer the agonizing question of what and who I was. The nothingness of self; a place of inner consolation had finally allowed me the space to accept my life for what it was. I was nothing great, nothing noble, nothing honorable, and nothing beyond the capabilities of my broken self. I pushed myself off the hood of my car and stood at the edge of the lookout point. I was incapable of saving the world or offering the world hope. I existed between worlds of culture and faith and finding a strange disconnect to normative cultural and spiritual existence. The obscurity of my identity became strangely clear.
Tikvah Bat Moshe traveled with her small family around the country searching for a place she could call home. She ultimately settled down in California where she is raising her family in a quiet Jewish community. She had significant academic and personal achievements. She joined the Army Reserves in 2008 where she graduated with Honors from an Ordinance school in Maryland in 2009. She received an Achievement Medal later that same year for assisting a unit with the visibility of their progress before deployment to the Middle East. She graduating with an Associate of Christian Ministry in 2011, and received my Bachelor of Theological Studies in 2012. Tikvah Bat Moshe is a strong woman with virtuous character. Her strength and courage has influenced those around her. The light and joy she brings to the world inspire people to reach beyond themselves to do what they never dreamed possible. She found purpose in her life by bringing healing to the world through Tikkun Olam. Although she prides herself in her tremendous achievements, she believes her greatest accomplishments came out of being a single mother raising her two sons on her own. She is a proud parent of two fantastic young men. The relationship she has with her family is truly amazing. When people compliment her on how amazing her sons are and ask her how she did it, she’d say, “Thank You. My son’s are an inspiration. I don’t know what I did right but do know that I am blessed.” When people ask her the meaning of life she would smile and pull out a digital photo of her two sons and say, “They are.”
This was a book that opened my eyes to a side of America that I never dreamed existed. I grew up on the poor side of town but with an intact and loving family. That this side of society exists (even thrives) makes me worry about the future of our increasingly Godless society. Read this book to glimpse at the near future unless we return to caring for our neighbors, not hoping the government will. Tikvah began her escape, will our grandchildren?