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At the tender age of 3, my mother, along with her mother and two sisters, fled Nazi Germany for the United States of America. Settling in a humble immigrant community in Los Angeles, they faced the daunting challenge of starting anew, with little command of the English language and only the kindness of neighbors to rely on. It was then that my mother stumbled upon a revelation.

The public library.

To her, it was more than just a building—it was a sanctuary brimming with stories, ideas, and knowledge. Week after week, she would borrow ten books, return them, and leave with ten more. Seventy-five years later, not only has she mastered the language and earned a partial scholarship to UC Berkeley, but she has also become a published author and a sought-after speaker, educating audiences nationwide about the horrors of genocide.

At age 18, she proposed to my father, armed with a spreadsheet demonstrating how two could live more economically than one. His acceptance marked the beginning of a journey filled with valuable life lessons, ones that he passed down to me as well.

Just recently, they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.

My mother’s dream was always to be a writer. In the 1970s, society frowned upon the idea of a woman balancing work and motherhood. But someone who wants to write
will find a way to write.

And someone who wants to change the world can do it without a big platform or high-profile byline.

Despite societal expectations, she forged ahead, rejecting PTA meetings and idle gossip, instead using her voice to address political and social injustices.

Well intended people often ask my mom, “Sunny (short for Sonia), from where do you get your inspiration?” (I love to watch her answer this question.) She pauses, takes a breath, and replies, “I don’t get a message on a mountain top; a voice doesn’t inspire me from above while I’m in the shower. I get up every morning, make the bed, pour a cup of coffee, and I sit down at my desk and do the work!”

It was my mother who taught me discipline and the term relentless tenacity. It takes relentless tenacity in any endeavor to make it to the top.

She also taught me the power of compassion, a lesson she learned from her own Mother.

I realize how lucky I am to have my Mother, my best friend, at this stage of life. Whether you’ve lost your mother, are a mother to children, a dog, a cat or a mentee, thank you, Mom’s. Your work, your love, and your lessons continue to make the world a better place.

I love this video-it circulated online a few years ago. You may have seen it, even so it’s worth a watch.

God Bless America and God Bless our mothers!