The Pain of Separation: An evening with authors Anna Ornstein and Phyllis M Skoy

When: Wednesday, April 11 2018, 7:00 pm

Free! Registration appreciated.

The Pain of Separation: An evening with authors Anna Ornstein and Phyllis M Skoy Image

Join two powerful authors for a thought-provoking discussion about triumphing in the aftermath of trauma on refugees. Dr. Anna Ornstein, a Holocaust survivor, and Phyllis M Skoy, the daughter of a man who fled the Russian pogroms, come together as fellow psychoanalysts and authors to share about how telling their stories has shifted their view of trauma. The reason we share may, in fact, lie in the Hebrew term, tikkun olam, which means to “repair the world.”

My Mother’s Eyes: Holocaust Memories of a Young Girl
Anna Ornstein is a Holocaust survivor. After emigrating to the U.S., she seldom spoke of the experiences she suffered while a young girl. Twenty-five years ago, at the family Seder gathering, her family asked for a story from her past. In an evocative, understated passage, she shared a bit of the tragedy she saw through the eyes of a child. Every year she has added to this tradition by sharing another chapter of the tragedies she witnessed and the small moments of grace in her survival. Through her family's support, Orenstein gained enough strength to share her experiences in My Mother's Eyes, in hopes of keeping the nightmare from ever happening again.

Myopia, a memoir
The year is 1949. Jeannette sits on the edge of her hospital bed dressed and ready to go home with her newborn baby. She collapses onto the floor. Her brain is bleeding. Jeannette's husband, Nathan, is in the army, a brand new ophthalmologist. Their eight-year-old daughter lies in the hospital with a burst appendix.

The year is 1905. Nathan is born into a shtetl in Bershad, Russia. He doesn't know he will come into life during the worst Jewish pogroms in Russia's history, a bleak world filled with fear of starvation and death from hatred.

The time is the Great Depression. Jeannette and Nathan meet and marry in Philadelphia. He is from poverty and she is from wealth. He is a struggling student and she has graduated from the University of Pennsylvania at the top of her class in mathematics. The marriage takes place without her family's approval.

I am the baby born in 1949. I will come into this world of past and present, of horses hooves and bleeding brains and burst appendix. How do love and laughter flourish and grow in this endangered garden? How is intergenerational fear transmitted and survived? What does trauma do to blur our vision? This is Myopia, a memoir, a few of the tales I can tell from my life.

Dr. Anna Ornstein is an Auschwitz survivor, professor of child psychiatry at Harvard University, and professor emeritus of child psychology at the University of Cincinnati. She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Phyllis M Skoy, author of Myopia, a memoir and What Survives,is a semi-retired psychoanalyst in private practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She grew up in New Bedford, Mass. What Survives was short-listed by the Santa Fe Writers Project, and Skoy was named Discovery of the Year by Bosque Press for her short story, “Life After.” Read her latest writing or keep up with author events at or on her Facebook author page at

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