I grew up in a predominantly Jewish city and fell in love with the Jewish practices, customs, and holidays at an early age. We weren’t a practicing Catholic family—although I received the requisite sacraments: baptism, first Holy Communion, and confirmation—so my mind and heart was quite open to being drawn into a faith that was so rich and steeped in tradition.
It wasn’t until I was an adult and began actively pursuing knowledge about my Catholic faith that I saw the ways in which it was deeply rooted in the Jewish faith. I remember attending a Mass when I was in my mid-30s and being overcome by tears as I felt transported back to the Passover dinners I had attended as a teenager.
It is based upon that love and understanding of the Jewish roots that my own writing career took hold. I wanted to share what I knew but also wanted to experience it deeper—which is really what writing does: immerses an author in the subject through research and passion. It is from these experiences and passions that I wrote the fiction book Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage. Elizabeth is a woman searching for meaning in her life. Her marriage is neither vibrant nor over—it simply “is.” Her kids are off to college and she has to redefine herself. She wants more for her life and her marriage but knows it must begin with God—and so she decides to fulfill one of her lifelong dreams: to take a trip to the Holy Land. During this trip she meets many people who impact her understanding of her faith but also force her to take ownership of where she has been and where she is going in terms of her relationships. She experiences many of the holy sites while also immersing herself in the culture. One Amazon reviewer has said this about Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage:
This is the first book review I have ever written. After I finished reading "Elizabeth: A Holy Pilgrimage" I felt compelled to write a review. This book was a delight to read. By the end I felt that the families and characters in this book were friends of mine. I also felt as if I had taken a trip to the Holy Land. Cheryl did a wonderful job of bringing the characters and Israel to life. I find few books today that relate to my vocation as a Catholic Wife and mom of 5 but this one did. I enjoyed the book so much that I am hoping that Cheryl Dickow writes a sequel so we can enjoy the characters again. I highly recommend this book!
Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage is available in paperback and on kindle and is being reprinted on Catholic News Agency with my permission. I am currently writing the sequel and invite you now to enjoy Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage.
CNA will post chapters of Dickow's book on Mondays, beginning July 4.
Editor’s Note: Cheryl’s non-fiction book is called Our Jewish Roots: A Catholic Woman’s Guide to Fulfillment Today by Connecting with Her Past.