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Your Life is a Trip
People Are Saying About
Judith Fein & Paul Ross
The Central Coast Writers' Conference discovered gold with travel journalist and author, Judith Fein (Life is a Trip: The Transformative Magic of Travel), and photojournalist, Paul Ross. Not only did they mesmerize a standing-room-only cosmopolitan group with their tales of travel to exotic places and how exposure to different cultures will impact one's life, but they involved their audience, transporting them on an interactive journey to lands yet to be discovered. Additionally, they designed and taught a travel writing boot camp that received rave reviews stating Fein and Ross are hands-down "the best travel writing and photography teachers ever encountered." They presented enthusiastic, humorous, and comfortable sessions facilitating new ways their students could diversify and improve their writing, photography, and traveling skills. They are teachers who are willing to share their expertise, industry expectations, and the fine art of storytelling. Without hesitation I would recommend them to anyone, including industry professionals, who are looking for new ways to excite and engage their clients.
Judy Salamacha, Director
Central Coast Writers' Conference at Cuesta College
San Luis Obispo, CA since 1984
Judith and Paul presented “Leaving Home to Find Yourself” at our recent Foundation for San Luis Obispo County Public Libraries special event. Our Board was pleased to have such a passionate and enthusiastic pair of travel/photo-journalists to bring to the Central Coast of California for a shared informational, experiential and spiritual event. The weather was beautiful, the wine was poured, the room was filled to capacity, a 100 year-old-traveler was in the audience and a sense of expectation filled the room as a uniquely-shared evening unfolded.
Judie and Paul moved the audience from tourists to travelers with their animated presentations and vivid photographs. It was fun to be with adventure-seekers of human experiences. The evening expressed the value of embracing diversity and finding one’s self so very much alive in the moments of unfamiliar and even awkward travel experiences. Judie knows how to dig beneath the surface to seek out the heart of local culture and opens the opportunity to be engaged with and to learn from the individuals one encounters when journeying. Paul's photographs convey a genuine love, aliveness and fascination with what it means to explore this incredibly rich world of ours.
Clearly, Judie and Paul understand the magic of “leaving home to find yourself.” Even after book-signing, the audience seemed reluctant to leave, but finally departed the Library ready to discover and engage adventure even as they walked to their cars and headed home..
Jude Long and Joan Decker, Co-Chairs
Foundation for San Luis Obispo County Public Libraries
Rarely do we find someone with your gifts – your ability to share wisdom, creativity, ingenuity and strategic perspectives. And, all wrapped in a person sans ego, and who’s flexible enough to make several 180-degree turns within weeks, then days, then moments ahead of a planned keynote speech.
You jump-started our Summit with one of the most innovative programs delivered over the course of the past seven Adventure Travel World Summit events. You had people dancing, laughing, rolling, thinking, playing, dreaming, and much more. Who can claim that power? Judie Fein, and only she.
I truly value what you bring to the table. But, more than me, our ATTA President Shannon Stowell, our entire staff and even more importantly, our 600 delegates from 54 nations valued what you brought to the table. Here’s just one of the many recent notes following the Summit we received about you:
“Just wanted to personally thank you for bringing elements of surprise, excitement, theater and fun to the Summit this year - your enthusiasm is contagious; your sessions were truly inspiring and memorable, chock full of hands-on participation and take aways.”
Your workshops, both of which I sat in on for a while, despite being required at all other sessions concurrently, simply put the icing on your “performance” at this year’s Summit. You have great command without even trying. You yourself are creative and accessible. For that, on behalf of the ATTA team and the entire 2010 Adventure Travel World Summit delegates, we extend our deep gratitude.
Vice President, Adventure Travel Trade Association www.adventuretravel.biz
The reviews are in…and the overwhelming conclusion is that Judie Fein was a great enhancement to our week-end gathering of supporters of a rabbinical college at a resort outside of Albuquerque.
Judie and her husband, Paul Ross, have traveled and written extensively. They have had a particular interest in the far-flung Jewish and crypto-Jewish communities of the world. Since they make their home in New Mexico, they have had the opportunity to meet with and document the stories of descendants of the hidden Jews in their own community.
Complemented by Paul’s video work, Judie’s presentations on the crypto-Jews of New Mexico enlightened and entertained. Judie’s knowledge of her topic goes far beyond the dates and facts and statistics. She helped us to get to know those individuals, in the US and in other parts of Latin America, who want to reclaim their status as Jews, as well as the interest of those who yearn for more complete understanding of their heritage without abandoning their Christian faith.
Her passion for these explorations came through in her formal talk, the question and answer period that followed and those opportunities for informal conversation over the course of the week-end.
It was a privilege to learn from Judie and Paul. In their evaluations of the week-end, participants indicated that got a great deal of pleasure from this portion of the week-end’s activities. The couple’s expertise and enthusiasm provided us all with knowledge, insights and an increased understanding of the history of the Jews in this area of the country. They were a great enhancement to the event, exceeding my expectations!
Susan Beckerman, vice chair, board of governors
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
gave a talk entitled "Finding Your Bliss While Making A Living"
at our September luncheon meeting of the Association of
Women in Communication-Albuquerque Professional Chapter. I had
attended several of her talks/performances, read her book, articles,
seen her and husband Paul Ross' films and very enthusiastically
invited her to be a guest speaker. The results surpassed my
expectations which were already quite high.
all, as I had hoped, Ms. Fein was a drawing card, attracting
guests from the community as well as many members who don't
regularly attend. She really connects to the audience and develops
instantaneous rapport. The audience was captivated, mezmerized,
and when her alotted time was up, half the audience lined up
to talk to her personally afterward. She is warm, funny, honest,
insightful, interesting, entertaining, intelligent, and surprising.
came back with 98% rating the speaker as "excellent"-unprecedented
unanimous big 'thumbs up'. We are hoping to bring Ms. Fein back
next year and do a bigger program with her as a featured speaker.
She is absolutely one of, if not, the best speaker we've had.
In short, Judith Fein is everything you could possibly want
from a guest speaker and then some.
recommend Judith Fein for any organization looking to pump up
its members, bringing them together for a memorable event which
they will refer to as a benchmark for future guests.
free to contact me if you would like any further information.
AWC/Albuquerque Program Chair, "Finding Your Bliss While Making
Performance Solutions, Inc.
On behalf of Travel Learning Connections and the attendees of the
Educational Travel Conference, we appreciate your participation as an
integral part of the presentation team. We have received great feedback on
your inspirational plenary presentation, and on your follow up writing
workshop. The audience comments below summarize well your outstanding
Keynote - Thinking Outside The Bus: Making group travel a personal
"Funny, fabulous, inspirational! Best session yet in this conference."
Can't get enough! Give Judie more time!" "One of the best sessions ever
seen at ETC!" "Outstanding speaker - very informative, very entertaining."
"Dynamic, engaging, well presented session - very informative - great
public speaker." "Fantastic! Energy and enthusiasm is just what I needed by
this time of day. Judie is inspiring!" "The best speaker we had so far!
Judie should have been our opening speaker!"
Workshop - Getting Travelers Excited About Travel: Starting with your own
"Need a higher rating than 5. It doesn't cover the quality of what was
offered in this session. Over the top - way more than expected." "Amazing
- unbelievable! And I am not the only one who has said this. Judie had the
entire audience bonded by the end." "Judie provides excellent value and
specific ideas for a diverse audience like ETC. She should be invited to
It was a real pleasure to meet you and Paul and work with you this year;
we look forward to working with you in the future!
J. Mara DelliPriscoli
President, Travel Learning Connections, Inc.
Thank you so much for being my guest on SpiritTalkLive! You were fabulous--informative, insightful, poignant and passionate.
You are an adventurous globetrotter, an an enthusiastic, articulate spokesperson for the joy of travel. But, even more, you seek out the world of Spirit and the spiritual in all that you do... as you span the world, connecting ideas, and ideals and, most of all, people. I am very very grateful to you for sharing your deep spirit with our listeners.
Rabbi Wayne Dosick
you so much for your recent presentations to Beth Shir Sholom!
I am still hearing the positive responses: "She was really
fascinating, wasn¹t she?" "It was soooo interesting!"
"When are we going to New Mexico for a program with Judith?!"
thing for which I must recognize in particular is your ability to deliver an
age-appropriate presentation to our older religious school students. They were
truly engaged and fascinated by the material you presented.
in the day, the adult presentation was energetic, informative and entertaining.
You set the stage beautifully for the video you brought which highlighted many
of your remarks that preceded. Your work with the "hidden Jews"and with
unknown or little-known groups of Jews around the world is not only enlightening,
it is deeply important and, with your seemingly boundless energy and commitment,
will become a cause among the established Jewish communities in the world.
you for your passion and for your excellent research. We truly enjoyed your
being with us and encourage others to reap the benefits of a visit from Judith
Beth Shir Sholom
Santa Monica, California
The Texas and New Mexico Hospice Organization was privileged to have Judith Fein as one of our Plenary speakers for our annual meeting. Her presentation, "Native Healing: A Global Perspective," included stories from around the world including sessions she and her husband Paul Ross experienced with healers ranging from a Zulu sangoma to an Inca yachak. Included in Judith's presentation was her training with a curandera in central Mexico, and a film the duo made inside that world.
Judith shares her incredible curiosity most effectively with her audience and fit her presentation into the world of Hospice and acceptable treatment of the terminally ill, world wide. The response was overwhelmingly favorable. We thank Judith for the wonderful presentation and can fully recommend her to any organization who is looking for a lively, thought-provoking and most timely presentation about Health Care around the world.
Sarah Rochester RN, Committee Chair, 26th Annual Conference, Texas and New Mexico Hospice Organization
Judith Fein was the keynote speaker at our annual "A Taste of Honey." The audience was filled, and people listened with rapt attention as she spoke about Unknown Jewish Communities Around the World. She was informative, entertaining, and very well received. One of the attendees summed it up on an evaluation form: "She was informative and enjoyable--it's not just a taste of honey--it's a feast!" Another commented, "What a treat--great information and knowledge, and we need a week with her!" Many in our audience suggested that she come back to do a full-day workshop, or at least a two-hour presentation to allow time for her deeply moving commentary as well as her husband's film clips from all the places she spoke about.
Later that afternoon, Judith gave a workshop on Jewish Healing Traditions, which was an experiential and deeply moving event. Again, the comments were overwhelmingly positive. "Bring her back and give her more time!" sums up the reaction of the participants.
Paula Amar Schwartz, Ph.D, Co-Chair A Taste of Honey
JCC of Greater Albuquerque, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Having greatly enjoyed her syndicated articles, me and my event chairs were delighted to have the opportunity to invite Judie to speak on the topic, "Unknown Jewish Communities around the World." Although we certainly expected an informative evening based on our familiarity with Judie¹s writing, we were delighted by the unexpected depth and drama of her outstanding presentation.
Judie had the attendees absolutely fascinated with her tales of travels to obscure communities, and made her talk not only vastly educational, but deeply personal as well. Moreover, I found Judie to be a delight to work with: wonderfully personable, and highly sensitive to the goals of our fundraising event.
I would highly recommend Judie for audiences either intimate or large, and for any organizer hoping for an event both unique and meaningful.
Sam Sokolove, Executive Director, Jewish Federation of Greater Albuquerque
cannot begin to tell you how much joy, inspiration, humor and teaching you bring
to Temple Beth Shalom. Your evening about mystical, spiritual Israel was a revelation
to me and to everyone in the audience. Even people who thought they knew everything
about Israel were agog at all the healers, holy spots and ecstatic ceremonies
you spoke about. The sanctuary was packed, and the audience was riveted with attention
on every word you said, and on the rare video footage. You have a real gift as
a storyteller, Judie. People laugh and learn at the same time; this is quite unusual.
And of course Paul is a born performer.
was the first time we have had a program in our sanctuary where Jews, Muslims,
Buddhists, Sikhs and Christians sat side-by-side, all mesmerized by what you were
saying. Your performance was so inclusiveit covered everything from Jewish
mysticism to a Bedouin healer to an Arab sleeping prophet. Besides being performers,
you are also peacemakers.
Weinberg, Program Director, Temple Beth Shalom
Fein is one of the liveliest and most engaging speakers I have ever had at my
congregations--both of them--in Kansas City and, before that, in Sharon, Pennsylvania.
She travels the world and brings back stories about little-known and exotic Jewish
communities and even parts of Israel few people know about. She has a gift for
presenting important information in a very entertaining way, and when she finishes,
people are excited and satisfied. She is humorous, a humanist, and a magnet for
interesting stories. What more could I ask for?
partner, Paul Ross, is also a very entertaining speaker,and he presents videos
that are vibrant, interesting and highly unusual. He has filmed many intriguing
groups--including the crypto Jews of New Mexico, the black Lemba in South Africa,
the Jews who live on the island of Djerba, and the Samaritans praying in their
synagogue and speaking ancient Hebrew. People are moved and fascinated by the
people he films and the way he presents them--with sensitivity, intimacy and drama.
I would recommend Judith Fein as a speaker to any group, and I would also recommend
Paul Ross as a speaker and videographer.
The New Reform Temple
7100 Main Street
On behalf of The Men's Club of Congregation B'nai Israel, members and
non-members who attended the August 3rd. breakfast, I want to thank you for
your passionate, well informed and inspiring presentation on the Lost Tribes
of Israel. For most of us, we were not aware of these tribes and their
locations that date back to Aaron and Moses. You took us on a fascinating
journey that was enhanced by your husband Paul's video footage of some of
these groups who trace back to our ancestral origins. You have a rare gift
for story telling as well as being able to access remote places and people
and gain their trust so they open up their worlds to you. We look forward to
future accounts of your travels. Thank you so much once again for bringing
these stories and experiences to our synagogue and sharing them with us.
You have widened our consciousness.
Program Developer, CBI Men's Club
Thanks so much for your wonderful presentation today to Northern New Mexico
Press Women. Many of our members mentioned afterwards that they were very
appreciative for the cutting-edge information you both shared and were
inspired to start pitching articles with what they learned from you. We all
enjoyed the passionate and enthusiastic way you presented your information
and experiences. We also appreciate all the time you gave us. You were
most memorable speakers!
Jean Kepler Ross
Northern New Mexico Press Women
Fein and Paul Ross have been involved with "The Savvy Traveler" since
its inception. They have a great nose for stories -- they can land anywhere in
the world and within hours come up with an intriguing, riveting tale. I've seen
it happen numerous times.
They consistently delve beneath the surface to find the heart and soul of a story.
They find content and connection that others miss and they tell their stories
with a voice that engages and connects -- makes the audience feel a part of the
action. They are natural performers, easy to work with, very collaborative, and
highly dependable. I recommend them without reservation.
Adair, Producer, "The Savvy Traveler"
director of the Koret Gallery of the Albert L. Schultz Jewish Community Center,
I recently had the pleasure of inviting and hosting Judith Fein and Paul Ross
as presenters at the opening reception of our exhibit and program about Djerba
and the Tunisian mainland. Judith presentation was more than just a talk; her
dynamic, witty and dramatic way of conveying a great deal of fascinating information
totally engaged our audience. Paul's high-quality and colorful video and talk
added an important visual component. People surrounded them for a long time afterwards.
Judith Fein and Paul Ross are among the best speakers/presenters I have had the
opportunity to work with in my 15 years of being director here."
Gordon, director/curator 505-955-0712 firstname.lastname@example.org
senior editor of Hadassah Magazine, I have had a long association with Ms. Fein
and I know her to be an indefatigable and thorough researcher, who has literally
traveled far and wide to learn about and record stories of some of the most fascinating
communities, including the Crypto Jews of Brazil and the oldest extant Jewish
community in the world on the island of Djerba.."
Shluker, Hadassah Magazine
advent of the New Year gives me an opportunity to congratulate you on the wonderful
and very interesting program "Unexpected Tunisia."
Nejmeddine Lakhal, Press Attache, Embassy of Tunisia
talk was mesmerizing. I loved it. You were direct, funny, and I thought the organization
was good. Thanks for doing all those sacred investigations and sharing them with
the rest of us.
Janet Eigner, psychologist
"I am writing to
recommend the team of Judie Fein and Paul Ross as excellent presenters. Their
presentation was fascinating; full of vivid details and colorful anecdotes, and
very informative. It was done in a very lively and engaging style. They were extremely
receptive to questions from the audience and were surrounded by many enthusiastic
listeners for many more questions after the formal presentation was over."
Biale, the Osher Marin JCC
you very much for speaking to the AJPA members at the association's annual conference.
Your colorful presentation brought to life aspects of Israel not often discussed
as you took us on a trip through generations of time in a mere 60 minutes. We
look forward to following your travels. On behalf of the AJPA, thank you for sharing
your talents and expertise with our members."
Jewish Press Association
was very happy to be there with you two last night. You presented such a beautiful
view of Israel and Palestine; I am inspired to go there myself. The performance
was wonderful, very funny, original, irreverent and interesting. Congratulations!"
Bill Druc, structural engineer
"As I have mentioned
before, and all others in the room wholeheartedly agree, the reason we are so
willing and available to go to all of your talks and gatherings is because of
what comes out of your brilliant and beautiful mouth. We would follow you anywhere,
we would listen to you speak about anything, because we all have so much faith
and trust in your path, your knowledge, your angle, your brilliant deductions,
your Biblical history, your love of different cultures, ancient and meaningful
cultures, your interest in what makes us tick, and what has made us tick since
the beginning of time."
Therese Williams, Gerald Peters Gallery
I read Judith Fein's 'Passover of the Ancients, ' I had no idea the Samaritans
still existed. It is such a little-known culture, in fact, that a co-worker who
is from Holon, Israel--one of the two communities where the small culture still
survives--did not know of their existence. And yet Fein's thorough research explained,
in an easily comprehensible manner, how they have gotten to where they are today.
What really set her story apart was the way she subtly introduced her own voice
and interests into the piece. The first time she uses the first person is a tender
and true moment. Hers is a warm, telling, powerful pieces that transports readers
to a world they never knew existed. It is one of the very best of its kind"
Micah Sachs, editor-in Chief, San Diego Jewish Journal
a wonderful evening you offered to the audience--thank you! The talk and video
were delightfully complementary, and you are both captivating storytellers."
Rubin, mother, architect, web designer
"Jim and I enjoyed your
evening of stories and video last night. Thank you for sharing that with all of
us! You have had such remarkable experience in your travels: I especially liked
your story about going to the Bedouin tents. You have a gift for storytelling
and Paul's video footage amplified it."
Edith Hathaway, Vedic astrologer
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