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Praise for Recipes for a Sacred Life

“Exquisite storytelling. Written in the spirit of Elizabeth Gilbert or Anne Lamott, Neshama’s stories (and a few miracles) are uplifting, witty, and wise.”

—Publishers Weekly

“Joy-filled and laugh-out-loud, this beautiful book can open your heart.”

—Science of Mind magazine

“Neshama’s own stories will inspire you to find the magic and meaning in your own everyday life.”


“A bright promise of awakening that comes from simple ingredients and life’s most everyday moments—sunrises, walks, animals, neighbors, parents, being a grandparent, and making lists. The tales carry a resonance similar to healing stories from Rachel Naomi Remen’s Kitchen Table Wisdom.”

—Foreword Reviews

“Recipes for a Sacred Life left us moved—and changed. Wise, poignant, funny, and inspiring.”


“Rivvy’s bite-sized stories will make you nod with deepest knowing. It’s a magical companion.”—HuffPost

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a guide to happiness? Recipes for a Sacred Life is the closest thing I’ve found. Powerful. Inspiring. About adding love and joy to the everyday.”

—First for Women magazine

Sandra Jonas Publishing

PO Box 20892

Boulder, CO 80308


Copyright © 2020, 2013 by Rivvy Neshama

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used in any form whatsoever without the written permission of the author, except for brief quotations included in critical articles and reviews.

Revised and expanded edition. Originally published in e-book and paperback by Divine Arts in 2013.

Author photo by Darcy Kiefel, www.kiefelphotography.com.

Cover photograph of Rivvy and her mother, Irene, was taken by her father, Bernard Feldman, in Miami, Florida, after he returned from serving in World War II.

Cover design by Sandra Jonas

Publisher’s Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Neshama, Rivvy, author.

Title: Recipes for a sacred life : true stories and a few miracles / Rivvy Neshama.

Description: Revised and expanded edition. | Boulder, Colorado : Sandra Jonas Publishing, 2020. | Notes: Originally published: Studio City, California : Divine Arts, 2013. | Includes bibliographical references.

Identifiers: LCCN 2019953126 | ISBN 9781733338615 (trade paperback) 9781733338646 (cloth) | ISBN 9781733338660 (e-book)

Subjects: LCSH: Spiritual life. | Spirituality. | LCGFT: Autobiographies. | BISAC: BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Women | BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Social activists | BODY, MIND & SPIRIT / Inspiration & personal growth

Classification: LCC BL624 .N475 2020 | DDC 204.4 — dc23

LC record available at http://lccn.loc.gov/2019953126



To my mother, Irene Dashevsky Feldman, inspiration, dearest friend, and Princess of Germantown Ave, with whom this all began

To my father, Bernard Saul Feldman, a teller of tales and a lover of life, with a spirit so big he still speaks in this book

To my son, Tony, and daughter, Elise, for the love, the lessons, and the journey together

To my grandchildren, Brendan, Jenna, Eli, Isaac, and Jordan, for the joy they give so abundantly (for which I am grateful to their loving parents!)

To Sarah Bowler, with love and gratitude for her endless help, faith, and friendship

And to John, my beloved. Of course.


Welcome to the New Edition



Basic Ingredients

A Good Day to Die  . . . or Not

The Where to Begin

Grateful in Harlem

Tea and Compassion

My Mother-in-Law’s Bedroom

Miracles to Share

Gracias, Gracias

Life, Death, and Laughter

A Good Day

The Lord Is with Me  . . . or Whatever

Do the Right Thing

This, Too, Shall Pass

Poco a Poco


The Sun Is Rising

Hello to the Sun

The First Few Steps

Words to Live By


Animal Chats and Other Unions with Nature

In the Woods

Animal Chats

Odes to a Garden

Simple Pleasures

The Bird Connection

With Beauty May I Walk


To Forgive Is Devine

Looking for God in All the Wrong Places

What the Dalai Lama Said

A Day to Remember

Rites of Forgiveness


Friends and Neighbors,

Lovers and Strangers

Do You Give to the Ones Who Are Drunk?

The Ballad of Pam and Renato

Buddies on the Path

On the “A” Train

What Is Wanted? What Is Needed?

Confessions of a Listaholic

A One-Minute Recipe from Mexico

Young Babes and Old Broads

Just Like Me

Serving (People) (Dinner)

Have a Great Day! Not.

A Good Neighbor

“_ _ _ _ Is Closer Than You Think”

Come, Come, Come to the Fair

Something about Angels

Recipes for Partners: Keeping Love Sacred

Everything I Know about Sacred Sex

Take Care of Each Other


A Nature Recipe from Frank Lloyd Wright

Study Nature

Love Nature

Stay Close to Nature


Sacred Space. Sacred Time.

The Magic Hour

Zen View

A Sacred Space

A Sacred Home

One Holy Day


Soul Food

Mrs. Zimnoski and Her Vegetables

Sacred Sound Bites

The Humble Oatmeal


Rituals and Celebrations:

Birth to Death and In-Between

Join the Family

Hello to Dad, Nana, Uncle Bob, and  . . .

Meditations on Meditation

Heart Like a Crystal

Sister Judy’s California Meditation Recipe

Greeting the Seasons

Looking for Light

Birth, Marriage, and Death

Pictures and Words


This, Too, Is True


Kindness—Random or Not

For Days When It’s Hard to Feel Grateful


The Sounds of Music

Fortune Cookie Karma

Do a Mitzvah. What’s a Mitzvah?

This Being Winter. This Being Human.

A Way to Dance

Tikkun Olam

Half Empty or Half Full?

Speaking Spanish in Mexico

One Last Song

A Note from the Author


Endnotes and Permissions

About the Author


These teachings,

take them with a grain of salt,

the salt of your own being,

your own mind and heart.

Sniff it out.

Does it smell right?

Eso no, esta si.

This yes, that no.

Don’t be afraid to pick

and choose.

That’s what cooks do

when they are making a dish.

Este plato es tu propio mismo.

This dish is you!




Once, in a small town in Colorado, I drove past a Chinese restaurant called Double Happy. I never ate there, but I never forgot the name. I couldn’t decide if it was a little over the top or if it had a deeper, more philosophical meaning.

When Recipes for a Sacred Life was first published in 2013 by Divine Arts, I was beyond happy, kind of in an altered state. I had dreamed of being an author since I was seven years old, and now that I officially was, everything felt more dreamlike than real.

Now, with this new edition being launched by Sandra Jonas Publishing, I am both calm and excited. With a few new stories, a brand-new publisher, and a new cover photo—of my mother and me—it feels like a rebirth for my book, and I feel twice blessed. Double Happy? Perhaps.

But I think there is a deeper meaning to that name. For what has given me the greatest happiness in regard to my book have been the notes I receive from readers, telling me how it brought them joy

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