OUR AUTHORS

KAREN POPPY

*Author bio incoming

SHAI HAR-EL

Dr. Shai Har-El is a scholar, educator, rabbi, writer, poet, activist, and businessman, whose multi-faceted career spans over fifty years.

Har-El was born in Israel, where he lived during his formative childhood and young adulthood, served in the Israeli army, both in active duty (1964-66) and army service (1969-71), and participated in the Six Day War (1967), the War of Attrition (1969-70), and the Yom Kippur War (1973). Residing in Illinois, he manages there his full-service financial consulting firm, Har-El Financial Group (visit www.HarelFinancial.com), and runs the Middle East Peace Network (MEPN), an ambitious, global private diplomacy organization (visit www.MEPNetwork.org). He also gives lectures and workshops, and writes essays on current Middle East affairs and a variety of religious themes.

Har-El holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in Middle Eastern History from Tel Aviv University, and Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago.

He is the author of the following history textbooks:

Struggle for Domination in the Middle East: The Ottoman-Mamluk War, 1485-1491(Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1995); Where Islam and Judaism Join Together: A Perspective on Reconciliation (New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2014); and In Search for Israeli-Palestinian Peace: An Urgent Call for a New Approach to Middle East Peace (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). His last two books are the fruits of his peace advocacy and activism under MEPN.

Har-El’s spiritual self-help book, Discover the Jewel of Wisdom: Eight Paths to Powerful Living, is the result of many years of investment in studying, exploring, experiencing, and teaching self-mastery. It is a “living laboratory” report of his own personal findings while plowing the “fields” of life and his spiritual journey toward rabbinic ordination. His anthology, Many Ways to Courting God: Selected Spiritual Writings, and his daily spiritual guide, Daily Spiritual Affirmations for Powerful Living, were assembled as companion books. This inspirational poetry book, Riding the Waves of Bliss: Seasons of Life Poems (Grants Pass, OR: Homestead Lighthouse Press, 2020), is an insight into the changing seasons of his life.

Har-El has lived with his wife, Rosalie of blessed memory, in Highland Park, Illinois, for many years. He has three children living in the U.S. and Israel, and eleven grandchildren ranging from twelve to twenty four years old.

Contact the author directly at Shaiharel@comcast.net

Click here for an interview with Shai about his poetry.

CAROL ARONOFF

*Author bio incoming

ALISSA LUKARA

Alissa Lukara is the author of the novel Secrets of the Trees, set in Latvia. She is a first generation American. Her family escaped Latvia during WWII and were refugees for five years. She speaks and writes Latvian and traveled there three times to research the novel. Her memoir, Riding Grace: A Triumph of the Soul (Silver Light Publications), was called by the Midwest Book Review “a transcendental story about the immeasurable powers of redemption and compassion.” Alissa has been a professional writer and writing coach for more than thirty years and founded Transformational Writers. She teaches workshops and speaks on writing as a transformational journey. She is also co-author of NightDancin' (Ballantine Books). Watch an interview with her about her creative process, research into family and Latvian history  and ancestral healing that inspired her novel, Secrets of the Trees here.

DENNIS SAMPSON

Dennis Sampson was born and raised in South Dakota. His seven volumes of poetry include The Double Genesis, Forgiveness, Constant Longing, Needlegrass, and For my Father Falling Asleep at Saint Mary’s Hospital, Within the Shadow of a Man, and The Lunatic in the Trees. The recipient of grants from The Virginia Council on the Arts and The North Carolina Arts Council, Sampson’s poems have appeared in such magazines as The American Scholar, The Ohio Review, The Hudson Review and many others. He has taught as Writer-in-Residence at Sweet Briar College in Virginia, as the Visiting Poet in the M.F.A Program in Creative Writing at UNC Wilmington, at Wake Forest University. and the University of Tennessee. He lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with his dog.

ROBERT MCDOWELL

Robert McDowell is the author of the novel, Emily & Virginia, soon to be published by Homestead Lighthouse Press, and publisher of Homestead Lighthouse Press. He is a poet, performer, social activist for the advancement of women and women’s rights, storyteller, public speaker, educator, editor, and author of 19 books, including Poetry as a Spiritual Practice (Free Press/Simon and Schuster). His book, The World Next to This One (poetry), was published in 2014 by Salmon Press, Ireland.

He is also the coauthor of two volumes of literary theory, co-translator of a collection of stories by Ota Pavel in the Eastern European Penguin Classics Series, and editor of three anthologies.


McDowell’s poems, stories, nonfiction, blog content, essays, and reviews have appeared in hundreds of anthologies and periodicals around the world, including Best American Poetry, Poetry, The NEW Criterion, London Magazine, Sewanee Review, Poets & Writers, and The Hudson Review.  

McDowell cofounded (with Lysa McDowell and Mark Jarman) and served as publisher of Story Line Press for 22 years, and he coedited (with Mark Jarman) The Reaper magazine for a decade.

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