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Professor and Students Produce Book Inspired by Triumphs over Domestic Abuse

Book signing and reading with Naomi Gal and Alpha Sigma Alpha – April 16

Bethlehem, Pa., April 15, 2009—Domestic abuse can take many forms; it can be physical, but less obvious are mental and emotional abuse. Naomi Gal, Comenius professor of literature and languages at Moravian College will read from Free to Be at the Moravian Bookshop in historic Bethlehemon Thursday, April 16 at 5:30 p.m.  Free to Be: Regaining our Freedom, edited by Gal and sponsored by Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority, is a compilation of stories, poems and testimonies written by women helped by Turning Point [of the Lehigh Valley] who share their tales of survival and hope.

“Free to Be: Regaining our Freedom started out as compilation of stories, poems and testimonies by women whose lives were changed by Turning Point,” noted Gal. “It is the women’s way to express their gratitude for the wings Turning Point helped them grow, so that they were able to fly away from harm and find their true selves,” she added.

“And, the book was expanded to include the stories of young women from Moravian College and their mothers.  Moravian's Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority enlisted their amazing skills, raised money, added stories and poems, edited, and helped in every way to publish Free to Be,” said Gal.

Free to Be is an endeavor of love and dedication by numerous women who believe domestic abuse can be vanquished. It is a compilation of stories, poems, and testimonies of women who share their tales of love, abuse, pain, hope, and survival.  The book started as a dream by Marcia, a counselor at Turning Point. She believed that writing was part of the healing process, and she encouraged women to document their stories.

Eventually, a writer’s workshop was created by Naomi Gal to help Marcia’s visions come true. The women met every other week, shared tears and smiles, and wrote about hurt and healing, abuse and redemption. As the volume of writings increased, it was clear that help would be needed in order to publish the book. The Sisters of Alpha Sigma Alpha, Zeta Nu, led by Kristina Crescente ’09 (Blakeslee, Pa.) enthusiastically enlisted support and talent, raised money, added stories and poems of their own, edited, designed, and met with the women time and again, until the project was complete.

“Our hope is to tell the stories of grandmothers, mothers, sisters, daughters, cousins, nieces, and friends to so that any woman in the same situation can understand they are not alone and can fly away from harm, Free to Be,” Gal concluded.

In addition to teaching, Gal is a writer, translator, editor and lecturer.  She studied French literature and philosophy at the Sorbonne University, Paris, and continued higher studies in Journalism, Social, and International at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes. She pursued further studies at the Ecole des Langues Orientales, Paris, France.

Gal is fluent in Hebrew, English, French, and Italian, and knowledgeable of Arabic, and German. She has authored 15 books in Hebrew.  In 2007, she wrote Daphne’s Seasons, her first novel in English, published by Publish America, Inc.  The book tells the story of a woman in rural Pennsylvania who lost her husband in a suicide bombing, and how she grows and heals to find her inner voice and strength to become whole again. She has translated and edited over a hundred various fiction and non-fiction works from English and French to Hebrew, including autobiographies and biographies of Itzhak Rabin, Raymonda Tawil, Anatoly Sharansky and Nancy Regan.  She was awarded the Jerusalem Prize for Literature for her novel Soap Opera in 1994, and the screenplay Convert received a grant from the Israel Fund for Quality Time. The screenplay The Sisters was awarded the Warner Brothers Prize.  Creative Woman received the WIZO prize in 1999.

Turning Point of Lehigh Valley is a safe place where victims of abuse and their children can find refuge—providing services in Lehigh and Northampton Counties to more than 5,000 victims of domestic violence each year. Its mission is to work toward the elimination of domestic violence; increase community awareness of the problem; and empower victims of domestic violence by providing shelter and support services.

The Moravian Bookshop is located at 428 Main St. Bethlehem. For more information, visit: http://www.moravianbookshop.com.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America’s sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at http://www.moravian.edu/.