“Being Jewish comes with responsibility to be a family person, to make lives better and to be active for social change when you see injustice,” says Iris Krasnow, author, speaker and professor who will keynote the Women’s Voices Luncheon at the St. Regis Monarch Beach on March 14. “Jews understand this, because we are survivors.”
Growing up in Oak Park, Illinois, as the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, Krasnow was “aware of the eggshell-thin line that separates life and death.” She believes that Judaism is at the core of who she is.
A graduate of Stanford University, she became the fashion writer for the Dallas Times Herald, then moved to United Press International in Washington, D.C., to assume the position of national feature writer. A UPI Krasnow specialized in lifestyle stories and celebrity profiles, including Yoko Ono, Billy Graham, Ted Kennedy, Elie Wiesel and Queen Noor of Jordan. A longtime journalism professor at American University, Krasnow lives in Maryland with her husband and four sons.
Krasnow says that she “tends to write my heart,” and in so doing, she has evolved as a writer of “female boomer generational angst.” She is the author of Surrendering to Motherhood, the New York Times bestseller Surrendering to Marriage and Surrendering to Yourself, all published by Miramax Books, as well as I Am My Mother’s Daughter (Basic Books). A new book, How to Stay Married Forever, is coming out in August.
Krasnow’s writing has been featured in many national publications, among them Parade magazine, The Wall Street Journal, SELF magazine and The Washington Post. She is the relationship correspondent for the Fox Morning News in Baltimore, and has been a guest on numerous national radio and television programs including Oprah, Good Morning America, The Today Show, CBS Early Show, Fox & Family and several times on CNN. Interviews with Krasnow, and reviews of her work, have appeared in Time, O The Oprah Magazine, Glamour, The New Yorker, U.S. News & World Report and Redbook. She speaks on marriage, childrearing and the struggles of baby boomer women through their life cycles to love, understand and appreciate the people in their lives.
Surrendering to Motherhood is about the work-family balance. It sends a message to Krasnow’s generation of women programmed to “have it all” — great jobs and great families. She shows readers through personal experiences and powerful ancedotes the importance of streamlining big careers, so they can savor this moment while their children are young and growing. Her underlying message is this: “The fleeing moment of childhood is over in a fingersnap, so don’t miss that magical time.” She adds, “Every adult daughter who wants to become a more loving parent, a more compassionate partner, and a happier person. When you are open to your mother’s love, all areas of your life work better.”
In Surrendering to Marriage, Krasnow offers brutally honest war stories from the marriage front. After talking to nearly 300 husbands and wives over the course of three years, she concludes that “marriage can be hell, but the grass is not greener on the other side. So you may as well love the one you are with –especially if you have children.”
Surrendering to Yourself takes readers on the ultimate journey, into complete self-knowledge and self-love. Using personal narrative and interviews. Krasnow shows us how to listen to our gut instincts, resurrect childhood dreams and plug into the passion of our souls. She urges us to surrender to our true selves now, and not put off becoming who we were meant to be all along.
Of I Am My Mother’s Daughter, Krasnow says “I wrote this book, because I needed this book. I realized that the unifying buzz in my circle of colleagues and girlfriends was stories about dealing with aging mothers. Over lunch and on the phone, I kept hearing tales of mother guilt, mother rage, being overly-attached, or sadly estranged. Midlife daughters spoke of mothers who tried to act too young or looked too old or meddled in their lives, mothers who had just died, or were dying, mothers who were living too long.” She encourages people to make peace with their mothers before it is too late, believes that there are universal struggles between mothers and daughters and understands that healing is possible. She says that the mother journey is “interesting, hot, cold and all-powerful.”
“The key to any successful love relationship is to surrender, to let go, to sublimate your ego and to yield to the higher power of love,” Krasnow says. That is the essence of How to Stay Married Forever. Essentially, she believes that people should make the most of their relationships.
“When you look at all family relationships, you should savor what you have when you have it,” Krasnow says. “Do the work you love surrounded by the people you love and appreciate what you have.”
Dana Susson, Woman of the Year
In recognition of her lifelong commitment to serving the Jewish community of Orange County, Dana Susson will be honored as the 2011 Anne Entin Woman of the Year at Women’s Voices.
Susson currently serves on the Women’s Philanthropy Board of Jewish Federation & Family Services, the board of directors of the Merage Jewish Community Center and the board of directors of Families Forward, an Irvine based non-profit that benefits families at risk of homelessness. She is an active Mitzvah Maven and Women4Women committee member. Susson is also active with the Bureau of Jewish Education. She was co-honored as a “Woman of Valor” at the Merage JCC Celebration Ball in 2009.
Susson earned her undergraduate degree at UC Irvine and a Juris Doctor from Loyola University Law School. She has since practiced law for several insurance defense firms in Orange County, specializing in the defense of medical malpractice litigation. She has been married to her husband, Mark, since 1979, and together they have two children, Matthew and Sarah. A lifetime resident of Orange County, Susson was raised in Anaheim and currently resides in Newport Beach.
Women’s Voices 2011 will be held on Monday, March 14, at 11 a.m. at the St. Regis Monarch Beache. Co-chairs are Amy Rousso and Michelle Prescott. For more information, contact Eileen@jfoc.org.