Somehow I Am Different

Narratives of searching and belonging in Jewish Budapest

Filtering by Tag: somehowiamdifferent

Local Publishing in Hungary

Somehow I Am Different is now officially available at a local Hungarian publishing house - Underground Kiadó - Szerkesztőség! For all those Hungarians who wanted to own a copy but were troubled by the shipping cost from the US, this is for you! For all those interested in a new cover design and a second copy, this is for you, too.

Feel free to spread the word and to buy your own copy here.

First Place in New York Books Festival Biography/Autobiography/Memoir

We are thrilled and humbled to announce that Somehow I Am Different has won first place in the New York Book Festival Biography/Autobiography/Memoir category!

Congratulations to the other winners, runner-ups, and honorable mentions. We look forward to discussing and working with you! 

Kirkus' Indie Books of the Month Selection for July!

We are thrilled to learn that Somehow I Am Different has been selected as Kirkus' Indie Books of the Month Selection for the month of July!

Keep an eye out for us in the July Kirkus Reviews magazine, Kirkus Reviews email newsletter, and Kirkus Reviews website.  

Thank you for the incredible honor, Kirkus Reviews

Award-Winning Cover Design!

Somehow I Am Different is the e-Book Cover Design Award Winner for March 2016 in Nonfiction at The Book Designer! Thank you, Dane at! The Book Designer describes our cover as, "A beautiful and sensitive cover that brings together disparate elements in a careful balance. It’s personal, historical, artful, and multi-layered all at the same time." Feeling grateful!

Day Eighteen of SIAD Blog Tour - Aryeh Gelfand

Today marks the final day, day eighteen, of the Somehow I Am Different Blog Tour. Eighteen, or chai, means life in Hebrew and is one of the most recognizable symbols of Judaism. Gifts are often given in multiples of 18, which symbolizes giving the recipient life or luck. The cheers “L’Chaim!” or “To Life!” highlights the joy and renewal in Jewish community celebrations.

I am honored to share Aryeh Gelfand’s poem about his own Jewish identity for day eighteen of this blog tour. Aryeh’s poem explores many of the questions that many Jews struggle through and are often fearful to express. The raw, honest, and seeking nature of Aryeh’s expression is a perfect culmination of all that this blog tour and Somehow I Am Different have aimed to represent. And if you really want to feel something, you’ll have to see Aryeh perform the piece in person!

My Jewish Identity

Being a Jew to me is everything.

It is to live in a state of dichotomous balance.

It is to be hated, feared, and misunderstood.

It is to be envied.

It is to live as Clark Kent, with his true form lying skin deep beneath the fabric that covers his true essence

What of those who wear the black and white and spit on the forces of modernity?

What of those of those ancient relics of a past ill-remembered and ill-understood?

Are they worshipers of a God long since dead, and keeping alive traditions that brought the fires of death on both themselves and all of humanity?

Or are they standard bearers of an ancient and subversive light unto nations?

Where is the place of the doubter? The non-believer? Those who claw at the dirt piling on to their face in desperate search of some fresh air to breathe.

Who gets to wear the armor of God?

Is it the soldiers wedded to tradition who thrust their pikes through the hearts and minds of those who profess not to believe?

Or are those who choose to live a life of not choosing. Not knowing.

Not being?

Where lies the truth in this world.

Why does it lie underneath piles of wet mud and is made up of lost, and broken dreams.

And Broken.


Continuously broken promises.

Why are we as blind dogs, lead by the leash of reason, and myth, and preconception. Through this minefield of traps and holes, in which to fall?

Why is the norm to be lost, without a map?

But is to be lost? not to

be found?

It is too

a path to search!

Where lies the answers to the questions we all ask?

Or if we don’t should be asking?

I don’t know.

But we must be content to lay blinded in the dark.

Grasping at traces of lightning. As it flashes briefly, momentarily across the black sky.

Illuminating the truth. If but for one singular moment!

It is for these moments, for which we live.

For there is no truth. Only beauty.

And the wild seas of our tormented souls, in which we can find comfort.

Thank you, Aryeh, for sharing your search with us. If you have a reaction to this piece, please comment here or email apetersel@gmail and I will forward the question or comment to Aryeh himself.

Day Seventeen of SIAD Blog Tour - Naomi Rosen

On the seventeenth day of the SIAD blog tour, I am proud and excited to share an interview with my dear friend, globe-trotting change-maker, and fellow social worker, Naomi Rosen. Here's what Naomi has to say about Somehow I Am Different and her take on my journey to bring the book to life.

Day Fourteen of SIAD Blog Tour - Caitlin Fitzpatrick

The fabulous blogger, writer and advertising genius Caitlin Fitzpatrick interviewed author Alyssa Petersel for day fourteen of the SIAD blog tour! Check out their conversation about daily life, life and interviews in Budapest, and the art of journeying here.

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