The story of the “torn jacket” occurred on our honeymoon trip in honor of our 23rd wedding anniversary, thirty years ago.

Here I am telling the story of the “torn jacket” in a video clip taken from our documentary “Hedy & Yumi: Crossing the Bridge.


Thirty years later, the “torn jacket” gives me a miracle and the gift of a life time.

On November 19, 2018, I received the following message from a stranger:

Dear Hedy and Yumi,  

Our mutual friend Kathleen Hanagan sent me a link to Hedy’s TED Talk about “the Bridge” where Hedy briefly mentioned her history of her mother (and father and her) getting into Switzerland during the war.  

I am a researcher at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. This fact piqued my curiosity as we have extensive Swiss Jewish Refugee files here that include photographs and history provided by the refugees.  

In researching, I found documents and photographs on Yda Leib Muszkal (born 8/25/1907) and Marie Muszkal (born 1/19/1909).  

I was awe struck. I couldn’t stop crying. I had never seen these pictures of my mother and father. With tears in my eyes I wrote a thank you note to my friend Kathleen.

And here is what she answered:

Oh my, I am so happy Hedy. Do you want to know how it all happened? I need to tell you a story.

On Saturday, Steven and my dear friend and housemate Patry were helping me set up for my BIG DAY—the welcoming of Loveseed—my book—into the world. They were working so hard, but Patry looked sad. She was mad at Steven because he had a torn jacket on.

The next morning I went up to their room, and sat down on the bed, and said that I wanted to tell them a story of a very dear friend and mentor of mine. I proceeded to pass on the story of the “torn jacket” to them as they sat wide eyed. Then I suggested they watch your TED Talk.

The rest is history!!! And another miracle is made manifest as we co-create heaven on earth.

And the string of miracles continued. The next day I traveled to Orlando, Florida, to visit my friend of 40 years, Louise. She now lives in a nursing home, where she is being cared for because of a progressive palsy. Did I have a story for her. And she perked up.

This picture of our visit was taken by our friend Jim, who was a witness to my visit with Louise.

Who knew that the “torn jacket” would become a gift that keeps on giving?  

I am sending you the story of the “torn jacket” as a Chanukah message, becauseChanukah is the celebration of the miracle of Light. My parents, Miri and Yda Leib Muszkal, were miracles, who even in the darkest of times created their own light.

Historically on Chanukah, Jews commemorate their victory over a tyrant king, and the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem in the year 165 BCE. As the story goes a small quantity of oil to light the temple’s menorah, enough to keep the Eternal Light glowing for one day, miraculously burned brightly for 8 full days. The real miracle of Chanukah is the miracle of human courage, that empowers us to take risks for the future, even in our imperfect, uncertain world. It is the courage, even in the darkest of times, to create our own light.

So on this Chanukah of the Jewish Year 5779, I am wishing all of us the courage to create our own light in the darkness, and thus co-create heaven on earth together.

With blessings for a very happy, creative and courageous Holiday Season from both of us,

Hedy and Yumi