OSHER: My journey to Judaism

Last year I began writing a book about my conversion to Judaism. I wanted to document an extraordinary year of study and my exploration of this new faith. I also wanted to answer the many questions that family and friends asked me about why I chose this path. I’m delighted to say that my first book, Osher: My Journey to Judaism is now available.

Osher: My Journey to Judaism is now available worldwide.

You can read more about it here.

“The tender story of a woman who feels that in converting to Judaism, she is coming home. A love letter about family, faith and osher – happiness”

Sherri Mandell, award-winning author

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Osher, the Hebrew word for ‘joy, fortunate, blessing’, is the truthful, moving story of Tetiana Michaels’ search for truth and meaning and a journey into a new and welcoming faith.

Tetiana Michaels was born into a loving Orthodox Christian family in Ukraine. A stellar legal career led her to practising in Ukraine, England and Switzerland. Yet, despite all going so well in her career and relationships, she felt as if something were missing.

Meeting the man who was to become her husband – the son of a Rabbi – opened her eyes to the Jewish faith. She found herself drawn to the rituals, to the ancient texts and, strangely, to the sense of a connection to her own past. Could this be the spiritual path that she had been looking for?

Tetiana was faced with many questions from curious friends, colleagues and family when talking of her conversion to Judaism, and in seeking to find those answers she came to examine her own motivations and faith.

Books played a crucial role in her conversion to Judiasm, yet when it came to reading the personal stories of others in her position, there were very few books of this kind to be found.

As she awaits the birth of her first child, Tetiana Michaels reflects on a year of intense study and observation to tell the story of how she became Jewish. In doing so, she hopes her own personal experience might be enlightening to others, curious about what it means to convert and the joy that Jewish life can bring.

About me

I was born in 1986 and grew up in a part of Western Ukraine known as Bukovyna, in a city called Chernivtsi, historically predominately Jewish. I received Master’s degrees in law from top universities in Ukraine, the USA and the UK and then pursued an international legal career. I live in Zurich with my husband and daughter.


“The tender story of a woman who feels that in converting to Judaism, she is coming home. A love letter about family, faith and osher – happiness”.

Sherri Mandell, award-winning author

“In reflecting on the intimacies of choosing Judaism as an adult, Tetiana Michaels provides a thoughtful, generous study partner or hevruta for others experiencing the deeply personal changes of becoming a Jew. And for those born Jewish but looking for more from it, Michaels’ gratitude, wonder, and nuance will inspire a fresh sense of appreciation and love for tradition”.

Dr. Stephen Arnoff, CEO of the Fuchsberg Jerusalem Center

Osher: My Journey to Judaism by Tetiana Michaels is a gripping memoir of the author’s experience of converting to Judaism. She is forthright in describing both the joys and challenges in embracing Jewish tradition. I believe this book would be a helpful guide to students either considering or in the midst of the conversion process. I know I will encourage my future conversion students to read it.

Rabbi Ed Bernstein, Host, My Teacher Podcast: Celebrating the People Who Shape Our Lives

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Vareniki (pierogi)

Vareniki – food that brings me back home. I personally like them with potato filling, sour cabbage or cherries. Here is the super easy dough recipe that my mom uses all the time .

Dough: 500g plain flour plus extra for dusting; 200-230 g warm water plus extra for sealing; 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 pinch of salt

Filling: use your leftover of mashed potato, or any other filling you like


  1. Mix all dough ingredients in a bowl, cover with towel and leave for 30 minutes in the fridge.
  2. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out until very thin (3mm). Cut out circles of dough with a cookie cutter or cup.
  3. Place approx. 2 tsp into the centre of circle of dough. Wet the edge of half the circle with a little water, then fold carefully to create a half-moon shape enclosing the filling. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  4. Fill a pot with water, bring to boil and cook for 4 minutes until vareniki rise to the surface.
  5. Transfer to the serving bowl and add sour cream or drizzle with sautéed onions, garnished with fresh chives.

Boost Your Immune System with Vitamin C

Is your immune system in good shape? With the novel coronavirus lurking around every corner, doing what you can to boost your immunity makes perfect sense. Vitamin C is an important component of staying healthy and well, so if you’re not getting enough vitamin C in your diet, now is the time to take a second look at your eating habits and (perhaps) your supplement regimen. 

How Much Do You Need?

According to the Institute of Medicine, women need 75 milligrams of vitamin C each day, although nursing mothers need 120 milligrams. Men require slightly more vitamin C each day: 90 milligrams. Smokers should take in an additional 35 milligrams.

Dietary Sources of Vitamin C

Many people get their daily dose of vitamin C through the food they eat. Citrus and other fruits such as kiwi, strawberries, and papayas are all loaded with vitamin C. Vegetables, including broccoli, sweet potatoes, kale, and yellow peppers are also good sources of this immune-boosting vitamin. Choose the freshest fruits and vegetables possible for maximum benefit. 

Vitamin C Supplements

While it is best to get vitamin C from whole fruits and vegetables, if that’s not possible, a high-quality vitamin C supplement is better than nothing at all. Look for a supplement that derives its vitamin C from L-ascorbate or L-ascorbic acid. This type of vitamin C is more bioavailable, which means it’s easier for your body to absorb and use. Adding vitamin C is an easy way to bolster your immune system so that it’s better prepared to fight off colds, viruses and flu.

5 Traits of an Effective Leader

People are not born great leaders; leadership skills can be learned and honed over time. Listed here are some common characteristics shared by the most admired leaders. 

1. Decisiveness

Being a leader means making difficult decisions. Having the courage to make a decision that is unpopular but essential is what sets great leaders apart. The confidence it takes to be decisive will garner the respect, admiration, and loyalty of employees. There is nothing more unsettling than a leader who wavers during times of crisis. Even in the face of turmoil, good leaders present a calm, steady, and determined front.

2. Communication skills

Great leaders know how to communicate their vision and goals to inspire others. They are approachable – engaging people at all levels of the organization. And being a good listener is an essential quality for strong leadership. Showing that you care about employees’ input will encourage them to speak freely and honestly, contributing their very best to your organization. An employee must feel safe in divulging their thoughts and ideas, with no fear of retribution. 

Additionally, effective communicators can clearly articulate both a strategic plan and a specific task. They can get their message across successfully to both a crowd and an individual. Communicating with your workforce regularly, clearly, and confidently will inspire unity.

3. Honesty

Set the tone at work by letting everyone know that honesty is an expectation. Honesty creates a climate of trust in your organization. Being honest is the only way to make deep, meaningful connections with your staff. And accountability is a form of honesty. Leaders who are transparent, taking ownership of their own mistakes, can expect the same from others. 

4. Having a vision 

Great leaders can plan for the future, confidently devising clear goals and inspiring others to get on board. They are organized and they plan ahead; they are not easily foiled by distractions.  And they are adept at adjusting strategies to accommodate new developments by being flexible and trying new things. 

5. Promoting teamwork

Developing a solid team requires valuing the diversity of your employees and creating a safe place for them to build real connections. Creating opportunities for teamwork will promote the exchange of ideas and sharing of expertise. Building a strong team will allow you to capitalize on the unique contributions of individuals, while reaping the benefits of collaboration. 

Leadership is about creating a space where employees are inspired to thrive. The most effective leaders govern by example – encouraging the exchange of ideas and championing teamwork. They have a clear vision for the future, yet fully anticipate adjusting their course. The best leaders are not feared, they are respected – behaving in a manner that garners the trust and confidence of their staff. Although each person exhibits a unique leadership style, skills like these can be learned and implemented by everyone. 

No Yeast Bread

This loaf is made from just 6 ingredients! Easy and simple homemade bread will be on your table in 1 hour or less. No complications with kneading or shaping. No mixers, no fancy kitchen equipment. Crusty on the outside and moist on the inside. So let’s talk ingredients:

500g flour, 16g baking powder, 2 tsp salt, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 500ml sparkling water

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. In a large bowl, add all dry ingredients, and mix well with a fork. Add wet ingredients and mix slowly with a spoon, until just combined.
  3. Transfer the wet dough to a nonstick baking form and bake for 50 minutes.

Tips: There is no need to grease the bottom. Do not over-mix the dough.

Bread variations: you can also add chopped walnuts or mixed seeds into the dough.

Bee Smart

The news about climate crisis is hair-raising. The question that is facing us: now what? No one can do it all at once. But we can all get started. Every one of us needs to behave like a bee society, where each of our individual actions can lead to a systematic change.

My Earth Day resolution is to:

  • carry my travel mug while out
  • carry reusable shopping bags
  • cut out plastic-bottled beverages
  • say no to plastic produce bags
  • use reusable cloth bags for snacks and sandwich
  • buy salad/vegetables without plastic

Every effort counts. Make the commitment and share your resolution.

Happy Earth Day every day!

Scroll down for more images that I captured last week.

Boost your energy

We all feel sometimes tired and weak. No mood. No energy. In fact, our body sends us SOS signals reminding to take a good self-care.

To have energy, one must MAKE energy. There is no right way or wrong way to do it. My advice is to listen to your body signals, follow your heart, get up when you fall down and do YOU. It will certainly make life and work much more fun, balanced and fulfilling. I had to learn it my way and this is what I do to boost my energy naturally:

1. Water is essential for true health. Stay hydrated throughout the day. I personally start my day with a glass of warm water and lemon. During the day I drink water with ginger slices. I even put oranges or cucumbers. Water hydrates your body, helps to flush out toxins and increases metabolism.

2. Exercise regularly. Physical activity has a great impact on energy levels. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.

3. What you eat matters. Try to eat healthy and well-balanced food. Without it, your body is more prone to fatigue, disease and infection.

4. Sleep is your super-energy. It is just as important as water, eating healthy and exercising. A good rest will help you to achieve and maintain consistently high performance.

Take care of yourself every day! Love, T

Gluten-free chocolate cake

I know it is a big statement, but this is THE cake! Easy to make and simply chocolicious!

All you need is: 6 separated eggs; 200g dark chocolate; 130g sugar (I used birch sugar);180g butter; 100g cashew butter (or peanut butter), 100g chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 160C. Grease baking tin and line with baking paper.
  2. Place chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set it into a small saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir frequently until completely melted, remove the bowl from the saucepan, and set aside. Allow to cool until only slightly warm.
  3. Place 6 egg whites into a large bowl and set your mixer to medium-high speed. Gradually add the sugar. Continue beating on high speed until they form peaks.
  4. Take the bowl with chocolate mixture. Set mixer to low and start adding yolks one by one, then cashew butter and chopped walnuts.
  5. Transfer 1/3 of egg whites to the chocolate mixture and stir gently with the spoon. Repeat with the remaining egg whites mixture.
  6. Transfer the mixture to the baking tin and bake 50-55 minutes.
  7. Cool cake completely. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve. Optional: use this delicious chocolate glaze over a cake. All you need is: 100g dark chocolate, 100ml heavy whipping cream and 1 tbsp butter. Combine butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat. Cook until melted and add cream. Stir and continue to heat for the next minute or two. Drizzle the chocolate glaze over cake. Decorate with nuts if desired.

Gluten-free brownies

I have tested so many recipes online and I finally found my ultimate homemade brownie recipe. I judged them on texture, taste and recipe complexity. These brownies are simple to make. They are fudgy, thick and perfect for any occasion.

Ingredients: 100 g dark chocolate, 100g butter, 3 eggs, 100g brown sugar, 50g ground almonds, pinch of salt.


  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Combine butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat. Cook until melted. Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat eggs and salt in a large bowl. Gradually add sugar. Reduce mixer speed to low, add ground almonds and cooled chocolate mixture. Try not to over-mix the batter.
  3. Spread batter into a greased pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool. Wrap tightly in foil and chill in the fridge for 4 hours.


What is happiness for you? Is it a feeling, a moment or a state of being?

Imagine your cup of coffee or a favourite drink in the morning. What a nice smell and taste, isn’t it? The second cup, or even third might not taste that good anymore, or less so. By fourth or fifth cup, it will perhaps turn into distaste.

Unlike emotions that come and go, happiness does not diminish. It remains constant despite your highs and lows. To maintain it, you need to strengthen your well-being with uplifting factors, like:

Healthy LifestyleLifelong LearningPositive AttitudeGood Nutrition

Stay connected with nature and find your own balance. In the meantime, take a look at my images of Swiss Wildlife.