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ExtraOrdinary: An End of Life Story Without End

Michele Tamaren and Michael Wittner

Pearlsong Press, June 2012

ExtraOrdinary: An End of Life Story Without End is a spiritual memoir and love story about a man who became a healer and a teacher in his nineties as his life was coming to completion.

Herman Liss, an Orthodox Jew, was described by a Christian mystic with the Buddhist term Bodhisattva—a person who returns to this life to help lift others on their soul journey. It is said that great sages often come in the form of ordinary people. Herman Liss, Michele Tamaren's stepfather, was such a man.

ExtraOrdinary tells of the love between Herman and his wife, Betty, which continued even after her passing. It shares the love between an elder and a young volunteer eighty years his junior and between a father and his adult daughter. It also explores how a hospice patient, through his kindness and his wisdom, helped heal those who cared for him.

ExtraOrdinary is written in two voices: that of Michele, Herman's daughter not by blood but by blessing, and by Herman's young volunteer, Michael Wittner. Michael created a moving documentary about Herman, A Mensch and More, about the sacred passage from loss and despair to connection and joy. For the film and his exceptional volunteer work, Michael was honored with state and regional awards.

Herman taught by example how to love, how to listen, how to forgive, and how to be grateful for each day.  ExtraOrdinary is a story of growth and learning, a joining of generations and cultures and hearts. It is filled with the magic of an elder whose own heart made the ordinary extraordinary.