Joel ben Izzy knows something about miracles.
When the Bay Area storyteller lost his voice after an operation for thyroid cancer, doctors told him he would likely never speak again. He couldn't perform. He could barely whisper. And then, four years later, an experimental surgery brought his voice back.
So now, he's returned to doing what he does best -- entertaining children and adults with tales from his own life and from the Jewish storytelling tradition.
We invited ben Izzy to the studio to share a story from his new book, a fictionalized memoir called "Dreidels on the Brain." It’s about a California Hanukkah in 1971, when he was a nerdy 12-year-old magician, stuck in what he calls the "suburbs of the suburbs of Los Angeles."
Back then, he was looking for a miracle, too.
In this excerpt from the first chapter, the young ben Izzy asks God for a little sign that life won't always be so miserable.
You can preview the whole first chapter of "Dreidels on the Brain" here.