The Prophetess Press Kit

About The Author

Evonne Marzouk grew up in Philadelphia. While still in high school, she had two stories published in The Apprentice Writer, published a story in Shofar, and was awarded first prize in fiction in a contest by the Israel Programs Center, which won her a free trip to Israel.

She was an active member of the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, serving as President of Chavalla BBG, Sisterhood Chair of Philly Region, and as an International Chair. She attended BBYO’s International Leadership Training Conference in Starlight, PA in 1993.


Evonne attended the Johns Hopkins University and received a B.A. from the Writing Seminars program, with a minor in Religious Studies, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1998. While at Hopkins, Evonne served as co-editor of, and frequent writer for, The Charles St. Standard. From 1996-1998, she worked part-time as a book editor at Bancroft Press, editing You Might as Well Laugh by Sandi Kahn Shelton (1996); Generation of Wealth by Julius Westheimer (1997); and Live by the Sword by Gus Russo (1998).

In 1998, she was selected First Runner-Up in the What Being Jewish Means to Me Essay/Expression Contest of the American Jewish Committee. From 1998-99, she served as the COEJL Legislative Fellow in the Legislative Assistant Program at the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, representing the Jewish community on environmental issues on Capitol Hill.

She founded and led the Green Group at Kesher Israel Synagogue from 2000-2007, and also served as an executive board member of Shomrei Adamah (Guardians of the Earth) from 2000-2002.

Evonne founded and is the former director of Canfei Nesharim, an organization that teaches Jewish wisdom about protecting the environment. In 2004, Canfei Nesharim was accepted to Bikkurim: An Incubator for New Jewish Ideas. For ten years, Evonne led Canfei Nesharim, working with rabbis, scientists, educators, and community leaders to create and distribute a wide range of materials demonstrating the depth of Jewish tradition on this topic, including Torah teachings on the environment for each weekly Torah portion, each Jewish holiday, and a comprehensive set of core teachings on the environment, which was later gathered into a book, Uplifting People and Planet: Eighteen Essential Jewish Lessons on the Environment, available in e-book format on Amazon.com.

In 2008, Evonne was invited to join the ROI Community, an international network of Jewish activists, entrepreneurs and innovators. In 2009, she was selected as one of The New York Jewish Week’s “36 under 36.” In 2011, with ROI’s generous support, Evonne launched and led the team to develop Jewcology.com, a web-based portal to support resource sharing and collaboration across the Jewish-environmental community. From 2007-2014, she also led Maayan Olam, a Torah-Environment committee in Silver Spring, MD.

Evonne began work for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1999. In 2001, through an IPA agreement, Evonne worked as a program associate for the Center for a New American Dream, where she conducted outreach for a project called Turn the Tide, to engage individuals and organizations to take simple steps to reduce their impact on the environment.

In 2002, she was the youngest person on the United States delegation to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.
She has played a key role in work on the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, the Minamata Convention on Mercury, and the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint.

She also manages a number of other communications and website projects for EPA’s Office of International and Tribal Affairs.

Through her work at EPA, she was awarded a Bronze Medal for Commendable Service, for diligent and exemplary contributions to the 14th Session of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation in Morelia, Mexico on June 26-27, 2007; the International Affairs Award (2009), for enhancements to quality of work and dedication to developing core values for the office; OITA Communicator of the Year (2012-2013); the Russell Train Sustainability Award (2015 National Honor Award), for significantly advancing the work of the Lead Paint Alliance towards its goal of eliminating lead paint globally by 2020; and a Bronze Medal for Commendable Service, for efforts in support of United States participation in the Second UN Environment Assembly (2016).

Evonne continues to serve as an executive board member for Canfei Nesharim and as a steering committee member for Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light.

She blogs on Medium at @evonnemarzouk and continues to speak and teach in the Jewish community about Torah and the environment, among other topics.

She lives in Silver Spring, MD and attends Kemp Mill Synagogue with her husband and two sons.

Short Overview

The Prophetess tells a modern story about Rachel, an American teenage girl called to join a secret community of Jewish prophets. The story weaves Jewish tradition, mysticism, modern Jewish American life, and discovery of Israel into a coming-of-age story of a girl discovering her power and purpose in life. The book is targeted at young adults but is also very appropriate for all ages and people of all faiths.

Shorter
An American teenage girl, searching for her purpose in life, is called to join a secret community of powerful Jewish prophets.

Logline: After her grandfather dies, unexpected visions and a mystical teacher carry Rachel on an inspiring journey to discover her gifts and fulfill her life’s purpose.

Downloadable Full Press Kit

Praise

The Prophetess
“The Prophetess is an absorbing novel about an American teenage girl called to join a secret community of Jewish prophets. It weaves Jewish tradition, mysticism, modern Jewish-American life, and discovery of Israel into a coming-of-age story about a girl discovering her power and purpose in life. I found it hard to put down, and grabbed every free minute to see what happened next. Readers will thoroughly enjoy this superb novel.”
RABBI DOV PERETZ ELKINS, AUTHOR OF CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE JEWISH SOUL, AND WINNER OF THE JBC’S NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD

“This is a beautiful book. It gently unfolds and blossoms. As the book evolves, the reader is drawn deeper and deeper into thought and emotion, mimicking the journey of the young heroine. The relationships feel authentic and challenge us to examine our own family and friendship dynamics.”
LISA LITMAN, DIRECTOR, PJ GOES TO SCHOOL (A PROGRAM OF PJ LIBRARY)

“The Prophetess is a deep and affecting spiritual page-turner. This very specific coming-of-age story about a Jewish teen’s blossoming relationship with G-d explores universal themes of love, purpose, family, identity, commitment, tradition, and faith. Tender, refreshing, luminous, and thoroughly immersive.”
MICHELLE BRAFMAN, AUTHOR OF WASHING THE DEAD AND BERTRAND COURT

“A story that straddles the ancient and modern worlds, that’s both timeless and imminent, and that’s full of legends but speaks of true things … The Prophetess masterfully captures the age when everything is strange and new and dangerous—the emotional instability of being a teenager and the spiritual instability of―spoiler alert―finding out you’re a prophet. Evonne Marzouk’s The Prophetess is a story that begs to be read.”
MATTHUE ROTH, AUTHOR, NEVER MIND THE GOLDBERGS

“Exquisitely crafted. Evonne uses her imaginative skills to create a world for a modern prophetess … and she describes brilliantly the very real struggles of adolescence to navigate relationships and to claim, and reclaim, her authentic Jewish heritage.”
RUTHIE FELDMAN, AUTHOR OF THE GREEN BUBBIE, AS WELL AS A JEWISH EDUCATOR AND ARTIST

“Evonne Marzouk’s The Prophetess is an amazing coming-of-age tale set in the modern world. Rachel’s journey has so many twists and turns; there is a surprise every chapter. It is a story of love, loss, redemption, and finding yourself, all while navigating high school. This book will help you find your purpose in life. As a teen, I related to the characters and their daily struggles. I think that this novel is a must read. It has a great plot with interesting characters, and it always has you coming back for more. I couldn’t put it down.”
AYELET LEDERMAN, 13

“Rachel’s fascinating, beautifully-written story definitely resonates with me. It opened my eyes to a fresh perspective on the effects of prophecy. It created a narrative for me to understand how this Divine gift could change familial and social relationships forever. And it made me appreciate those willing to hear this calling despite the personal sacrifice they must endure.”
ELANA WEINBERG, JEWISH EDUCATOR, MELVIN J. BERMAN HEBREW ACADEMY

“The Prophetess, a coming-of-age novel written by Evonne Marzouk, is an enthralling story for people of all ages. It has an easy-to-follow plot that appeals to young readers, offers a relatable lifestyle for young adults, and provides a new perspective on life as a young Jewish girl who benefits her society.”
OLIVIA, ATHEIST, AGE 14 (GREAT FALLS, VA)

“Evonne Marzouk’s The Prophetess is a beautiful story of spiritual searching and coming of age. With an expert hand, she manages to meld the ancient and the modern to create a compelling story of growing up both spiritually and emotionally.”
ADINA RISHE GEWIRTZ, AUTHOR OF ZEBRA FOREST AND BLUE WINDOW

“I really did not know what to expect and, being a Catholic, I was concerned I might find myself lost in a religious world that was foreign to me. I was quickly drawn in by the story of Rachel, a 17-year-old who is working through questions about life, faith, and relationships. Rachel’s story felt strangely familiar and mirrored my own experiences in many ways. I think other readers would find the same to be true for them. I particularly appreciated Rachel’s confusion about prayer, suffering, sacrifice, and forgiveness. Rather than feeling lost in a different religious world, I found an invitation to learn and understand a bit about Orthodox Judaism and prophetic tradition. Rachel’s friends were a study in themselves, variously supporting, challenging, and being confused by her actions and choices. I thought the author did a very good job of depicting the late teen and early adult years of life.”
MARY BEAUDOIN, DIRECTOR OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION, SAINT RAPHAEL CATHOLIC CHURCH (ROCKVILLE, MD)

“A unique, spiritual fantasy about a modern teenager called upon to fulfill an ancient Divine calling. Marzouk’s masterful weaving of mysticism, modernity, and magic creates a truly original and unforgettable coming-of-age story.”
LEAH CYPESS, AUTHOR OF MISTWOOD AND OTHER YA NOVELS

“I really liked everything about this novel. There was something so peaceful and comforting about it, like a soothing balm. I don’t even know how to begin to describe the feelings I had while reading it, but I became emotional a few times. I loved how Rachel had this group of prophets who became like a family to her. Evonne writes a teenager’s voice and perspective really well. The dialogue is strong throughout, and the descriptions make everything easy to visualize without taking away from the narrative. I cared a lot about Rachel, Beth, Yonatan, Devorah, and the other characters. The Prophetess was amazing. I already want a sequel to be written! … Back in high school, I read a book called What Happened to Heather Hopkowitz? and it got me interested in Orthodox Judaism (or at least made it seem less overwhelming for me). The Prophetess reminded me of it in some ways. Even though I am more observant now, it reminded me of why I chose this path. This is a well-written debut and an incredible story that I hope everyone has the chance to pick up and devour. Even though it is marketed for a young adult audience, adults will enjoy it too.”
MELISSA AMSTER, BLOGGER

“What would happen if an American teenager began receiving visions from God? How would it affect her relationships, her education, her self-conception? In The Prophetess, Evonne Marzouk answers these questions with empathy and insight. As the journey of the main character (Rachel) expands out from her family, friends, and community into mysticism, prophecy, and trips to Israel, Marzouk brings her relationships, along with the reader, into Rachel’s new and surprising realities. A gripping read with many resources at the end of the book to learn more about the ideas and rituals introduced in the engaging story.”
RABBI DOROTHY RICHMAN, MAKOR OR: JEWISH MEDITATION CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

“In this polished, suspenseful novel, the author creates a book category that doesn’t exist, or at least one I haven’t been exposed to. It takes talented writing to keep a story like this realistic and believable, at least to someone like me who prides herself on not reading fantasy. The very real, developing, and deep emotions and relationships among the characters kept me invested in them and eager to see them through their journey. I couldn’t stop reading, but I also didn’t want the book to end. I now care about the characters so much that I want to know if the author can write a sequel. Why can’t this be a series? I’m not ready to let these characters go!”
NATASHA ROSENSTOCK NADEL, AUTHOR OF HEALTHY FAMILY, HEALTHY YOU: THE HEALTHY MAMA’S GUIDE TO FEEDING YOUR FAMILY WELL – SIMPLY AND SANELY!

“Everyone experiences the trials of maturing into adulthood. We examine our values, our religion, our place in the world, our place in our family, and our goals in life. We choose a path leading to our future. The Prophetess by Evonne Marzouk is an engrossing story of a young woman, Rachel, on the cusp of adulthood grappling with the issues facing all high school seniors. Following the death of her religious grandfather, a Holocaust survivor, Rachel connects with her Jewish identity and discovers her special gifts as a prophetess. While navigating through academic, social, and familial demands, Rachel learns to develop her gifts. She finds her identity and chooses a direction in life. Rachel’s story, though told from an American-Jewish perspective, is a universal one and affords readers at any age, especially young adults, an opportunity to reflect on their own gifts, choices, and goals. Reading The Prophetess is a thoroughly enjoyable and thought-provoking experience. Delving into its pages is highly recommended for anyone living among other people and travelling through life—basically all of us!”
MICHELE GLAZER BEN, ENGLISH LANGUAGE EDUCATOR, YAVNEH ISRAEL

“This book is truly life changing. It gives me a different perspective on my Judaism (Reform) and how to look at problems. I talked to my librarian about getting the book for the library and she said that it would help other people have different perspectives on Judaism. I recommend this book to anyone who likes books about people discovering their true selves and how they see their religion.”
JENESSA MAZELEV, AGE 12, LIVERMORE, CALIFORNIA

“An intriguing, mysterious, and engrossing combination of mysticism, Jewish observance, and concerns any typical teenager might have: family dynamics, school, romance, and friendship. Daily life and mystical experience combine in ways that drew me in and made me want to keep reading. New twists keep appearing, making it hard to put the book down. The Prophetess is easy to read and, at the same time, filled with compelling emotions and ideas.”
STEPHANIE WELLEN LEVINE, AUTHOR OF MYSTICS, MAVERICKS, AND MERRYMAKERS: AN INTIMATE JOURNEY AMONG HASIDIC GIRLS

“The Prophetess is a lovely story, told with humility and grace. Rachel’s seesawing journey through deep questions of friendship, relationship, and spirituality is one that many young adult readers will appreciate. The theme of maintaining religious observance amid a secularized environment also resonates. The Prophetess was a captivating read, worthy of your time and soul.”
MARC RUDOLPH, FOURTH & FIFTH GRADE TEACHER, COMPASS CHARTER SCHOOL, BROOKLYN, NY

“Although Judaism teaches that the prophetic era ended with the death of the prophet Malachi (around 312 BCE), this remarkable book invites the reader to suspend disbelief and accept that there are prophets and prophetesses among us today, working unseen healings through prayer and helping to keep the world in balance. And Evonne Marzouk does a brilliant job of helping us believe that is possible. She is a gifted storyteller. Her characters resonate with true human feelings, and the way she portrays the journey of Rachel from ‘twice a year Jew’ to one so observant and possessed of a divine connection to God is genius. While the book appears to be marketed towards a YA audience, it’s clearly for adult readers as well.”
SUSAN KAPLAN, MEMBER, JEWISH BOOK COUNCIL AND JEWISH BOOK CARNIVAL (TUCSON, AZ)

“What a compelling story! Bringing the ancient concept of prophecy into modern day?! The author opened a world of possibility — that anyone could be “divinely gifted,” that each of us has a role here on earth that is larger than we can see, that the ancient can still be relevant, and that the unfathomable can be attainable. This was a beautiful story — one I am excited to share with my middle schooler and discuss at length… as we eagerly await its sequel!”
ARIELE MORTKOWITZ, DIRECTOR OF SVIVAH

“The Prophetess will appeal to young girls grappling with coming-of-age challenges, women of all ages wrestling with questions of observance, spirituality, and the Divine, and anyone simply in the market for a good, cannot-put-it-down read. It is an engrossing page-turner.”
SHARON FREUNDEL, MANAGING DIRECTOR, JEWISH EDUCATION INNOVATION CHALLENGE

“Evonne Marzouk’s YA novel is in a class all by itself. It features teens challenged to find the best versions of themselves, but the spotlight is on Rachel, growing into her frightening gift of prophecy. The first symptoms are painful, mentally and physically. In short order, they become more frequent and more debilitating. She tells her friends, baffled by her behavior, that these are simply severe migraines. Though she adores the prophet-mentor who supports her in understanding her ‘gift,’ she still worries that she will not take timely enough action to avert disasters she can foresee. The mélange of prophetic lore (not exactly biblical), Jewish mysticism, and journeys into Israeli culture and Jewish tradition all serve to make this a truly unique reading experience.”
FAYE SILTON, AUTHOR AND JEWISH EDUCATOR