Mah Jongg Mondays by Fern Bernstein | Prologue

The July 4th holiday officially kicks off summer with BBQ’s, pool parties or maybe a quiet day on the beach with a great new summer book you are excited to read.

Hi, I’m Fern Bernstein, author of Mah Jongg Mondays, a memoir about friendship, faith, and love. Oh yes, and you will read about mah jongg, too! On page thirty-four you will read that I bought my beautiful peacock mah jongg set with personalized jokers from Where The Winds Blow. That was almost six years ago, when I first started taking mah jongg lessons and playing in a weekly game with special friends. That was the beginning of my love for mah jongg. I discovered the wonderful things that can happen when four women come together to play an old Chinese game with 152 tiles, dice, and a mah jongg card.Here is the prologue to give you a sample of what my story holds in store for you.

Excitement builds. I’m one tile away from calling mah jongg and winning. I know. It’s just a game. But, don’t we all like the thrill of winning regardless of how old we are?

    Hope builds. It’s his last chemo treatment. He is the unknowing player invited by the result of an MRI. We say, “Game on.” We don’t want to lose. A life is at stake, the life of my husband.

    B’shert, elusive yet certain, knows all the outcomes.

    What does this mean and how are these things connected? Let me explain. B’shert and mah jongg are two very distinct words in my adult vernacular. Each word comes from a different language, culture, religion, and part of the world. Bshert is a Yiddish word that means destiny. My sheer existence balanced on the whim of b’shert, of my mother and father meeting, marrying and creating me through their union.

    Mah jongg is a Chinese word that means sparrow. It is a tile game that originated in China two centuries ago, was brought to America in the 1920s and became the rage along with flapper dresses, pixie haircuts, jazz, and the Charleston.

    B’shert found mah jongg, or maybe it’s the other way around. Perhaps it was through divine intervention or possibly through happenstance. Nonetheless, they have found one another and interlaced themselves in the universe.

    Welcome to my story about b’shert and mah jongg and how they are threading themselves into the fabric of my life here in modern-day Long Island, challenging me to the game of life where I’m learning to appreciate the gifts of time, friendship, and love.

    Love always; love all ways, for time has no guarantees.

So here I am, loving this game more and more, with each passing year and with each new NMJL card I unfold and play with each spring. I hope you enjoy the upcoming summer, getting sun-kissed skin under a clear blue sky, and having some leisure time to read Mah Jongg Mondays. I hope you enjoy hours of playing our favorite game with your special group of friends.



Fern Bernstein


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Mah Jongg Mondays 

By Fern Bernstein