Rachael Rifkin

Life Stories Ghostwriter ~ Journalist ~ Storyteller 
Images from From One, Many, a photo project highlighting our shared history and similarities.

Our similarities and stories connect us, and we're all connected.

My Story

Hi, my name is Rachael Rifkin, and I’m a writer, organizer and storyteller. My work focuses on bridging the gap between generations, cultures and backgrounds by concentrating on our similarities and listening to each other's stories. 

 

I also once recreated eight photos of my relatives in order to highlight shared family traits and stories. The photo project went viral and was covered by Bored Panda, Modern Met, The Jewish Journal and Dumbo Feather

 

 

 

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Our Stories
~A Writing Portfolio~ 

A collection of stories about the similarities we share and the ways our lives intersect. 

  • 7 Ways to Honor a Loved One’s Memory

    Create the meaningful traditions that are right for you.

  • When Childbirth Feels Like Assault

    Childbirth should not strip a woman of the right to informed consent, but in practice it sometimes does.

  • 5 Activities Kids Can Do With Grandparents

    Incorporate storytelling into everyday events.

  • Genetic Traits: It Runs in the Family

    It’s in these genetic traits that our stories come to life, and the line between the past and present blurs.

  • Buried in a Trove of Forgotten Letters

    They rarely talked about the tragic loss of their first child. Sixty years later, sifting through my grandfather’s old letters helped me see their lives in a whole new light.

  • My Dad Went From Being an Only Child to One of Five

    For most of my life, I thought my family was small.

  • A Brief Cultural History of Hairy Legs

    Unshaved legs are a natural state, but for some they're also a statement.

  • 29 Siblings and Counting

    Buried in our DNA along with our health histories, is the story of our families.

  • All in the Family: The Barrymores

    Drew Barrymore comes from a family of actors that not only includes her famous relatives but stretches back at least 400 years.

  • Leaving a Legacy

    A legacy letter conveys the ethics and values you hope to pass down.

  • Family Resemblance

    The more we know about our family history, the more we know about ourselves.

  • Your Stories
    ~Life Story Ghostwriting Services~

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    Mini Memoirs

    A small snippet of life centered around a theme. Themes include: Love Story, Pregnancy or Adoption Journey, Travel Trek, War Service, Surprise! (a collection of stories about a person or couple, as told by their friends and family), Three Generations (three generations are asked the same set of meaningful questions about their lives), and more. 

     

    Process:

    • Outline topics and significant memories/events you'd like to include.
    • Hour-long interview sessions until complete (number of hours varies).
    • Interviews are transcribed and then crafted into a narrative.
    • You check it over for any additions and edits you'd like to make.
    • The book is laid out with pictures.
    • The final product is a printed family heirloom book.

     

    Legacy Letters

    Often done in conjunction with estate planning and setting up guardianship provisions, a legacy letter is a record of the values you hope to pass down. It can include advice and wishes for loved ones, significant memories, important life events, beliefs and ancestry. When addressing guardianship, you can also discuss the values and parenting philosophies that are important to you.

     

    Process: 

    • 30-minute to 1-hour in-person or phone interview
    • First draft delivered within 2-3 weeks of interview
    • You check it over for any additions and edits you'd like to make.
    • Letter is printed out on nice paper, placed in a nice envelope and then kept with other important documents. 
    • Can always be updated throughout the years and shared in person with your loved ones.

     

    Business Bios

    A business history provides a narrative for a company’s evolution, showing how you got where you are. They’re also a pretty powerful leadership tool that can build confidence and loyalty with employees and investors by connecting them to the values you believe in. And because business histories humanize a company's stories, they can help attract potential clients to your brand. Especially powerful for family-run businesses with several generations of history.

     

    Process:

    • Interviews that capture the history of the business. There will also be a focus on the similarities and shared values among the generations.
    • Interviews are transcribed and then crafted into a narrative.
    • You check it over for any additions and edits you'd like to make.
    • The final product could be a book, website copy or both.

    Connecting the Generations

     
    I recreated photos of my ancestors, and now you can too! Cielo Roth Photography and I have teamed up to offer these packages: 
     
    • Basic package: You come either in costume and makeup or dressed regularly and then we recreate the pose. The final product will also include a mini bio on the ancestor and a description of the similarities (both physical features and other characteristics) between you and the ancestor.
    • Premium packages: We provide hair and makeup.
    • Three Generations package: Three generations come dressed in the same color and pose in a similar way. The final product will have mini bios and a description of similarities as well.

    Storytelling

    Speaker
    I give talks and workshops on finding common ground through similarities and storytelling. This can apply to families, businesses, community members and strangers. I also speak about the importance of sharing our life stories with family and friends, what our family stories can tell us about ourselves and our life trajectories, and how we can use that knowledge to create the change (and future) we want.    
     

    See below for an example of me speaking.

     

    Let's create a story together!

    I love interactive events that bring people together to connect and share stories. I have helped organize several Human Libraries and created Common Ground, an event that asks people to pair up, find common ground, share stories, and then discuss their differences. Created in conjunction with the Long Beach Literary Arts Center and based on research that says when we bond over our similarities, we're a lot more willing to listen to each other.

    • Consulting services
    • Collaborate with me

            When was the last time you had a meaningful conversation and really connected with someone?

    What was it like? As you were talking, were you surprised to learn how much you had in common? Did the similarities keep piling up after that, and in a rush of excitement you talked for much longer than you thought you would? Until you both shared stories and learned something new? Maybe even challenged your assumptions?

     

    Take the poll below, see how other people answered, and make more meaningful connections in your life!

    Meaningful connections are:
    About finding common ground and listening to each other's stories.
    An essential part of creating community.
    Possible to create with almost anyone.
    Rare, but they don't have to be.
    The kind of connections I want to spend more time developing.
    Other
    Please Specify:
    Created with QuizMaker