Sonia Pressman Fuentes

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Excerpts from Eat First -- You Don't Know What They'll Give You

  • Jewish Geography -- this story was first published in October 1998 in Der Bay, the newsletter of the International Association of Yiddish Clubs.  Here, both the English version and a version in transliterated Yiddish are available in pdf format.
  • Return to Germany -- the story of Sonia’s return to Germany in 1978 to speak about the women’s rights revolution in the US for the then-US Information Agency (USIA), published on the website of The Jewish Writing Project on Jan. 19, 2009. That story is also contained in the anthology, Marking Humanity, Stories Poems, & Essays by Holocaust Survivors, edited by Shlomit Kriger (Aug. 23, 2010, pp. 226-234).
  • If You Speak His Language --This piece was published in Tzum Punkt (Nov.-Dec. 1999, Vol. 1, No. 2)  p. 5, the newsletter of Yiddish of Greater Washington.
  • Thai Silk -- This piece was first published in the Common Law Lawyer and then on the websites of,, and (September 2001).
  • Florida and Beyond -- This excerpt appeared on May 25, 2001, in the Story Lady e-newsletter and on its website, the Jewish Frontier, the Jewish Internet magazine, the Jewish Magazine online, the e-zine, Home-Based Working Moms, and the Writer Online. Terry Boothman, the editor of the Writer Online, had this to say about it in the January 14, 2003, issue that carried the story:

    Everyone's life is interesting, right? Sure. So, everyone should write a memoir, right? Yeah, why not.. And everyone should publish a memoir, right? Good Lord, no. Because not everyone knows how to write a publishable memoir, which means a memoir that lots of other people will enjoy reading. Sonia Pressman Fuentes, one of the founders of the National Organization for Women, published just such a memoir--"Eat First--You Don't Know What They'll Give You, The Adventures of an Immigrant Family and Their Feminist Daughter." Now, in How I Got My Mink Stole, excerpted from that memoir, you can get a glimpse of exactly how good memoirs are written.

  • Weinberg's Glasses - the story of what happened when Sonia's father found a pair of eyeglasses.
  • Sex Maniac -- the story of the Second Wave of the women's movement and Fuentes' role in it.  
  • Harry Golden and "the Coat" -- Sonia Fuentes sues Harry Golden, published in Jewish Currents, June 16, 1997. 
  • How I Got My Mink Stole -- a lengthy struggle with an unexpected denouement.
  • Eating Out -- published in the April 11, 2001, issue of Writer's Bloc Online, the e-newsletter of the National Writers Union.
  • Graduating With My Class -- Fuentes' desire to graduate with her high school class has a significant consequence.  Published originally in the Catskill/Hudson Jewish Star 6.2 (June 1996) 17.1 and then on Harry Leichter's website.
  • Mother and the Night School -- published in the December 2001, issue of Kolot, A World of Jewish Voices. 
  • Catskills Stories -- Some of Fuentes' stories about her experiences in the Catskill Mountains of New York State may be found at the Museum of Family History.

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cover Eat First -- You Don't Know What They'll Give You,  The Adventures of an Immigrant Family and Their Feminist Daughter by Sonia Pressman Fuentes

Book Ordering Information

In the United States, EAT FIRST can be ordered in paperback and hardback from,, and  The book can be ordered from in the UK and in Canada. EAT FIRST is also available for Kindle which includes free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet.

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Eat First

US Times Bestseller List

by Constance Foster, from the USTimes bestseller list.


Sonia Pressman Fuentes moves easily between many differing worlds. Her memoirs EAT FIRST, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'LL GIVE YOU is a composite of those worlds and how they have impacted her life and consequently, how she has impacted our lives. Because if you are a U.S. citizen, Sonia Pressman Fuentes has impacted your life regardless of whether you recognize her name or not.

Starting in 1965, Fuentes became involved in women's rights. Today, thanks to pioneers like Fuentes and Friedan, our world has changed drastically. But for someone like Fuentes, change has always been a key word. Her roots are deeply imbedded in Eastern European Jewry. Fuentes herself was born in Berlin and came to the US with her family to escape the Holocaust. Her career has been nothing short of staggering. She was the first woman attorney of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She later became a founder of the National Organization Of Women, the Women's Equity Action League, and Federally Employed Women. After a 36-year career as an attorney and executive with the federal government as well as multinational corporations, Fuentes 'retired' to pursue writing and public speaking.

With EAT FIRST, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'LL GIVE YOU, Sonia Pressman Fuentes has essentially woven a reflection on the various ways in which family, society, culture, and political engagement have always lived in creative tension. This book is a joy to read and a must for anyone who is interested about the beginnings of the women's movement in the U.S. As present president of NOW, Patricia Ireland, says, "I walk in the footprints of Sonia Pressman Fuentes". Not a bad accolade for a kid whose family hails from a Polish shtettl.

As the old ad said, "You've come a long way, baby." Sorry, my 60's are showing.