Judy Egett Laufer is what one might call a Renaissance woman. Born in Budapest, Hungary, she is the product of Jewish parents who not only survived the concentration camps, but also escaped during the Hungarian revolution.
The family started a new life in Montreal, Canada, with $5 and not knowing the language. Despite hardships they were thankful to be in a free country. Many Jewish agencies helped them along the way, and the family blossomed as a result.
Today, Laufer is trilingual in English, French and Hungarian. Graduating with a B.A. in 1976, Laufer found great satisfaction as a kindergarten teacher. Within two years she was promoted to do curriculum development and was asked to mentor other teachers as the early childhood specialist.
Laufer’s positive attitude seems to come naturally for her, but she credits her outlook on life to her parents. “My brother and I had an understanding that with all the difficulties our family endured, that we always survived. We managed to get things done, and we were shown it all with positivity.”
Always considering education as the way to change the world, Laufer looked beyond her beginning horizons to become a mom of now 20-year-old son, Andrew, an actor, a children’s author, a publisher and a philanthropist here in Arizona. “What’s funny is that when we moved here 25 years ago from Canada, I was being cast in commercials as the all-American mom, and I was still waiting for my citizenship to come through!”
One of the things Laufer is very proud of is her philanthropic work within the Jewish community. “Education is always at the forefront of what I try to help with.”
Laufer became a children’s author when her father passed away; she thought it was a wonderful way to both deal with her grief and use it as a tool to help children understand the loss of a loved one. The book, Where Did Poppa Go?, was accepted into the Washington Holocaust Museum’s store this past May. It had its second printing in November 2012. “This is particularly exciting for me since my dad was a survivor! I also have a quote on the back from (survivor) Gerda Weissmann Klein.”
In trying to get the first book published, Laufer heard a lot of “Not now, not yet and maybe soon” and decided to self-publish. She created a publishing company and called it “Little Egg Publishing.” Since her maiden name was “Egett,” the name seemed fitting.
“After my first book, I wrote another children’s book, Last Night I Had a Laughmare. This one got an endorsement from Clive Cussler! I love to use humor. I think laughing is so very important to all of us in our lives. It helps kids in a fun way deal with social and emotional issues. This brings me to another important part of my company. We give back to the community. We recently donated books to the kids who survived the tragedy in Connecticut. My husband (Nathan Laufer, MD, FACC medical director, Heart & Vascular Center of Arizona) and I are also quite involved in the Arizona Leadership Council for the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces.
“Last year we went on a mission to Poland and marched with troops into the Auschwitz Camp. We went to Israel after and met with Shimon Peres. It was a fascinating experience.”
When asked to describe herself, Laufer says, “I’m very happy and outgoing. I enjoy humor. Education is very important to me. I care about people, especially children! I’m generous. I also feel very, very lucky to be able to give back to my community. It’s truly a gift and I’m thrilled I’m able to do it.”
For more information about Judy E. Laufer, how to purchase her books and Little Egg Publishing, visit LittleEggPublishing.com.