Jewish Book Festival events are thought-provoking and informative

by | Nov 8, 2013 | What’s Happening

The final lineup of The Lee and Bernard Jaffe* Family Jewish Book Festival offers events to inform, educate and enlighten audiences, in addition to hundreds of books for sale at the Simon Family JCC.

Marion Grodin
Tuesday, Nov. 12, 12:30 pm
A screenwriter and standup comedian, at the start of Marion Grodin’s career, she became a staff writer on It’s a Living, and Princesses, two network sitcoms. While under contract with Twentieth Century Fox, she sold six screenplays. When writing her seventh script, she realized she wanted to deliver her own funny lines, so she turned to stand-up comedy. Now, Grodin is one of the nation’s biggest comedy acts, appearing at top New York clubs, including Stand Up NY and the Gotham Comedy Club. She has appeared on NBC’s Late Night with Conan O’Brien, ABC’s The View, and makes regular guest appearances on some MSNBC programs. Grodin also worked as the comedy producer for The Charles Grodin Show. She recently produced a series of fundraising events featuring Lewis Black, Martin Short, Regis Philbin, and Paul Shaffer.

A breast cancer survivor, divorcee, and former drug and Häagen-Dazs addict, Grodin can turn even the darkest subjects into comedy. And, that’s exactly what she does in her memoir Standing Up.

Presented in partnership with Beth Sholom Village and Jewish Family Service.

Dara Horn
Thursday, Nov. 14, 7 pm
This year’s Community Read, Dara Horn’s A Guide for the Perplexed, is an engrossing adventure that imag ina t ive ly weaves stories from Genesis, medieval philosophy, and the digital frontier. In 2007, Dara was named by Granta magazine as one of America’s “Best Young American Novelists.” Her first novel, In the Image, published when she was 25, received a 2003 National Jewish Book Award, the 2002 Edward Lewis Wallant Award, and the 2003 Reform Judaism Fiction Prize. Horn has taught courses in Jewish literature and Israeli history at Harvard, Sarah Lawrence College, and City University of New York, and has lectured at more than 200 universities and cultural institutions throughout North America and Israel.

Meg Akabas
Friday, Nov. 15, 9:30 am
Parents of young children are invited to hear Meg Akabas provide easy-to-implement strategies for parents of children 10 years old and under. She regularly provides one-onone consultations and leads workshops for parents and teachers on infancy through pre-adolescence, is the founder of New York Citybased Parenting Solutions, a consultancy designed to help parents discover the joy in parenting, and the author of 52 Weeks of Parenting Wisdom: Effective Strategies for Raising Happy, Responsible Kids. Intended for busy parents, the book is meant to be read one chapter per week for just a few minutes at a time, with each chapter providing a piece of advice on one specific topic of concern, such as respect, self-control, cooperation, sibling relations, and sleep habits.

Presented in partnership with the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater.

Global Day of Jewish Learning
Sunday, Nov. 17, 1–3 pm
There’s a final day of the Book Festival that should enlighten everyone from the youngest to the seniors in the community, during the JCC’s Global Day of Jewish Learning. While adults attend an event presented in partnership with the Board of Rabbis & Cantors of Hampton Roads, children ages three years old through 5th grade can enjoy a children’s creation station with stories, snacks, crafts singing and more.

For grades six and up, book author Alan Gratz will present Prisoner B-3087, (presented in partnership with BBYO) based on the astonishing true story of a boy in Poland who endures 10 concentration camps. Booklist calls Prisoner B-3087 “A good starting point for students unfamiliar with the Holocaust. Pair it with Doreen Rappaport’s Beyond Courage (2012) and Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl.” Gratz, the author of six other novels for young adults, will interact with students and expects a lively conversation to take place.

Adults will explore their ‘ispirituality’ when Jay Michaelson weaves his books together (God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality; Everything is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism, and his latest, Evolving Dharma: Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Enlightenment.)

Michaelson’s presentation will start with an introduction by his friend Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz and then lead into a talk about his own ispirituality. “The last few decades have witnessed a revolution in Judaism’s embrace of forms and practices that originated outside Judaism, from pop music to meditation, the burka (now being worn in some Hasidic communities) to ecologically minded rewrites of Kashrut. Are there boundaries around what can be incorporated into Judaism and what can’t?” he asks.

All events take place at the Simon Family JCC. For more information, call 321-2338 or visit Visit to see the hundreds of books for sale or buy books for kindles by going to the Book Festival page on the website and click on the Amazon link. All proceeds benefit the Simon Family JCC.

*of blessed memory

Simon Family JCC is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

by Leslie Shroyer