Last pages of Book Festival satisfy diverse groups

by | Nov 22, 2013 | Other News

Lynn Sher Cohen, Book Festival co-chair, Sherri Wisoff, Michele Goldberg, Anne Kramer, Book Festival co-chair.

Lynn Sher Cohen, Book Festival co-chair, Sherri Wisoff, Michele Goldberg, Anne Kramer, Book Festival co-chair.

With good book sales and attendance, wonderful sponsors and concluding events, this year’s Lee and Bernard Jaffe* Family Jewish Book Festival was among the most successful at the Simon Family JCC.

Closing events included Marion Grodin, a stand-up comedian, who had a lunchtime audience doubling over with her witty remarks on an otherwise bleak Tuesday, Nov. 12. Dara Horn, author of this year’s Community Read, A Guide For The Perplexed, gave a mindful talk Thursday, Nov. 14. And Meg Akabas shared her parenting wisdom with a morning audience Friday, Nov. 15.

The fourth Global Day of Jewish Learning was celebrated at the JCC on Sunday, Nov. 17, with two authors delivering a different message to two age groups. Alan Gratz, author of a handful of young adult books including his most recent, Prisoner B-3087, let a group of teens know that it’s okay not to have chosen a path for the future, and that eventually it will fall into place. As a teen, he disliked reading books and never could have seen himself as a writer. Still, his interest in science fiction and imagination led to his eventual career as a writer with the most recent book about a boy who endures 10 concentration camps.

Jay Michaelson, author of a number of books including his latest, Evolving Dharma, Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Enlightenment, spoke of his own ispirituality (religion in the iphone age, as he refers to it) and how his Judaism has traveled the path of Conservative to Orthodox to his evolving into a “BuJu.” He talked briefly about how each person treats their Jewish traditions, which are tied up with boundaries, and how for many, Judaism has evolved to meet beliefs and lifestyles. He invited individuals, sitting at tables, to discuss their own ispirituality and share insights into their boundaries and parameters for incorporating Judaism into their spiritual sides.

The Book Festival Committee, chaired by Lynn Sher Cohen and Ann Kramer, worked diligently to select hundreds of titles for the festival, as well as help staff carry out event details, from catering to transportation, introductions and book signings. Book Festival sponsors are: Barnes & Noble Booksellers (of Tidewater Community College), Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel, Altmeyer Funeral Homes & Crematory, Beth Sholom Village, and the Jewish Book Council. Agencies and departments who partnered with the Book Festival include: The Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, The Holocaust Commission of the UJFT, Tidewater Jewish Foundation, PJ Library, Jewish Family Service, The Hebrew Academy of Tidewater, the Board of Rabbis and Cantors of Hampton Roads, and BBYO.

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

* of blessed memory

by Leslie Shroyer