Lee and Bernard* Jaffe Family Jewish Book Festival offers something for everyone in November

by | Oct 20, 2017 | Featured

Next Gen Judaism, a Jewpanese Love Story, Essential Israel, Jewish Heritage, and Yiddish Stories
Wednesday, November 1–Monday, November 20

Authors from around the nation are headed to Tidewater for the annual celebration of Jewish writers, books, and ideas, otherwise known as the Simon Family JCC’s Lee and Bernard Jaffe* Family Jewish Book Festival. The two-week-long festival offers an opportunity to engage with talented Israeli, Jewish, and non-Jewish authors about their latest books, as well as a chance to peruse the latest titles making the top Jewish booklists. The Simon Family JCC, as a member of the Jewish Book Council, a group that supports more than 120 member organizations across North America, including JCCs, synagogues, Hillels, Jewish Federations, and cultural centers—gives more than 250 authors a platform for sharing their books each year. The program connects authors with their readers and promotes Jewish culture through Jewish book events. More than 100 different books by prominent and emerging authors will be featured in a popup bookstore in the Simon Family JCC’s Cardo. Works from the genres of fiction, memoir, young adult, self-help, and children—all with a focus on one of the many aspects of Jewish and Israeli life—will be available for sale. From a celebrated mindfulness expert to the stories of the Forward, the 2017 festival will highlight a wide range of authors with regards to age, background, and experience.


Next Generation Judaism
Rabbi Mike Uram
Sunday, November 5, 5 pm

Rabbi Mike Uram, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Hillel, kicks off this year’s festival with an in-depth look at ways young people are reinventing Jewish community, Jewish prayer, Jewish service, and Jewish learning. Next Generation Judaism, a 2016 National Jewish Book Award winner, is “…for any leader who feels stuck, who knows that the world is changing faster than the organization can change, and is asking how to keep up,” says Rabbi Uram. “Each chapter is a practical tool to help leaders think differently and act differently.”

Babysitting available with pre-registration.

Levi and Aya
Shoshana Banana
Wednesday, November 8, 5:30 pm


Author Shoshana Banana will lead children and parents in a denim decorating craft adventure following a reading of her book, Levi and Aya. For young readers, the book explores the semi-fictional multi-cultural love story of German-Jewish Levi Strauss, who traveled to California to start a new life during the Gold Rush, and another immigrant, a young woman from Japan named Aya.

In partnership with PJ Library. Dinner included. Tickets: Children-$8/$6 JCC member; Adult-$11/$9 JCC member; Family $32/$25 JCC member.

Adam’s Animals
Rabbi Barry Schwartz
Sunday, November 12, 10:30 am
Congregation Beth El

With lush illustrations, this fun read-aloud book tells the story of creation, as told in the first chapter of Genesis. Adam’s Animals focuses on Adam’s task—naming the animals. An array of fascinating, and perhaps unfamiliar, animals are presented in alphabetical order, a menagerie of fantastical, but real beasts. Adam gives a name to every animal from the aardvark and the aardwolf to the bandicoot and the bondo, and all the way to the zebra and the zebu, but he is at a loss for words when he meets someone who looks a lot like him…only a bit different.

In partnership with PJ Library.

Have I Got a Story for You

Ezra Glinter
Sunday, November 12, 1-5 pm

According to Kirkus Reviews, Have I Got a Story for You “…is a crucial act of preservation: by archiving and translating into English this wealth of fiction, Glinter has helped to ensure the legacy of the Forward and its many brilliant contributors.” The Forward’s critic-at-large, Ezra Glinter leads readers through tales of wartime novellas, avantgarde fiction, and satirical sketches about immigrant life in New York featured during the Forward’s 120- year history.

Glinter’s visit is in conjunction with Tidewater Yom Limmud. $18 for Tidewater Yom Limmud.

Babysitting available with pre-registration.

Essential Israel
Rachel Fish
Tuesday, November 14, 7:30 pm

Many Americans are ill prepared to engage thoughtfully in the increasingly serious debate about Israel, its place in the Middle East, and its relations with the United States. Rachel Fish, co-editor, leads a discussion on her book, Essential Israel, which examines a wide variety of complex issues and current concerns in historical and contemporary contexts to provide readers an intimate sense of the dynamic society and culture that is Israel today. This unique and innovative collection offers solid background on Israel’s history, politics, culture, and possibilities for the future.

Part of the CRC, Simon Family JCC, and community partners’ Israel Today series.

Babysitting available with pre-registration.


Hot Mess to Mindful Mom

Ali Katz
Wednesday, November 15, 11 am

Author of Hot Mess to Mindful Mom and meditation expert, Ali Katz shares how to deal with stress in one minute or less with small and simple tweaks. With humor, grace, and an extremely relatable manner, Katz provides the tools to return to center and balance with simple, accessible, and research-based tools. She also explains how she incorporates these tools in her own life, leaving anxiety and tension behind in favor of calm and peace.

As Kelley Beckham of ModernMom says, “I truly believe she gave me valuable information and techniques I can use to grow deeper and become a little bit better each and every day.”

In partnership with Jewish Family Service. Lunch included. Tickets: $12/$8 JCC member.

Babysitting available with pre-registration.


On the Sickle’s Edge
Neville Frankel
Sunday, November 19, 10:30 am
Ohef Sholom Temple

Back in Tidewater by popular demand, Neville Frankel brings his newest novel inspired by his personal family history. On The Sickle’s Edge is a multi-generational Jewish family saga, told through the voices of three compelling characters: a novel of assimilation, resilience, and cultural identity. Part historical fiction, part political thriller, and part love story, it is steeped in Russian history and Jewish heritage. “Neville Frankel’s ability to combine historical insight and human passion is spellbinding,” says author Pamela Katz.

Sponsored by Lawrence Steingold with brunch sponsored by Sharon and Bill Nusbaum.


The Lee & Bernard Jaffe* Family Jewish Book Festival offers a chance for the Jewish community to explore the world of Jewish literature. Join in the conversation by attending an event with the authors or by spending time exploring the many titles for sale at the Simon Family JCC.

All events are free, open to the community, and take place at the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus, unless otherwise noted.

The Lee & Bernard Jaffe* Family Jewish Book Festival is presented in partnership with Jewish Book Council. Visit SimonFamilyJCC.org/BookFestival for event details or to RSVP (required) or contact Erin Dougherty, director of cultural arts, at edougherty@ simonfamilyjcc.org or 757-321-2341.

*of blessed memory