Jewish Book and Arts Fair 2015

Arts and Entertainment

September 10, 2015

From: Jewish Book and Arts Festival

Inspiring and entertaining, the Ann and Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book & Arts Fair annually delivers a variety of opportunities for the community to learn and experience Jewish literary, culture and performing arts. The Book Fair is one of the largest events of its kind in the U.S., attracting established and emerging writers from around the world, representing a myriad of themes.

Not just for book lovers, Book Fair also includes films, theatre, concerts and Oliver Lapin Family Day, featuring authors, interactive performances and activities for children ages 2-11.

Schedule of Events:

November 1, 2015

12:00 PM: David Biespiel: Master Class

David Biespiel will conduct a Master Class for poets who want to focus on writing, revising and blending imagination with experiences and feelings. This advanced class is limited to 15 participants who must submit three poems to to apply. Writing submitted will be the focus of discussion for the class.

Cost: $30 (Includes 4:00 PM Poetry Reading)

2:00 PM: Film: Above and Beyond

Directed by Roberta Grossman
USA, 2014, 89 min
English and Hebrew with English subtitles

A return of a favorite of the 2015 Houston Jewish Film Festival, this colorful documentary is about the Jewish American World War II pilots who in 1948 answered the call for help from their Jewish brethren fighting the Israel War of Independence. Produced by Nancy Spielberg, the film brings together interviews with the band of brothers who helped turn the tide of the war when they embarked on their journeys of sacrifice and Jewish pride.

Cost: $10 Member, $15 Public

4:00 PM: David Biespiel

A Long High Whistle

For over ten years, poet and critic David Biespiel, who grew up in Meyerland, published a brief essay on poetry every month in the Oregonian in what became the longest-running newspaper column on poetry in the United States. Biespiel's book collects these essays and provides readers with insights into what inspires poets, how poems are read and written, and how poetry situates itself in American life.

Cost: $12 Member, $18 Public

6:00 PM: Carole Glauber

Israel: In Light and Shadow
Photography Exhibit and Opening Reception

Carole Glauber's photographs of Israel reveal places allegorical and literal, extraordinary and ordinary. Her perspective focus illuminates the scene itself as they peer inside the soulful complexities of the land called Israel.

Cost: Free

Opening Night:

7:30 PM: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Not In God's Name: Confronting Religious Violence

In his powerful and timely new book, Not in God's Name, Rabbi Sacks tackles the phenomenon of religious extremism. If religion is perceived to be part of the problem, he argues, then it must also form part of the solution. To do this, according to Rabbi Sacks, you first have to understand the concept of "altruistic evil," of violence committed in the name of God.

It is only by understanding our collective past that we will be able to build a better future, one where the three Abrahamic monotheisms Judaism, Christianity, and Islam exist side-by-side in peace.

Joining Rabbi Sacks for an on-stage interview is Rice University's Matthias Henze, the Isla Carroll and Perry E. Turner Professor of Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism and Director of the Program in Jewish Studies.

November 2, 2015

10:00 AM: Sing Out Loud

Early Childhood Concert

Tom Wilbeck of Tom's Fun Band does not like to sing alone! Your childhood center is closed for the day? No problem! Bring your positive energy to the J for a lively musical experience followed by arts and crafts.

Individual Tickets: $8 Member, $12 Public
Family of 5 or More: $6 Member, $9 Public

$2 off if you bring any canned food (or pet food) item for Oliver Lapin Family Day

7:30 PM: Joe Klein

Charlie Mike: A True Story of War and Finding the Way Home

In Charlie Mike, award-winning Time and New Yorker journalist and author Joe Klein tells the dramatic story of two decorated Middle East combat veterans, Eric Greitens and Jake Wood, who use their military discipline and values to help others.

Whether in Haiti after the 2011 earthquake, in NYC after Hurricane Sandy, or helping fellow traumatized veterans, these men continue their mission by performing tasks for others.

Cost: $12 Member, $18 Public

November 3, 2015

7:30 PM: Joshua Cohen

Book of Numbers

Called both "the Great Internet Novel" and "the Great American Novel," Joshua Cohen's Book of Numbers explores life in the digital age. Cohen reflects, "To read about Numbers' doomed generation was to read about my own a generation born in the 1980s enslaved to the page, but by the millennium freed by the screens, to search or, in alternate terms, to wander."

Cost: $12 Member, $18 Public

November 4, 2015

12:00 PM: Book Lovers Lunch - Jami Attenberg

Saint Mazie

Boisterous, bawdy, and big-hearted Mazie Phillips Gordon was a depression-era movie theater owner in NY during the Depression. In this diary format, fictionalized account of her life, Jami Attenberg creates a lively oral history of an unconventional, loose-living woman who knew and helped the bums of New York City.

Cost: $30 Lunch and a Book

7:30 PM: David Gregory

How's Your Faith: An Unlikely Spiritual Journey

Join former NBC newsman and Meet the Press moderator David Gregory as he probes various religious traditions to better understand his own faith and answer life's most important questions: What do we believe? Who do we want to be?

Raised by a Catholic mother and a Jewish father, Gregory began his search for meaning as an adult and studied both Orthodox Judaism and Christianity to come to his own conclusions.

Underwritten by: Suzanne, Jennifer, and Judy Levin

Cost: $12 Member, $18 Public

November 5, 2015

8:00 PM & XX PM: Tuvia Tenenbom

Catch the Jew!

Israel's best-selling English book, Catch the Jew! recounts the adventures of journalist, dramatist, and founder of Jewish Theater of NY Tuvia Tenenbom as he wanders in various disguises through Israel and the Palestinian territories to interview Haredim, Knesset members, Israeli media, right and left wing Israelis, Arab leaders, Bedouins, Druze, taxi drivers, rabbis, and waiters. Tenenbom's chutzpah and ability to speak English, German, Hebrew, and Arabic allows him rare access. Ultimately, he shares his feelings and uncertainties about the possibilities for Israel's future.

Cost: $12 Member, $18 Public

Location: Temple Sinai, 13875 Brimhurst Drive

7:30 PM: Carla Naumburg

Parenting in the Present Moment: How to Stay Focused on What Really Matters

Ready, set, breathe, and enjoy a glass of wine as you listen to Carla Naumburg, clinical social worker, writer, and parent. Back by popular demand, Naumburg aims to remind parents that mindful parenting is about paying attention to what is going on with your children and yourself, without judging, freaking out, or thinking everyone should be doing something differently. What really matters in parenting is staying grounded and connecting with children in ways that are meaningful to both them and you. This time, Naumburg will also discuss raising mindful children, the topic of her forthcoming book, ready, set, breathe: Practicing Mindfulness with your Children for Fewer Meltdowns and More Peaceful Family.

Cost: $12 Member, $18 Public

7:30 PM: Wrestling Jerusalem: A Play

Written and performed by Aaron Davidman, Wrestling Jerusalem follows one man's journey to understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, exploring the complexities of the Middle East through his portrayal of 17 different characters. From the right to the left, Israeli and Palestinian, religious and secular, American and other...the play is more about listening than answering, and in the end, hopeful that peace, indeed, can happen.

Cost: $20 Member, $30 Public

November 7, 2015

7:30 PM: Wrestling Jerusalem: A Play

Written and performed by Aaron Davidman, Wrestling Jerusalem follows one man's journey to understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, exploring the complexities of the Middle East through his portrayal of 17 different characters.

From the right to the left, Israeli and Palestinian, religious and secular, American and other...the play is more about listening than answering, and in the end, hopeful that peace, indeed, can happen.

Cost: $20 Member, $30 Public

November 8, 2015

9:00 AM12:00 PM: Oliver Lapin Family Day

Fall into Reading at the J!
The Jewish Book & Arts Fair is for kids too! Join us on this special day for book readings and literary fun  projects, lively music, crafts, and guest author appearances.

2:00 PM: Raise the Roof

Shirley and Bill Morgan Family Holocaust Memorial Program

Directed by Yari Wolinsky & Cary Wolinsky
USA, 2014, 84 min
English and Polish with English subtitles

Raise the Roof, a feature documentary by Yari and Cary Wolinsky, follows Rick and Laura Brown, sculptors and teachers, as they assemble a team of students and craftspeople to reconstruct one of Poland's most magnificent lost synagogues. The interior of the synagogue's roof, installed at the new POLIN Museum of the Polish Jews in Warsaw, is a brilliant interplay of symbolic animals, flowers, and medallions, as well as Hebrew liturgical texts. Best Film-Audience Award, Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival.

Cost: $10 Member, $15 Public

4:00 PM: Lisa Leff

The Archive Thief

Was Szajkowski a thief? In the aftermath of the Holocaust, Jewish historian Zosa Szajkowski gathered tens of thousands of documents from Nazi buildings in Berlin, public archives, and private synagogues in France and moved them, illicitly, to New York. Associate Professor of History at American University, Lisa Leff reconstructs this story and provides a perceptive portrait of an unusual villain and hero.

Cost: $12 Member, $18 Public

6:00 PM: Assaf Gavron

The Hilltop: A Novel

In this novel about life in a West Bank settlement, acclaimed Israeli novelist Assaf Gavron brilliantly skewers the complex, often absurd reality of life in Israel, the West Bank settlers, and the nation's relationship to the U.S. Gavron is also chief writer of the computer game Peacemaker, captain of Israel's national writers' and poets' soccer team, and a singer and songwriter. "It is no exaggeration to say that Assaf Gavron is the most exciting, inventive, and though-provoking Israeli novelist of our generation."

Cost: $12 Member, $18 Public

7:30 PM: Victoria Aarons & Joseph Skibell

The New Diaspora: The Changing Landscape of American Jewish Fiction
My Father's Guitar & Other Imaginary Things: True Stories

English and Literature Professor at Trinity University, Victoria Aarons discusses the assembling of her book, The New Diaspora co-edited with Avinoam Patt with award winning writer Joseph Skibell, a professor at Emory University and one of the contributors to the short fiction collection. Skibell's collection of essays addresses small moments in life like calls from telemarketers, a father's offer of a guitar, and a father's control over his daughter's sex life. Aarons' book celebrates the continuing vitality and fresh visions of contemporary Jewish writing while also including works by many well-known writers.

Cost: $12 Member, $18 Public

November 9, 2015

6:00 PM: Local Literati

Meet our hometown writers and learn about their new works first-hand at a reception and book signing in the Bookstore. Join us to celebrate Houston authors Lynn Abrams, Christy Esmahan, Toby Haberkorn, Judy Hirsh, Bob Kaufman, Earl Littman, Dr. Manny Magid, Karen Pepkin, Alan Rodenstein, Lauri Sacks, and Leonard Zwelling.

Cost: FREE

6:00 PM: Jonathan Eig

The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution

In Collaboration with Rice University's Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality.

A lively story of the genesis of "the pill," Jonathan Eig's narrative revolves around four characters: fiery feminist Margaret Sanger; the beautiful and wealthy Katharine McCormick; the visionary scientist Gregory Pincus; and the telegenic Catholic doctor John Rock. Eig is a former reporter at the Wall Street Journal and author of three other books. He was named Best Books of 2014 by: Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Slate and St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "A well-paced, page-turning popular history featuring a lively, character-driven blend of scientific discovery and gender politics."

Cost: Free

Location: Rice University, Herring Hall, Room 100, 6100 Main Street

7:30 PM: Michael Bar-Zohar

No Mission Is Impossible: The Death-Defying Missions of the Israeli Special Forces

One of Israel's foremost experts on espionage and a Fair favorite, Michael Bar-Zohar was an advisor to General Moshe Dayan, a former member of the Knesset, and envoy to the Council of Europe. His book, co-authored with Nissim Mishal, is an episodic treatment of the greatest missions of the Israeli Special Forces, starting with the rescue at Entebbe. Also spotlighted are the lives of many of Israel's heroes: Moshe Dayan, Ariel Sharon, the brothers Netanyahu, and Ehud Barak, as well as the tough decisions of Israel's Defense Ministers.

Cost: $12 Member, $18 Public

November 10, 2015

7:30 PM: Community Read - Elyssa Friedland

Love and Miss Communication

Donna Frankoff Memorial Lecture

Elyssa Friedland's debut novel is a modern love story about a woman who has had enough of e-mails, Facebook, and online dating. She decides to abandon her smartphone and that's when she discovers a fresh start for real conversations and living in the moment.

A graduate of Yale and Columbia Law School, Friedland has written for several publications.

Cost: $12 Member, $18 Public

8:00 PM: Stephen D. Smith: Testimony: The Legacy of Schindler's List and the USC Shoah Foundation

November 11, 2015

5:00 PM: Film: My Italian Secret

Directed by Oren Jacoby
USA, 2014, 92 min
English and Italian with English subtitles

Gino Bartali is a sports legend who with other courageous Italians carried out ingenious schemes to rescue Jews, partisans, and refugees from Nazi-occupied Italy.

This film recounts the story of Bartoli and the secret network he worked with; he stands in for the stories of thousands of Italians who risked their lives to save others threatened by the Nazis.

Bartoli never sought recognition and few of those he helped knew his name or the role he played in their rescue.

Underwritten by The Maurice Amado Foundation

Cost: $5 Per Person

November 12, 2015

12:00 PM: Melton Lunch & Learn - Ron Wolfson

The Best Boy in the United States of America: A Memoir of Blessings and Kisses

Filled with stories of growing up in a close family, navigating adolescence, and learning never to underestimate his mother, this memoir provides powerful lessons of a life of joy, laughter, meaning and purpose. Ron Wolfson is a visionary educator, author, and Professor of Education at American University.

Cost: $12 Member, $18 Public

Location: Merfish Teen Center, 9000 S. Rice Blvd

7:30 PM: Kenneth Wishnia, Reed Farrel Coleman and Tasha Kaminsky

Jewish Noir: Contemporary Tales of Crime and Other Dark Deeds
Jewish Noir is a unique collection of new stories edited by Kenneth Wishnia and including numerous award-winning literary and genre authors including Reed Farrel Coleman and Tasha Kaminsky. The stories include many "teachable moments" about the history of prejudice and issues of assimilation and ethnic identity.

Cost: $12 Member, $18 Public

8:00 PM: Inside the Author's Studio, Bruce Eric Kaplan

I was a Child

Exclusive Event for Ages 21 to Thirty-Something
7:00 PM: Reception in the Bookstore

New Yorker cartoonist Bruce Eric Kaplan, also known as BEK, is one of the most celebrated cartoonists in America. A screenwriter and producer, Kaplan has worked on Seinfeld, Six Feet Under, and currently is a writer and executive producer for HBO's Girls.

Cost: Free

November 13, 2015

1:00 PM: Film: Flory's Flame

Directed by Curt Fissel
USA, 2014, 58 min
English and Spanish with English subtitles

Ninety-year old Flory Jagoda, a National Heritage Fellow, has recorded, composed, and performed Sephardic music from Bosnia throughout her life.

The film is a one-hour documentary about her life and music that interlaces Flory's personal narrative with selections from her moving September 2013 Celebration Concert at the US Library of Congress where she was joined by 25 other musicians.

Cost: $10 Member, $15 Public

November 14, 2015

8:00 PM: Baladino

Maurice Amado Foundation Music Residency and Concert

Mediterranean folk band, Baladino, offers fresh, yet authentic interpretations of Sephardic and Ladino melodies. With stunning vocals, unexpected instruments, and a pitch-perfect sense of arrangement, the group melds tunes from Egyptian, Armenian, Mediterranean-Gypsy, and Ladino influences into a versatile, sonically vibrant whole that emphasizes the multiplicity embedded in Israel's culture.

Baladino was conceived by multi-wind instrumentalist Yonnie Dor and string player Thomas Moked. Enhancing the band's musical identity is singer Yael Badash who brought with her an important collection of Ladino songs belonging to her ancestors, Daniel Sapir (double bass), and Yshai Afterman (percussionist).

Underwritten by The Maurice Amado Foundation

Cost: $20 Member, $30 Public

November 15, 2015

11:00 AM: Christopher Rothko

Mark Rothko: From the Inside Out

Christopher Rothko, the younger of Mark Rothko's two children and the Chair of the Board of the Rothko Chapel, offers a unique perspective on the world-renowned artist. Synthesizing rigorous critique with personal anecdotes, Christopher presents eighteen essays that look closely at the paintings and explore the ways in which they foster a profound connection between viewer and artist through form, color, and scale. The Rothko Chapel paintings receive extended treatment in the book.

Cost: $12 Member, $18 Public

1:00 PM: Film: Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem

Directed by Ronit Elkabetz & Shlomi Elkabetz
France/Germany/Israel, 2014, 116 min
Arabic, French, Hebrew with English subtitles

Trapped in a loveless marriage, Viviane Amsalem has been applying for a divorce for three years but her religiously devout husband constantly refuses. In Israel, only Orthodox rabbis can legalize a union or its dissolution, which is only possible with the husband's consent.

Cost: $10 Member, $15 Public

2:00 PM & 5:00 PM: Hands-On Cooking Demonstration, Katja Goldman

The Community Table: Recipes & Stories from the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan & Beyond

Three chefs from the Manhattan JCC worked together to create a cookbook of classic Jewish recipes as well as an inspiring collection of contemporary dishes with farm-to-table emphasis and international flavors. They include stories from JCC's across the U.S., including Houston's Evelyn Rubenstein JCC, in their discussions of the relationships between community and food.

Location: Central Market, 3815 Westheimer

4:00 PM: Barbara Mazur & Wendy Waxman

The Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook: Garden-Fresh Recipes Rediscovered and Adapted for Today's Kitchen
In 1938, Fania Lewando, proprietor of a vegetarian restaurant in Vilna, Lithuania, published a Yiddish vegetarian cookbook. The book was lost during the war until a copy was miraculously rediscovered in a London antiquities shop. Incredibly appropriate for our trend towards farm to table cooking, Barbara Mazur and Wendy Waxman talk about their discovery of the cookbook in a YIVO Book group.

Cost: $12 Member, $18 Public


7:30 PM: Author Talk with Performance, Steve Katz

Blood, Sweat, and My Rock 'n' Roll Years: Is Steve Katz a Rock Star?

Steve Katz won three Grammies, three Downbeat Reader's Poll Awards, three gold records, one platinum record, and one quadruple platinum record, and has sold close to 29 million records. He was part of the Monterey Pop Festival with the legendary Blues Project and Woodstock with Blood Sweat and Tears. In addition to his own experience with the famous of the 60s and 70s, he hung out with the greats of music and entertainment, including Al Kooper, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Elizabeth Taylor, etc.

Cost: $12 Member, $18 Public

Fest Date: November 1 - 15, 2015

Location: Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston, 5601 South Braeswood, Houston, TX 77096

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