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JBC Author Series

Jewish Book Council is the longest-running organization devoted exclusively to the support and celebration of Jewish literature. 
For over seventy years, they have used literature to bring people together for meaningful discussions around Jewish life, identity, and culture. As a part of the JBC network, we are thrilled to welcome authors from far and wide to our community here in Port Washington, to share their teachings with us throughout the year. 

Below you will find our JBC Author Events
from 5781 / 2020-2021. 

Click on a book cover to learn more, to purchase the book,
or to watch the archived event. 









Naomi L. Baum
from Thursday, October 8 at 12:00 PM

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In this profoundly honest and revealing memoir, psychologist Dr. Naomi L. Baum invites us to journey with her as she says Kaddish, the traditional Jewish mourner’s prayer, in the year following her mother’s death. When experiencing loss, we are often without words to describe how we are feeling. Finding a place to rest the pain, this book travels through the seasons of grief and will resonate with any­one who has lost someone dear. Dr. Baum, an international consultant on trauma and resilience, draws on both her personal and professional experience to navigate this uncharted territory, as she takes a new look at tradition and discovers both emotional and spiritual sources of comfort in unexpected places.

Click here* to purchase My Year of Kaddish: Mourning, Memory and Meaning
*For each purchase using the link above, the synagogue receives a small commission.

Naomi L. Baum, Ph.D. is a psychologist in the field of trauma and resilience, working as a consultant both in Israel and internationally. She is the author of several books, including Life Unexpected: A Trauma Psychologist Journeys through Breast Cancer. She lives with her family in Efrat, Israel. Visit her website and connect with her on Twitter.


Abigail Gewirtz
from Thursday, October 15 at 12:00 PM

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An urgent and necessary book, When the World Feels Like a Scary Place brings solutions to a problem that is only going to get worse — how bad things happening in the world affect our children, and how we can raise engaged and confident kids in spite of them.

Dr. Abigail Gewirtz, a child psychologist and leading expert on families under stress, now offers a clear and truly practical guide to having the kind of tough conversations with your kids that really help. But it’s not just how to talk to your kids, it’s also what to say: The heart of the book is a series of conversation scripts, with actual dialogue, talking points, prompts, and insightful asides, each tailored for different ages and centered around different issues. She shows how to let the child lead. How to not make the problem worse by saying more than a child needs to know. How to check in with your­self to make sure your own anxiety doesn’t color the conversation. 

Click here* to purchase When the World Feels Like a Scary Place
*For each purchase using the link above, the synagogue receives a small commission.

Abigail Gewirtz is a child psychologist and a leading expert on families under stress. She is a professor in the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development. She has consulted to national and international organizations including the U.S. Congress and UNICEF, on parenting. She has conducted research in the U.S., Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, and has been invited to speak widely, in the U.S. and across the world, on parenting in times of stress. Visit her website


Janna Lopez
from Monday, November 2 at 8:00 PM

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“Who am I?” is perhaps the most asked question in midlife. Me, My Selfie & Eye: A Midlife Conversation About Lost Identity, Grief and Seeing Who You Are is a timely book that was written to connect, console, and encourage any­one in the throes of midlife identity confusion. Janna Lopez, a Jewish author, explores through a practical updated conversation the process of midlife upheaval. She cites grief as the main culprit, especially when every­thing we believed as true about ourselves becomes uncertain.

Viewed from a revealing first-person experience, this book draws a contrast between a widely known spiritual journey, a Dark Night of the Soul, and what’s instead referred to as a more accurate portrayal, a Dark Flight of the Self. Using straight­forward concepts, reflections, and sometimes twisted humor, this book offers readers insights to see themselves and midlife identity dismantling, as a means to move forward.

Click here* to purchase Me, My Selfie & Eye: A Midlife Conversation About Lost Identity, Grief and Seeing Who You Are
*For each purchase using the link above, the synagogue receives a small commission.

Jan­na Lopez’s life’s work revolves around expression through words and images. She believes no matter our differences, it’s each other’s stories that heal and connect us. She was a successful magazine publisher for nearly a decade. Her current passion is presenting to groups about the confusion of midlife identity. She was recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and serves to create awareness.


Robert Bildner & Elisa Spungen Bildner
from Thursday, November 5 at 8:00 PM

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The Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts are famous for their unique culture, from scenic views to artistic and literary attractions. But in addition to the region’s classic landmarks, the Berkshires also boasts an impressive number of family-run farms. Together with local restaurants, these farms add another feature to Berkshires culture: heart­warming and homegrown food. Telling the story of family-run agriculture through the language of food, The Berkshires Farm Table Cookbook offers 125 recipes to recall the magic of the Berkshire region. Sweet Corn Pancakes, Carrot Soup with Sage and Mint, Confetti Vegetable and Goat Cheese Lasagna and more celebrate the lush landscape of the western New England area. Complete with farm profiles and vibrant photographs, The Berkshires Farm Table Cookbook paints a vivid portrait of the relationship between the earth and what we eat. Although focusing on one region, the stories of the area’s farmers and chefs, and the recipes, extend well beyond the Berkshires. You can learn more about their farms and the story of their book by visiting their website

Click here* to purchase The Berk­shires Farm Table Cook­book: 125 Home-Grown Recipes from the New Eng­land Hills
*For each purchase using the link above, the synagogue receives a small commission.

Robert Bildner, a former attorney, created and sold several food distribution and manufacturing companies. Bildner and his wife Elisa established the Foundation for Jewish Camp, and he serves as a lay leader on several non­profit boards. He studied photography, and photographed this book’s farms and restaurants. He graduated from Yale University, University of Pennsylvania Law School and Jewish Theological Seminary.

Elisa Spungen Bildner is a former lawyer, CEO of a food company newspaper, editor/​reporter (Star Ledger, Newark, NJ) and journalism professor (Rutgers University and New York University). Spungen Bildner is also a professionally trained chef (School of Natural Cookery, Boulder, CO) and yoga instructor. She graduated from Yale College, Columbia University Law School, and also has an MS in Nutrition.


Darren Levine
from Monday, November 9 at 8:00 PM

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"If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if not now, then when?” Over two thousand years ago, the rabbinic leader, Hillel, boldly challenged us to be responsible, vigilant and strong in what is a seemingly unending quest towards individual wholeness. Fortunately, in Positive Judaism, Rabbi Darren Levine provides a masterful guide­book to chart the path forward. Drawing upon his own painful experiences of divorce and job loss, Levine seamlessly blends the wisdom of Judaism with current psychological literature focussing on developing and strengthening well-being.

From the out­set, Levine reminds the reader that living well and achieving wholeness does not imply the absence of suffering. Indeed, simply living brings an unpredictable confluence of pain and joy, which can both strengthen and weaken our emotional, physical and spiritual resolve.

Click here* to purchase Positive Judaism: For a Life of Well-Being and Happiness
*For each purchase using the link above, the synagogue receives a small commission.

Darren Levine is the founding rabbi of Tamid: The Downtown Synagogue in New York City. He holds rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and a Doctor of Ministry degree from HUC-JIR and the Post­graduate Center for Mental Health, both in New York City.
He is the host of the Positive Judaism podcast on Itunes, is a member of the International Positive Psychology Association, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, serves as Team Rabbi for Maccabi USA Sports, and completed Chaplain Officer School in the United States Army. He is the father of two sons and lives in New York City with his family.


Dan Peres
from Monday, December 7 at 6:15 PM

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Dan Peres always loved magic. As a slightly nerdy, Jewish kid from an upscale suburb just outside Baltimore, he'd practice tricks endlessly in his basement. So, the story of his nearly magical transformation to editor-in-chief of the award-winning men's magazine Details has the ingredients of a transfixing read. But what really lends this memoir its binge-worthiness is that for his entire career, Peres was a serious drug addict.

As Needed for Pain is a glittering dive into a world of celebrity and self-doubt, of talent and toxicity. It is the gritty, painful, and beautifully written story of the unstoppable drive for a high. But it's ultimately the story of figuring out how to feel "the way I'd always wanted to feel," as Peres writes of the first time he took Vicodin, without destroying his own life in the process.

Click here* to purchase As Needed for Pain: A Memoir of Addiction
*For each purchase using the link above, the synagogue receives a small commission.

Dan Peres was editor in chief of Details for fifteen years, starting in 2000, when the title relaunched under his leadership. During his tenure, the magazine won many awards, including two National Magazine Awards. Before taking the editorship of Details, Dan spent nine years at W Magazine, overseeing bureaus in Paris, London, and Milan. While in college, he worked as a copy boy at The New York Times and later as a research assistant at Esquire. He is the author of Details Men's Style Manual. He lives in New York and has three sons. 


Debbie Cenziper
from Thursday, January 7 at 8:00 PM


The task of ferreting out those suspected of involvement in World War II atrocities was the responsibility of a group of lawyers and historians who worked in the Office of Special Investigations (OSI). During its thirty years of existence, the OSI investigated more than fourteen hundred suspected Nazi collaborators and won dozens of deportation cases. Cenziper focuses on the case of Jakob Reimer, whose Nazi identification number was 865. He came from a German ethnic area within the Soviet Union and was captured by the Germans after the invasion of Russia in June 1941. He was then sent to the Trawniki camp near Lublin, Poland to be trained by the SS in the art of mass killing of Jews.

It is not unusual for a journalist or historian to think of his or her topic of investigation to be of transcendent significance, and Cenziper is no exception. She continually emphasizes the importance of the OSI’s work and concludes her book by quoting Peter Black, an OSI historian and the volume’s leading protagonist: “If legal consequences for mass murder and mass atrocity become habitual to political and judicial behavior in the twenty-first century, perhaps we can prevent mass murder in the future.” Based on recent history, there is little likelihood that this will occur.

Click here* to purchase Citizen 865: The Hunt for Hitler's Hidden Soldiers in America
*For each purchase using the link above, the synagogue receives a small commission.

Debbie Cenziper is an investigative journalist, professor, and author based in Washington, D.C. A contributing reporter for the investigative team at The Washington Post, she has won many major awards in print journalism, including the 2007 Pulitzer Prize. Cenziper is the co-author of the critically acclaimed Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality. She was recently named the director of investigative journalism at the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism. 


Talia Carner
from Monday, January 11 at 8:00 PM


Even those who consider themselves well-versed in Jewish history will feel surprised — even horrified — by the story told in Talia Carner’s new novel, The Third Daughter. Set in the late nineteenth century, it tells of a Jewish-run syndicate who systematically kidnapped young women from Eastern Europe for the purpose of selling them as prostitutes in Buenos Aires.

Carefully researched and meticulously novelized, Carner tells the story of Batya, the third of many daughters of a struggling Russian milkman. The story would be grim but for the powerful Jewish reaction to this shameful era in history. Philanthropic plans are made to buy ranches that will house and employ new Jewish émigrés en masse. Batya herself fights at the forefront of shutting down the bordellos of Buenos Aires, and of leading her ​“sisters” to freedom. Indeed, the vivid inner life of Carner’s protagonist is one of the best aspects of the bookBrave, resourceful, loyal and fierce, Batya is a Jewish heroine who shines brightly in this dark story. Like a Shabbat candle, she casts both light and healing over a troubled era.

Click here* to purchase The Third Daughter
*For each purchase using the link above, the synagogue receives a small commission.

Novelist Talia Carner is formerly the publisher of Savvy Woman magazine and a lecturer at international women’s economic forums. She is a committed supporter of global human rights and has spearheaded projects centered on the subjects of female plight and women’s activism. Her five novels have been hailed for exposing society’s ills, the latest of which is The Third Daughter (HarperCollins, September 2019.)  Set in Buenos Aires in the late 1800s, it is the story of a Jewish girl caught in sex trafficking.
Talia Carner has given over 400 keynote speeches and presentations about the social issues behind her novels to civic, educational and religious organizations. She lives in New York and Florida.


Rabbi Laura Geller
from Tuesday, January 12 at 8:00 PM

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The baby boomer generation transformed society in the ​’60s and ​’70s and changed the way the world saw young people. Now, this generation is in our 60’s and 70’s, and we are challenging assumptions about aging by living longer, being more active than our parents and grandparents, and simply doing things differently as we age. In the process, we are changing the way the world sees older people. Just as The Jewish Catalog gave a generation the tools to ​“take back Judaism from the staid hands of our elders and reshape it for our time,” Getting Good at Getting Older gives the ​“young older” an opportunity to discover, in Jewish tradition and culture, the tools, resources, and skills needed to navigate the years between maturity (building careers/raising families) and frail old age, and create a new paradigm for growing older. It brings humor, irreverence, playfulness, thoughtfulness, and more than 4,000 years of Jewish experience to the question of how to shape this new stage of life.

Click here* to purchase Getting Good at Getting Older
*For each purchase using the link above, the synagogue receives a small commission.

Laura Geller, Rabbi Emerita of Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, one of Newsweek’s 50 Most Influential Rabbis in America, was recognized by as a 2017 Influencer in Aging. A Fellow of the Corporation of Brown University, she serves on the boards of and the Jewish Women’s Archive. She was ordained in 1976, the third woman rabbi in the Reform Movement.


Dr. Jeremy Benstein
from Sunday, January 31 at 11:00 AM 

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Why does Hebrew matter? Hebrew Roots, Jewish Routes addresses the many ways engagement with Hebrew enriches Jewishness culturally and religiously. Whether you know Hebrew or not, Jeremy Benstein takes us on an entertaining journey into the significance of Hebrew for Jews and Judaism. Since fluency is a distant goal for many, Benstein shows us another approach: engaging with Hebrew by focusing on the three-letter Hebrew roots that are the building blocks of the language, seeing these ​“nuggets of knowledge” as a vehicle to enriching our connection to Judaism and its values. For instance, tzedakah, usually translated as ​“charity,” comes from justice (tzedek) and responsibility, not generosity, thus encapsulating an entire economic worldview. With many witty examples, Benstein shows us both why and how to connect to Hebrew, this under­appreciated treasure of ours. Hebrew is both ancient and evolving, holy and daily, tribal and global. More than just a book about a language, this is a book about the Jewish people and the challenges we face as seen through our shared language, Hebrew.

Click here* to purchase Hebrew Roots, Jewish Routes: A Tribal Language in a Global World
*For each purchase using the link above, the synagogue receives a small commission.

Dr. Jeremy Benstein is an educator, author, and Hebrew lover. He holds a BA in linguistics from Harvard, a master’s degree in Judaic studies from the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem, and a PhD in cultural anthropology from the Hebrew University. Raised in Toledo, Ohio, he lives in Zichron Yaakov, Israel with his wife, five children, two cats, and many books.


Erica Katz
from Tuesday, February 9 at 8:00 PM

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One of Buzzfeed’s Most Anticipated Books of 2020, Erica Katz’s The Boys’ Club is a razor-sharp debut novel that brilliantly captures today’s cultural zeitgeist. Taking readers inside one of the world’s most prestigious and high-powered law firms, this incisive page-turner — already optioned for Netflix by producers of SpotlightManiac, and The OA—offers a nuanced portrait, informed by the author’s own professional experiences in a Manhattan law firm, of the misogyny and sexual dynamics pervasive in corporate America. Fresh out of Harvard Law, Alex Vogel has abandoned her do-gooder impulses and accepted a much-coveted associate position at the Manhattan office of Klasko & Fitch, one of the most prestigious law firms in the world. While she finds her­self working harder than she ever imagined, she also enjoys the luxury perks of the job. But the clients seem to expect more and more of her, and she becomes privy to inside knowledge about the relationship between the firm and its largest financial client. Her conscience starts niggling at her — then one night something happens that makes it impossible for her to continue to ignore the toxic underpinnings. Called to action, she puts everything on the line to reveal the truth. The Boys’ Club is an insider’s exposé wrapped in a deliciously propulsive fictional narrative.

Click here* to purchase The Boys' Club
*For each purchase using the link above, the synagogue receives a small commission.

Erica Katz is the pseudonym for a graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Columbia Law School who began her career at a major Manhattan law firm. A native of New Jersey, she now lives in New York City, where she’s employed at another large law firm. The Boys’ Club is her first novel.


Howard Blum
from Monday, March 1 at 8:00 PM

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It's 1943 and the three Allied leaders — Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin — are meeting for the first time at a top-secret conference in Tehran. But the Nazis have learned about the meeting and Hitler sees it as his last chance to turn the tide. Although the war is undoubtedly lost, the Germans believe that perhaps a new set of Allied leaders might be willing to make a more reasonable peace in its aftermath. And so a plan is devised — code name Operation Long Jump — to assassinated FDR, Churchill, and Stalin. A hand-picked team of Nazi commandos is assembled, trained, and armed with special weapons and parachuted into Iran. They have six days to complete the daring assignment before the statesmen will return home. With no margin for error, Mike Reilly, the head of FDR's Secret Service detail — a man who describes himself as "an Irish cop with more muscle than brains" — must overcome his suspicions to work with a Soviet agent from the NKVD (the precursor to the KGB) to save the three most powerful men in the world. 

Click here* to purchase Night of the Assassins: The Untold Story of Hitler's Plot to Kill FDR, Churchill and Stalin
*For each purchase using the link above, the synagogue receives a small commission.

Howard Blum is the author of The New York Times bestseller and Edgar Award winner American Lightning as well as Wanted!, The Gold of Exodus, Gangland,The Floor of Heaven, and most recently a 2018 New York Times Notable Book, In the Enemy's House. While at The New York Times, he was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. He is the father of three children and lives in Connecticut. 


Vanessa L Ochs
from Tuesday, March 9 at 8:00 PM

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"And you shall tell your son on that day..." This simple command in Exodus has led to more than five thousand versions of the Passover story. Ochs recounts its life beginning with various mentions in the Bible and ending with the profusion of Haggadot today; these variations reflect the geographical spread of Jewish communities, the diversity of practice, and historic events. For anyone interested in the emergence and complex evolution of the Haggadah, this biography offers a trove of information in engaging and inviting language. 

From the biblical mentions of the original Passover, to centers of Jewish learning consolidating texts into a recognizable Haggadah in the eleventh century, to the question of how to memorialize the Holocaust within the Haggadah when creating postwar Haggadot, The Passover Haggadah: A Biography asks the question of why we keep revising the Haggadah after centuries of use. In the closing of the biography, Ochs critiques the flaws and the value of the Haggadah and concludes that the final pages of its life are yet to be written. 

Click here* to purchase The Passover Haggadah: A Biography
*For each purchase using the link above, the synagogue receives a small commission.

Rabbi Vanessa L. Ochs is a professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia and an ordained rabbi. Her books include Inventing Jewish Ritual, which won a National Jewish Book Award; Sarah Laughed: Modern Lessons from the Wisdom and Stories of Biblical Women; and Words on Fire: One Woman's Journey into the Sacred. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. 


Hilary Levey Friedman
from Thursday, March 25 at 8:00 PM

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In Here She Is, Hilary Levey Friedman reveals the surprising ways pageants have been an empowering feminist tradition. She traces the role of pageants in many of the feminist movement's signature achievements, including bringing women into the public sphere, helping them become leaders in business and politics, providing increased educational opportunities, and giving them a voice in the age of #MeToo. Using her unique perspective as a NOW state president, daughter to Miss America 1970, sometimes pageant judge, and scholar, Friedman explores how pageants became so deeply embedded in American life — from their origins as a P.T. Barnum spectacle at the birth of the suffrage movement through today. She looks at how pageantry has morphed into culture everywhere from The Bachelor to Cheer and specialized contests. Friedman also acknowledges the damaging and unrealistic expectations pageants place on women in society and discusses the controversies. Presenting a more complex narrative than what's been previously portrayed, Here She Is shows that as American women continue to evolve, so too will beauty pageants.  

Click here* to purchase Here She Is: The Complicated Reign of the Beauty Pageant in America
*For each purchase using the link above, the synagogue receives a small commission.

Hilary Levey Friedman is a sociologist at Brown University, where she has taught a popular course title Beauty Pageants in American Society. She is a leading researcher in pageantry, merging her mother's past experiences as Miss America 1970 with her interests as a glitz-and-glamour-loving sometime pageant judge, and a mentor to Miss America 2018. Friedman also serves as the president of the Rhode Island chapter of the National Organization for Women. Her first book, Playing to Win, focused on children's competitive afterschool activities.


Abby Chava Stein
from Tuesday, April 6 at 8:00 PM

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Abby Stein was raised in a Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn, isolated in a culture that lives according to the laws and practices of eighteenth-century Eastern Europe, speaking only Yiddish and Hebrew and shunning modern life. Stein was born as the first son in a dynastic rabbinical family, poised to become a leader of the next generation of Hasidic Jews.

But Abby felt certain at a young age that she was a girl. She suppressed her desire for a new body while looking for answers wherever she could find them, from forbidden religious texts to smuggled secular examinations of faith. Finally, she orchestrated a personal exodus from ultra-Orthodox manhood to mainstream femininity – a radical choice that forced her to leave her home, her family, her way of life.

Powerful in the truths it reveals about biology, culture, faith, and identity, Becoming Eve poses the enduring question: How far will you go to become the person you were meant to be?

Click here* to purchase Becoming Eve: My Journey from Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgender Woman
*For each purchase using the link above, the synagogue receives a small commission.

Abby Stein is the tenth-generation descendant of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the Hasidic movement. In 2015, Stein came out as a woman, and she now works as a trans activist. In 2019, she served on the steering committee for the Women's March in Washington, DC, and she was named by the Jewish Week as one of the "36 Under 36" Jews who are affecting change in the world. She lives in New York City.


Jason B. Rosenthal
from Thursday, April 22 at 8:00 PM

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An inspiring memoir of life, love, loss and new beginnings by the widower of bestselling children's author and filmmaker, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, whose last act of love before her death was setting the stage for her husband's life without her in a column in The New York Times. On March 3, 2017, Amy Krouse Rosenthal penned an op-ed piece for The New York Times's "Modern Love" column – "You May Want to Marry My Husband." It appeared ten days before her death from ovarian cancer. A heartbreaking, wry, brutally honest, and creative play on a personal ad – in which a dying wife encouraged her husband to go on and find happiness after her demise – the column quickly went viral, reaching more than five million people worldwide.

In My Wife Said You May Want to Marry Me, Jason describes what came next: his commitment to respecting Amy's wish even as he struggled with her loss. Surveying his life before, with, and after Amy, Jason ruminates on love, the pain of watching a loved one suffer, and what it means to heal – how he and their three children, despite their profound sorrow, went on. Jason's emotional journey offers insights on dying and death and the excruciating pain of losing a soulmate, and illuminates the lessons he learned. As he reflects on Amy's gift to him – a fresh start to fill his empty space with a new story  Jason describes how he continues to honor Amy's life and her last wish and how he seeks to appreciate every day and live in the moment while trying to help others coping with loss. 

Click here* to purchase My Wife Said You May Want to Marry Me: A Memoir
*For each purchase using the link above, the synagogue receives a small commission.

Jason Rosenthal is a lawyer and the executive director of a nonprofit organization created in his late wife's name, the Amy Krouse Rosenthal Foundation, which funds child literacy programs and ovarian cancer research. His Ted Talk "The Journey Through Loss and Grief" has been viewed over 1.4 million times since June 2018. He lives in Chicago and is a doting father to his and Amy's three children.


Judy Batalion
from Tuesday, April 27 at 8:00 PM

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One of the most important stories of World War II, already optioned by Steven Spielberg for a major motion picture: a spectacular, searing history that brings to light the extraordinary accomplishments of brave Jewish women who became resistance fighters – a group of unknown heroes whose exploits have never been chronicled in full, until now. Witnesses to the brutal murder of their families and neighbors and the violent destruction of their communities, a cadre of Jewish women in Poland – some still in their teens – helped transform the Jewish youth groups into resistance cells to fight the Nazis.

With courage, guile, and nerves of steel, these "ghetto girls" paid off Gestapo guards, hid revolvers in loaves of bread and jars of marmalade, and helped build systems of underground bunkers. They flirted with German soldiers; bribed them with wine, whisky, and home cooking; used their Aryan looks to seduce them; and shot and killed them. They bombed German train lines and blew up a town's water supply. They also nursed the sick and taught children. Powerful and inspiring, featuring twenty black-and-white photographs, The Light of Days is an unforgettable true tale of war, the fight for freedom, exceptional bravery, female friendship, and survival in the face of staggering odds. 

For a New York Times article written by Judy Batalion on her novel, click here
For a Ha'aretz article on this important read, click here

Click here* to purchase The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler's Ghettos
*For each purchase using the link above, the synagogue receives a small commission.

Judy Batalion is the author of White Walls: A Memoir About MotherhoodDaughterhood and The Mess in Between. She has written for The New York TimesVogueThe Washington Post, and many other publications. Prior to her writing career, she was an academic, and is fluent in both Yiddish and Hebrew. Born and raised in Montréal, she now lives in New York with her husband and children.


David Biespiel
from Tuesday, May 4 at 8:00 PM

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A Place of Exodus is a memoir – a rumination on the meaning of home, memory, and the moments that make us who we are. Biespiel writes that childhood is our "true home," our "original proof of citizenship," so he traveled back to Meyerland – the historic Jewish section of Houston. He visited his old shul, the streets he used to walk, his former girlfriend's house, and of course, his own family's homestead. these places become stories–they're the time his father had a stroke, they're the endless arguments about the Akedah in Hebrew school, they're the pool parties of the "Esquires," Beispiel's Jewish junior-high fraternity. And then there's the endless blue sky, the far-off horizon, the tired clouds, the moist garbage by the curbside. Somehow it all brings him back to a Passover seder, when he felt like all four sons in one: the wise, the rebelious, the simple and the one who can't ask. To which his mother answered, better than being the "fifth son" – the one who is absent. And this, in a sense, is what he now is. From being every kind of Jewish son, he became the one who left, the one who walked away. Still, when he's accused of being a "secularist," Biespiel simply answers, "to God, I'm the loyal opposition."

For every Jew who grew up in America wondering why it was so much work being Jewish, whether it was all necessary, and whether or not you can really go home again, well, Biespiel doesn't have all the answers, but he certainly shares your questions. 

Click here* to purchase A Place of Exodus: Home, Memory, and Texas
*For each purchase using the link above, the synagogue receives a small commission.

David Biespiel is the author of eleven books, most recently Republic Café and The Education of a Young Poet. A contributor to The New RepublicThe New Yorker, and Slate, he has received Lanan Foundation, NEA, and Stegner fellowships, two Oregon Book Awards, and been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Balakian Award. He is Poet-in-Residence at Oregon State University. 


Cleo Stiller
from Monday, May 10 at 8:00 PM


Emmy and Peabody Award-nominated journalist Cleo Stiller's fun(ny) and informative collection of advice and perspectives about what it means to be a good guy in the era of #MeToo. In Modern Manhood, reporter Cleo Stiller sheds light on all the gray areas out there, using conversations that real men and women are having with their friends, their dates, their family, and themselves. Free of judgment preaching and sugarcoating, Modern Manhood is engaging and provocative, and ultimately a great resource for gaining a deeper understanding of what it means to genuinely be a good man today.


Click here* to purchase Modern Manhood: Conversations About the Complicated World of Being a Good Man Today
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Cleo Stiller is an award-winning journalist, speaker, and television host–and most recently the author of Modern Manhood: Conversations About the Complicated World of Being a Good Man Today. Stiller received a prestigious Peabody Award nomination for public service journalism in 2018 and an Emmy Award nomination in 2015. Her work receives frequent coverage, including in The New York TimesFortune MagazineRolling StonePBS, and many other outlets. She speaks regularly around the country about her work and social impact, most recently at New York University Global Affairs: Women's Global Health Conference. 


Sun, October 24 2021 18 Cheshvan 5782