2021 BookFest returns in person and on Zoom

By Deb Silverthorn

The Margot Rosenberg Pulitzer Dallas Jewish Bookfest anticipates a joyous return to in-person events along with a vibrant online roster of conversations about exciting new titles. 

Bookfest is presented by the Aaron Family JCC, the Goldberg Family Early Childhood Center at the J and Central Market. Many of the events are partnered with Jewish Book Council. Members of the Dallas community are scheduled to lead the conversations with authors. Pre-registration is required for all events which are open to the public.

“We’re so glad to bring members of our community to touch and connect with our audiences,” said Rachell Weiss Crane, the J’s director of Israel Engagement and Jewish Living and Bookfest producer.  “Our last in-person event was March 12, 2020. A day later we thought it was all going to just stop.”   

“Since then, we’ve had nearly 80 virtual events, many shared with JCCs around the country that are also part of the National JCC Literary Consortium. It’s been wonderful and will continue to be part of our future but having people in-house (masked and distanced) is very exciting.”

The three remaining October events feature one in-person and two Zoom conversations.

Tuesday, Oct. 19, 7 p.m. at the J

Author Jori Epstein with Holocaust survivor Max Glauben will share insights about their book “Upstander: How Surviving the Holocaust Sparked Max Glauben’s Mission to Dismantle Hate.”  In only their second public appearance, Epstein and Glauben will discuss their partnership and how their book, with signed copies available that night, came to be.

“I’m happy to have found a righteous person to write this book. That  gem is Jori,” said Glauben who, despite having given thousands of talks, in “Upstander” reveals untold experiences.  “The pages of this book talk.  She wove it all together and I look forward to sharing it with everyone together with her.”

The memoir, the first book written by Epstein, a sports reporter for USA Today, explores Glauben’s mischievous childhood, teen years as a go-to ghetto smuggler and his journeys from displaced person to American immigrant.

“This is a unique opportunity to share in a very special milestone here in Dallas, our home. Through Max, more than ever I’ve learned to never take a day for granted and to understand how every day of his life has an impact,” said Epstein. “All I’ve wanted is to have him know how special he is and what he, his story and his legacy means to this world.  We wanted to create something with students in mind, and his testimony is the perfect curriculum to overcome trauma.”

Thursday, Oct. 21, 7 p.m., Zoom

Texas Jewish Post staff writer Deb Silverthorn, who is also a college adviser, will host Tracy Dobmeier and Wendy Katzman, authors of “Girls with Bright Futures.”

The evening is well-timed as high school seniors are working their way through applications and seniors and juniors are making campus visits. “Girls with Bright Futures” is the story of three women, three daughters, and the competition for each to reach their dreams.” 

Tuesday, Oct. 26, 7 p.m., Zoom 

Silverthorn and Laura Leibman, award-winning author of “The Art of the Jewish Family,” will discuss the book, which examines a letter seeking assistance, a set of silver cups, an ivory miniature and a book and a family silhouette owned by a diverse group of Jewish women who lived in New York between 1750 and 1850. The objects offer intimate and tangible views into the lives of Jewish American women from a range of statuses, beliefs and lifestyles — rich and poor, Sephardi and Ashkenazi, enslaved people and slaveowners.

The BookFest is already having an effect on the community. Last week, Jewish Family Service Chair Julie Liberman spoke with Joanne Samuel Goldblum, co-author of “Broke in America: Seeing, Understanding and Ending U.S. Poverty.”  Goldblum is CEO of the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN) and founder of The Diaper Bank of Connecticut, a connection felt deeply by Liberman who is one of the founders of JFS’ Diaper Shower going on this month. 

“This book has call to action options that I will work my way through starting now, writing letters, making calls and more,” said Liberman.  “We’ve collected more than a million diapers and it’s only our beginning.”

Bookfest has 18 events remaining this fall and dozens more coming in 2022. 

Registration (required in advance) is available per event or through a season pass.  For more details and information visit jccdallas.org/special-events/bookfest.

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