The Lessans Family Annual Literary Series

Who tells your story?

Our 2016 festival was a resounding success with an astounding array of authors and programs exploring storytelling through words, music and images. Among this past year’s innovative programs; Election Day talk featuring a local author, an adult coloring workshop, spoken word storytelling performances, a community read event, JBook, and an art exhibit connecting storytelling and visual arts. We can’t wait to share inspiring stories with you in 2017!

View the 2016 Lessans Family Annual Book Festival Brochure Here

Check out the 2016 Book Festival Event List, below!

Thursday, November 3, 7:30 pm

Opening Night Patrons Event: Yael Dayan, Transitions
In Conversation w/ Susan Weidman Schneider

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Friday, November 4, 12 pm

Jonathan Richard Rabb, Among the Living

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Saturday, November 5, 7:30 pm

The Bender JCC and Story District present: NOT FUNNY! True Tales of the Hilariously Tragic

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Sunday, November 6
JBook: One Date One Book
A Community Read Event: Ms. Sara Levy’s Salon

Step into the pages of the JBook selection, After the Fire, and be a guest at one of Ms. Sara Levy’s famous salons. Join us for a day of discussion, music, art and pastries that culminates with a book talk with the author, Lauren Belfer. To learn more about all JBOOK events please click on the link below.

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JBook: Children’s Music Program, 10 am

Bring your children to a Children’s Classical Music Workshop and instrument petting zoo inspired by the music of our JBook Community Read Selection, And After the Fire, by Lauren Belfer. In this interactive session where children will learn how composers choose notes, what those notes sound like, and be able to experience the music of Bach and Beethoven in a hands on, exciting way! Appropriate for ages 3-10.

JBook: Lunch and Learn Discussion, 12:30 pm

Join friends and other members of our community for an engaging and timely discussion on current trends in anti-Semitism. Inspired by the themes of the JBook Community Read selection, And After the Fire, by Lauren Belfer, this is a unique opportunity to explore the intersection of arts, music, culture and politics.

JBook: Artist Talk with Ronnie Spiewak, 2 pm

Inspired by nature, Ronnie Spiewak is a talented artist known for her collages, paintings and installations. Imagine a wind storm with leaves, twigs and branches blowing. Ronnie snips, cuts and tears colorful papers, print media and cardboard to create her compositions. The twigs, branch leaves and petals swirl around in an abstract fashion in most of the works. She occasionally combines print media with the swirling matter, implying narrative and cultural connections.

JBook: Free Piano trio concert, 3 pm

Delight in the musical stylings of Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn, during a free piano trio concert in the Goldman Art Gallery.

JBook: Lauren Belfer, And After the Fire, 5 pm
In Conversation with Michael Marissen

Lauren Belfer is the author of the New York Times bestseller, City of Light. Her new book, And After the Fire, is a transporting, unputdownable, multi-generational saga spanning centuries and continents. This beautiful narrative—studded with vibrant, real-life musical figures of 18th and 19th century Europe—uncovers the mystery behind a troubling, centuries-old cantata.

Light refreshments provided

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Monday, November 7, 10 am

Gayle Forman, Leave Me

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Monday, November 7, 7 pm

Cynthia Kaplan Shamash, The Stranger’s We Became: Lessons in Exile from One of Iraq’s Last Jews
In Conversation with Mark Hetfield

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Election Day

Tuesday, November 8, 10 am – 3 pm

Adult Coloring Workshop

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Tuesday, November 8, 12 pm

John N. Yochelson, Loving and Leaving Washington: Reflections of Public Service

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Mental Health Awareness Day

Wednesday, November 9, 10 am

Claudia Kalb, Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History’s Great Personalities
In conversation with Steve Sternberg

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Wednesday, November 9, 12 pm

Lisa F. Smith, Girl Walks Out of a Bar
In conversation with Sharon Friedman

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Wednesday, November 9, 7 pm

Andrew Nagorski, The Nazi Hunters
In conversation with Jeffrey Richter

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Thursday, November 10, 10 am

Children’s Program: Rabbi Jamie Korngold, Sadie and Ori and the Blue Blanket

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Thursday, November 10, 7 pm

Kate Siegel, Mother, Can You Not
With Crazy Jewish Mom herself, Kim Friedman

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Friday, November 11, 10:30 am

Book Club Brunch: Elizabeth Poliner, As Close to Us as Breathing

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Sunday, November 13, 10:00 am

Mike Silver, Stars in the Ring: Jewish Champions in the Golden Age of Boxing: A Photographic History
In conversation with Joe Yasharoff

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Sunday, November 13, 11:30 am

Neil Leifer, Relentless: The Stories behind the Photographs
In Conversation with John Maynard

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Sunday, November 13, 1:00 pm

Anne Sebba, Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved, and Died Under Nazi Occupation

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Sunday, November 13, 5:00 pm

Of Blessed Memory: Elie Wiesel Remembered
A special panelist event to honor Elie Wiesel
Raye Farr, Rabbi Joseph Polak, Dr. Avraham (Alan) Rosen
Moderated by Elena Baum

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