The Rye Bread Marriage


The Rye Bread Marriage

February 14, 2024
6:30 PM

Purchase Tickets

Bender JCC | $18
  • 6:30 PM | Reception with rye bread goodies
  • 7:00 PM | Book discussion

The Lessans Family Literary Series is thrilled to welcome local author and community member Michaele Weissman author of The Rye Bread Mar­riage: How I Found Hap­pi­ness with a Part­ner I’ll Nev­er Understand.

Love is in the air! Join us for a provocative discussion of the Michaele’s book, moderated by Rabbi Rachel Gartner.  We will talk about food, family, love, marriage, intermarriage and rye bread!


The Rye Bread Marriage is a memoir/culinary history about rye bread, telling the story of a marriage that unites two very different people, both with roots in rye-bread-loving Eastern Europe. Rye bread is the subject of the book, and it is a lens enabling the author to tell her husband’s dramatic family story and her own Jewish American story. Her husband, John Melngailis fled his native Latvia with his family as a child to escape Stalin’s takeover of his homeland. Both funny and wise, The Rye Bread Marriage explores deep and confounding subjects with a light touch.


Michaele Weissman is the author of hundreds of articles and four books, including “God in a Cup”, a narrative about the specialty coffee business for which she followed three young coffee buyers around the world. Her husband, John Melngailis, is the owner of Black Rooster Food, a company marketing Latvian rye bread online and in gourmet stores, and he is an emeritus professor of Electrical Engineer at the University of Maryland. Married for more than 40 years, they live in Chevy Chase, Maryland and are the parents of three children and the grandparents of four, all of whom teethed on rye bread.


Rabbi Rachel Gartner is the Associate Director of In Your Shoes, a program sponsored by Georgetown’s Laboratory of Politics and Performance, and a Senior Advisor for Spiritual Care at Georgetown University. For ten years she served as Georgetown’s Director for Jewish Life. She is a member of the multifaith Faith-Based Advisory Committee for the DC Department of Corrections, and the co-author of Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing. Rabbi Gartner lives with her family in DC. She loves borscht especially when it is served with Latvian rye.

*Black Rooster Rye Bread and the book will be available for purchase after the event!