Bookfair Turns 50!

Now in its 50th year, the Columbus Jewish Bookfair continues to bring new authors, new ideas, and a variety of events, extending all the way into April, to the Columbus Jewish community. Bookfair chair Jill Eisenberg is excited to lead Bookfair, one of the state’s longest-running book fairs, into its 50th year.

“We’re putting together lots of vibrant, engaging events that’ll bring all the different spectrums of the community together. These are events that people will really enjoy doing, events where they aren’t just sitting and listening,” said Eisenberg.

Eisenberg, who has been involved with the Bookfair committee for the past two years, is eager to bring interactive events to all segments of the Columbus Jewish community. “We’re trying to build these trans-generational events that will bring everybody in to have fun,” she added.

One of the events Eisenberg is most looking forward to should interest anyone who bleeds scarlet and gray. Kicking things off will be local author Bill Rabinowitz, Columbus Dispatch sports writer and author of Buckeye Rebirth: Urban Meyer, an Inspired Team, and a New Era at Ohio State. Rabinowitz will delight audiences with his insider’s look at Buckeye football in the Urban Meyer era at a brunch on Sunday, October 13, at 10 am at the JCC.

To honor the contributions individuals have made to Bookfair over the past 50 years, Hadassah is sponsoring a dinner and author discussion on Monday, October 14, at 7 pm at the JCC. B.A. Shapiro will share her work The Art Forger, which takes place almost 25 years after the infamous art theft at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. This heist mystery is based on the true events surrounding the largest unsolved art crime in history.

For the kids, It’s a Mitzvah, Grover by Ellen Fischer, will be an opportunity for a fun story time centered on learning all about mitzvot. Hands-on activities, mitzvah projects, and a sing-along with Marc Rossio will be part of this special Tot Shabbat on Friday, October 18, at 11:15 am at the JCC.

Author David Nirenberg will discuss his work, Anti-Judaism, on Sunday, October 20, at 11 am at the JCC. The powerful history explores how Judaism’s prominence in many cultures has been fundamental to other religions’ visions of the world. An expert on relations between Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, David Nirenberg is the Jannotta Professor of History and Social Thought at the University of Chicago.

The JCC’s New Albany campus will host the 4th Annual Bookclub Night with author Francesca Segal on Tuesday, October 22, at 7 pm. Segal will discuss her work, The Innocents. A novel that brings humor and insights on modern life and the social rules of the Jewish community, The Innocents is a gently satiric look at manners for the 21st century. A contemporary recasting of Edith Wharton’s classic novel The Age of Innocence, Segal’s debut portrays modern-day Jewish life with both wit and empathy. The Innocents won the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction in 2013, as well as the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature.

Nicki Bloch captures the inner-life of five women trying to find themselves in her nontraditional narrative, Women of the Metro Ballet. Bloch, who studied dance in her youth and now transports her two daughters to and from dance classes in Bexley, is a co-president of the Columbus section of the National Council of Jewish Women. She will join us for a discussion of her book and growing up Jewish and female in today’s often-hectic world, on Thursday, October 24, at 7 pm at the JCC. Bloch will also be a part of the Bookfair’s Local Author Expo, which will take place at the JCC on Sunday, October 27, at 11 am.

Rounding out 2013, on Tuesday, October 29, at 7 pm, Edward Farber will talk about his book, Raising the Kid You Love With the Ex You Hate, which gives powerful advice for divorcing couples about how they can reduce conflict and protect their children’s well-being through co-parenting. Dr. Farber is a licensed clinical psychologist in Virginia and Maryland and founded the Reston Psychological Center and Reston Family Center.

More events are planned for 2014, including a fun look at the fashion industry with Andrea Pomerantz Lustig’s discussion of her work, How to Look Expensive: A Beauty Editor’s Secrets to Getting Gorgeous without Breaking the Bank. On Thursday, February 6, 2014, at 7 pm at the JCC, audiences will learn how to look gorgeous on any salary. Andrea Pomerantz Lustig is known around the offices of Glamour as the “Beauty Sleuth,” due to the popular beauty column and articles she wrote for the magazine for the last decade. Prior to Glamour, she was editor-in-chief at Sephora.com and spent 10 years as beauty and fitness director at Cosmopolitan.

Then, on Thursday, March 20, 2014, at 7 pm at the JCC, author Jessica Soffer will discuss her work, Tomorrow There Will be Apricots. In it, two women meet and bond over their shared love of cooking before realizing their connection to each other. Soffer’s poignant novel of two women in New York, a widow and an almost-orphan, is a story of love, loss, and redemption. Jessica Soffer was a founding editor of The Tottenville Review and her work has appeared in the New York Times, Vogue, and Granta, among other publications.

June Hersh, a passionate home cook and twice published cookbook author, will bring her uplifting look at the recipes of more than 80 Holocaust survivors when she comes to the JCC to showcase Recipes Remembered: A Celebration of Survival on Thursday, April 24, 2014, at 7 pm. These recipes become life-affirming stories that focus on hope, faith and bashert. Easy-to-follow, fully-tested recipes—some classic and some wholly unexpected—represent the full gamut of Jewish cuisine from Ashkenazi to Sephardic traditions.

The Columbus Jewish Bookfair began 50 years ago as a celebration of Jewish Book Month. In 1963, the culminating event of Jewish Book Month, which began on November 8 and extended to December 8, was a Sunday, December 1 Bookfair. The first Bookfair took place over a single day, bringing together hundreds of books and dozens of community organizations to promote well-stocked Jewish libraries in every Jewish home. Various booths displayed books for purchase in many different categories, from Jewish philosophy and Zionism to cultural arts and Yiddish to children’s books, poetry, and fiction.

The Bookfair bookstore opens in the JCC lobby on Sunday, October 13, and will be open during the JCC’s regular hours of operation. For $30, a Bookfair Pass may be purchased for access to all 11 of the 2013-14 events. Admission to individual Bookfair events costs $10/nonmembers and $8/members. Dinners require an additional fee and RSVP. Contact Cheryl Dritz at cdritz@columbusjcc.org to RSVP or call 614-231-2731 to learn more.