64th Annual Jewish Book Fair

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Wednesday, November 4

8 p.m. – Dennis Ross – “Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama”

An unprecedented account of America’s changing relationship with Israel, Doomed to Succeed takes readers through every administration from Truman to Obama, offering insight into each president’s attitude toward Israel and the region, the often tumultuous debates between key advisers and the events that drove the policies.


Thursday, November 5

12 p.m. – Aviya Kushner – “The Grammar of God” (Lunch & Learn)

Aviya Kushner grew up reading the Bible in the original Hebrew and debating its meaning at the dinner table. So while studying for her MFA, she was surprised to learn that she could barely recognize the text. From differences in the Ten Commandments to a less ambiguous reading of the Creation story, the English translation often felt like another book. In this eye-opening chronicle, Kushner illustrates how differences in translation affect our understanding of the Bible.

2 p.m. – Book Fair Preview Panel

Too many great authors to pick from at the Book Fair? Don’t know which new books to purchase? Join us as some of our favorite literary experts and book club facilitators provide insight. Hear their take and opinions, share yours and then browse and shop!

5 p.m. – Jay Hack (Happy Hour)

6 p.m. – Jay Hack – “The Steady Climb: A Family Journey from Mountain to Markets” (Author presentation in The Berman)

Like mountain climbing, long-term investing is a journey with no shortcuts to success. But the right tools can help anyone learn to make smart decisions. In “The Steady Climb,” former NEXTGen President Jay Hack, financial advisor with Raymond James & Associates and mountain-climbing guide, shares a philosophy of wealth management based on the wisdom of history’s greatest investors – a philosophy that applies to much more than investing. Learn why taking the long-term approach isn’t always easy emotionally, but the results of being slow and steady are well worth the challenges.

8 p.m. – Dana Nessel – “Then Comes Marriage: United States v. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA” (by Roberta Kaplan)

Dana Nessel, managing partner of Nessel & Kessel Law in Detroit, is one of the premier litigators of LGBT issues in Michigan. Ms. Nessel will discuss the landmark work that forms the basis of Roberta Kaplan’s book, talk about her current cases, and provide an update on where LGBT issues currently stand in Michigan.


Friday, November 6 - Health Awareness Day

10 a.m. – Rebecca Alexander – “Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found”

Born with a rare genetic mutation, Rebecca Alexander has been simultaneously losing her sight and hearing since she was a child. When she was 18, a fall from a window left her body shattered. Yet Alexander refused to lose her drive, her zest for life and her sense of humor.

11:30 a.m. – Jessica Fechtor – “Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals That Brought Me Home”

Jessica Fechtor was 28, happily immersed in graduate school and her marriage and thinking about starting a family. Then she went for a run and an aneurysm burst in her brain. Jessica’s journey to recovery began in the kitchen, where she drew strength from the restorative power of cooking and baking. 


 1 p.m. – Dr. Richard P. Jacoby – “Sugar Crush: How to Reduce Inflammation, Reverse Nerve Damage, and Reclaim Good Health”

“Sugar Crush” exposes the truth about how a diet high in sugar, processed carbohydrates and wheat compresses and damages the peripheral nerves in the body, leading to pain, numbness, migraines, gall bladder disease and diabetes.


Saturday, November 7 - Comedy Night

8 p.m. – Dani Klein Modisett – “Take My Spouse, Please: How to Keep Your Marriage Happy, Healthy, and Thriving by Following the Rules of Comedy”

In love, as in comedy, timing is every- thing. And one bad night doesn’t mean it’s time to quit. With her trademark humor and sharp, yet reverent tone, writer and comedian Dani Klein Modisett shares a map for navigating marriage through rough patches, bad jokes and even nights when you bomb.


Sunday, November 8

10 a.m. - Noon: Read in Detroit

Please join us as we pay tribute to local authors

Gabriella Berman: "Michaela"

Tracey Cohen: "Six-Word Lessons on Femaile Asperger Syndrome"

Edith Covensky: presenting “Under a Silky Sky: The Symbolist Poetry of Edith Covensky, by Yair Mazor”

G. Aimee Ergas: “Michigan Women Who Made a Difference: Builders of the Detroit Jewish Community”

Nancy Fishman: “Eight Lessons I Learned in the Corners of the Field”

Julie Hauser: “When I Check on You at Night” Beth Rodgers: “Freshman Fourteen”

Linda Rosenbaum: “Not Exactly As Planned: A Memoir of Adoption, Secrets and Abiding Love”

Judi Schram: “Lights Out in the Attic”

Michelle Segar: “No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness”

Stephanie Steinberg: In the Name of Editorial Freedom: 125 Years at the Michigan Daily”

Dave Usher, Berl Falbaum: “Music is Forever: Dizzy Gillespie, the Jazz Legend and Me”

11 a.m. – Joshua Braff – “The Daddy Diaries”

Meet Jay and Jackie. Jay is an aspiring author who is now – ouch – Mr. Mom. His wife is starting a high-paying new job. They have a troubled 13-year-old son and a precocious daughter, and then there’s Jay’s narcissistic older brother and lunatic childhood friend. Joshua Braff’s third novel is a funny, poignant take on contemporary fatherhood and changing marital roles. It’s also the story of one man who must tap into his own vulnerabilities to learn how to be the rock of stability his family desperately needs.

1 p.m. – “Green Golly and her Golden Flute” (Family Program)

Unlike Rapunzel, tower-trapped Green Golly is so inspired by life she can’t help but make music. She loves playing her flute and uses courage and creativity to meet whatever comes her way. This Parents’ Choice Gold Award-winning performance features Barbara Siesel as Green Golly and actor-storyteller-songwriter Keith Torgan as everyone else in a touching, funny story about overcoming life’s challenges.

2 p.m. – Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg – “A Perfect God Created An Imperfect World Perfectly: 30 Life Lessons from Kids Kicking Cancer”

People magazine “Hero Among Us” and Top Ten CNN Hero Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg, a clinical assistant professor at Wayne State University School of Medicine, is founder and director of Kids Kicking Cancer, which uses martial arts to help boys and girls, some as young as two, learn how to manage the stress, fear and anxiety that accompanies their disease. This book also includes a one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience some of the methods that benefit children in the program.

4 p.m. – Peter Manseau – “One Nation, Under Gods: A New American History”

In “One Nation, Under Gods,” Peter Manseau offers a spellbinding look at U.S. history. His conclusion: Christians held political and economic power, but “A society is always shaped not only from the top down but the bottom up. We take for granted that other parts of culture – music, literature, art – are influenced from the margins … the same is true of belief.” Many of those “on the margins” were Jewish, including seamen traveling with Columbus and the physician nearly murdered for supposed blasphemy.

6 p.m. – Dan Ephron – “Killing a King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel” (Irwin Shaw Night)

Dan Ephron relates the parallel stories of Rabin and his killer, Yigal Amir, over the two years leading up to the assassination. Based on new documents and interviews with members of Amir’s family, the book provides revealing details about the murderer, a student and activist just 25 years old. It also explains how only through a prism of the assassination is it possible to understand Israel today.

8 p.m. – Michael Bar-Zohar – “No Mission Is Impossible: The Death-Defying Missions of the Israeli Special Forces”

A spellbinding follow-up to the best-selling Mossad, this gripping narrative takes readers on the ground, in the air and at sea with Israel Defense Force operatives and behind closed doors with high-level tacticians and decision makers. “No Mission Is Impossible” chronicles the major battles, retaliation raids and commando missions that have ended with decisive victories and painful failures.


Monday, November 9 - Kristallnacht Commemoration Day

11 a.m. - Barbara Stark-Nemon - "Even In Darkness: A Novel"

Based on a true story spanning one century and three continents, “Even in Darkness” traces the life of Klare Kohler, a German Jew who brought passionate resilience to the Nazis’ destruction of her beloved world. This is the extraordinary saga of family, a lover, two world wars and a concentration camp, all of which shaped the unconventional life Klare built in post-war Germany.

2 p.m. – Sarah Wildman – “Paper Love: Searching for the Girl My Grandfather Left Behind”

Years after her grandfather’s death, Sarah Wildman stumbled across a box of his letters in a file labeled “Correspondence: Patients A-G.” One set of letters stood out, yet the name was completely unfamiliar. The writer was “Valy,” Valerie Scheftel.

Who was Valy? This simple question took Wildman on a search that lasted for years and spanned continents and whose ultimate answer she could never have imagined.

4 p.m. – Dina Gold – “Stolen Legacy: Nazi Theft and the Quest for Justice at Krausenstrasse 17/18, Berlin”

A building with many windows and bearing a kind of heavy elegance, Krausenstrasse 17/18 in Berlin has a curious story to tell. It was built in 1910 by the Wolffs, a Jewish family, and served for many years as one of the city’s most successful fur stores. In 1937, the business was forced into foreclosure by the Victoria Insurance Company and ownership transferred to the Reichsbahn, the Nazi railway that would transport millions of Jews to their deaths.

And after the war? It was in the Soviet zone, two blocks beyond Checkpoint Charlie, and had become the headquarters of the East German Railways. When the Wall came down in 1989, Dina Gold, a Wolff descendant, remembered her grandmother’s stories about the family’s fur business. Did the building belong to them still? There was no proof of ownership. But there was Dina.

8 p.m. – Rita Gabis – “A Guest at the Shooter’s Banquet: My Grandfather’s SS Past, My Jewish Family, a Search for the Truth”

Rita Gabis’ family background is filled with Eastern European Jews and Lithuanian Catholics, including a Catholic grandfather with whom she was very close. As a little girl, Rita was mesmerized by his stories of how he fought the Russians and their occupation of Lithuania.

Rita’s grandfather also was a man of secrets, and Rita Gabis learned that he had a very different responsibility than fighting the Russians. Gabis set out to learn the complicated truth of who her grandfather really was and what he had done.


Tuesday, November 10

11 a.m. – Shulem Deen – “All Who Go Do Not Return: A Memoir”

Shulem Deen was raised to believe that questions are dangerous. As a member of the Skverers, one of the most insular Hasidic sects, he knew little about the outside world – only that it was to be shunned. His marriage at 18 was arranged, and several children soon followed.

Deen’s first transgression – turning on the radio – was small, but soon he began a feverish inquiry into the tenets of his religious beliefs, until, several years later, his faith unraveled entirely. His relationship with his family at stake, he was forced into a life of deception and he began a long struggle to hold on to those he loves most: his five children.


2 p.m. – Emily Liebert – “Those Secrets We Keep” (Tea & Fiction)

On the surface, Sloane has the perfect life – an adoring husband, a precocious daughter and enough financial security to be a stay-at-home mom. Still, she can’t help but feel as though something is missing.

Hillary has a successful career and a solid marriage. The only problem is her inability to conceive – and there’s a reason for that.

As the wild-child daughter of old family money, Georgina has never had to accept responsibility for anything. So when she realizes an unexpected life change could tie her down, she does exactly what she’s always done: escape.

When the three women unite for a vacation in New York, Sloane, Hillary and Georgina quickly discover that no secret can be kept forever.

5 p.m. – Dion Nissenbaum – “A Street Divided: Stories from Jerusalem’s Alley of God”

Arabs called it al Mantiqa Haram, and Jews knew it as shetach hefker. Both translate to “the forbidden area,” and it referred to the no-man’s land that, for many years, separated Israel and Jordan.

Wall Street Journal reporter Dion Nissenbaum has written a compelling collection of stories that explore the history of a small piece of land and consider how two very different groups live – or do not live – together.


7 p.m. – Pam Jenoff – “The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach” (Book Club Night; Meet & Greet and Dessert Reception)

Adelia Montforte flees fascist Italy for America, where she is whisked away by her well-meaning aunt and uncle. Here, she falls for Charlie Connally, the eldest of the four Irish-Catholic boys next door. But all hopes for a future together are throttled by the war and a tragedy that hits much closer to home.


Wednesday, November 11

10 a.m. – Henry Gornbein – “Divorce Demystified: Everything You Need To Know Before You File for Divorce”

Divorce invariably comes with complications. Some of these, like what’s best for the children and how to manage property, are obvious. But there are many issues that most people may not even consider, or that can leave them overwhelmed.


11 a.m. – Hannah Nordhaus – “American Ghost: A Family’s Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest”

The ghost made its first appearance near a fireplace at La Posada, formerly a private home and now one of Santa Fe’s most elegant hotels. Soon afterward, vases filled with flowers began appearing in unexpected places, glasses started flying off shelves and guests reported that their blankets were ripped off in the middle of the night.

The ghost was said to be that of Julia Schuster Staab, who died in 1896 and was the wife of the home’s original owner. Almost 120 years later, Julia’s great- great-granddaughter, Hannah Nordhaus, has written the true account of her ancestor’s life, death and unsettled afterlife.

2 p.m. – Daniel M. Cohen – “Single Handed: The Inspiring True Story of Tibor “Teddy” Rubin – Holocaust Survivor, Korean War Hero, and Medal of Honor Recipient”

In 2005, 76-year-old Tibor “Teddy” Rubin received the Medal of Honor from President George W. Bush, becoming the only Holocaust survivor to earn America’s highest military distinction. In “Single Handed,” Daniel M. Cohen tells the true story of this remarkable man whose life began as the son of a shoemaker in Paszto, Hungary. 

6 p.m. – David Maraniss – “Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story” (Patron Night)

It’s 1963 and Detroit is on top of the world, guided by visionaries like Walter Reuther, Berry Gordy, Gov. George Romney and Lee Iacocca. Yet already, the shadows of collapse are evident. Before the riots, before the civic corruption and neglect, before people trotted out the grab bag of infirmities (from harsh weather to competition from abroad) to explain Detroit’s collapse, one could see the signs of a city’s ruin.

Following the author talkback, Book Fair patrons are invited to a dinner reception and private book signing in Marion & David Handleman Hall


Thursday, November 12

10 a.m. – Victoria Aarons – “The New Diaspora: The Changing Landscape of American Jewish Fiction”

Rebecca Goldstein, Nathan Englander, Jonathan Safran Foer, Dara Horn, Julie Orringer and Joseph Skibell are a handful of authors shaping Jewish literature today and whose works are included is this collection of award-winning writing.

There are 36 stories and chapters from books that originated in Cuba, South Africa, Hungary, Egypt, France and Russia, as well as America. All reflect the myriad interests of and literary forms that characterize the Jewish experience.


Talia Carner – “Hotel Moscow: A Novel”

Brooke Fielding is a 38-year-old investment manager and the daughter of Holocaust survivors whose life takes an extraordinary turn when she accepts an invitation to teach in Moscow. Brooke is excited by the opportunity to be one of the first Americans to visit Russia after the fall of communism. But as the former Soviet Union is turned into a war zone, Brooke finds herself in a terrible world where neighbors spy on neighbors and the new economy is in the hands of a few dangerous men. As a foreigner, Brooke cannot go unnoticed – and a mistake in her past may compromise her future.

Jessamyn Hope – “Safekeeping: A Novel”

At the heart of this extraordinary new novel is a sapphire brooch forged in a medieval ghetto and carrying a perilous backstory spanning three continents and seven centuries.

In 1994, a drug addict named Adam arrives with the priceless brooch at Kibbutz Sadot Hadar in Israel. To redress a crime, he must give the heirloom to a woman his grandfather loved when, 50 years earlier, he wasa refugee on this same kibbutz. But finding the mystery woman proves more complicated than expected. At the same time, Adam is facing a challenge of a very different sort: he is about to meet up with other damaged souls all trying to turn their lives around.

3 p.m. – Jo Ivester – “The Outskirts of Hope: A Memoir of the 1960s Deep South”

Jo Ivester was ten years old when, in 1967, her Jewish family moved from a Boston suburb to a small, all-black town in the heart of Mississippi, where Jo’s father, Leon Kruger, would be director of a medical clinic and her mother, Aura, would be a high school English teacher. The move, Aura told her children, was going to be a great adventure.

5:30 p.m. – Mike Wien – “The Specific Edge: How Sustained Effort Wins in Business and Life” (Happy Hour)

Who hasn’t given up on a dream because, “I’m just not lucky” or “I’m not talented enough” or “I don’t seem to have the magic formula”?

“The Specific Edge” is a blueprint that shows how anyone can become a winner. A marketing expert with Pepsi, Frito-Lay, Citibank and Deloitte, as well as a competitor in the Ironman Triathlon World Championship, Mike Wien explains how success has nothing to do with luck, but is instead a combination of concentration, discipline and endurance.

In his presentation, Wien will provide tips on how to discover your specific edge, outsmart your competitors, improve your performance and win in business and life.

8 p.m. – Anthony David – “An Improbable Friendship: The Remarkable Lives of Israeli Ruth Dayan and Palestinian Raymonda Tawil and Their 40-Year Mission to Build Understanding Between Their Peoples

One woman became the mother-in-law of Israel’s most notorious enemy. The other was married to Israel’s top military leader.

The two women met soon after the Six-Day War and, incredibly enough, became close friends.

Award-winning author Anthony David delivers a fast-paced, fascinating and revealing dual biography of Moshe Dayan’s widow, Ruth, who lives in Tel Aviv, and Yasser Arafat’s mother-in-law, Raymonda Tawil, of Malta.


Friday, November 13

10 a.m. – Max and Eli Sussman – “Classic Recipes for Modern People” (Cooking Demonstration and Tasting)

Chef brothers and Huntington Woods natives Max and Eli Sussman are back with their fourth cookbook, “Classic Recipes for Modern People,” featuring more than 75 recipes that reimagine favorite dishes from childhood, accompanied by plenty of humor to spice things up along the way.

“Classics Recipes” includes dishes that have been reinvented, rejiggered, reordered and recreated by the Sussmans, who believe that recipes should be easy-to-make, ever expanding and evolving, a philosophy they practice in their professional and home kitchens. Max is chef de cuisine at Roberta’s, and Eli works as a line cook at Mile End Delicatessen, both in Brooklyn.

1 p.m. – Film – “Life as a Rumor”

Assi Dayan (1945-2014), was one of Israel’s leading actors and directors, a man who experienced first-hand Israel’s major political and cultural challenges.

“Life as a Rumor” is a documentary about this remarkable man, the son of Gen. Moshe Dayan, who not only saw behind the scenes of Israel’s most epic events but had much to say about them in the daring films he made. Born with the country, his tumultuous life and the narrative of the nation both merge and clash with one another.


Saturday, November 14

8 p.m. – Steve Katz – “Blood, Sweat, and My Rock ‘n’ Roll Years: Is Steve Katz a Rock Star?” (Concert and Talk)

In 1970, it didn’t get any better than Blood, Sweat and Tears. The group won Best Album of the Year (beating the Beatles and Johnny Cash) and had three major hits, including “And When I Die.”

Among the band’s founders was Steve Katz, who also wrote many of the group’s songs, played guitar and sang. Katz came to BS&T after a career that included performing with the Blues Project (notably at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival) and would extend, by 1982, to producing for Lou Reed.


Sunday, November 15

10 a.m. – Joseph Skibell – “My Father’s Guitar and Other Imaginary Things” (held in the Janice Charach Gallery)

Was it a trick when Joseph Skibell’s father offered his son a beautiful guitar – then delivered a not-so-beautiful one? Could it be that the telemarketer calling at dinnertime (of course) has no interest in your money, but is instead in search of a Utopian world? Can a father really have any say-so over his daughter’s private life?

Joseph Skibell ponders these and other bewildering questions in “My Father’s Guitar,” a collection of stories about the little annoyances, fantasies and delusions that make us who we are. In his first work of non-fiction, the award-winning Skibell presents insightful essays that are a bit quirky, charming and disarmingly funny.

11:30 a.m. – Steven Gimbel – “Einstein: His Space and Times”

Everyone knows Einstein, the eccentric genius – the man so absentminded he forgot to wear socks and so brilliant his ideas changed the world.

Einstein also was a man of his times, politically engaged and driven by strong moral principles. An avowed pacifist, he was mistrustful of authority and outspoken on social and moral issues.

In his revealing new book, Steven Gimbel explains how Einstein saw science not only as a means for understanding the behavior of the universe but as a foundation for considering the deeper questions of life and a way for the Jewish community to gain pride and confidence.

12:30 p.m. – Rabbi Arthur Green – “Judaism’s 10 Best Ideas: A Brief Guide For Seekers” (Lunch & Learn)

Have you ever wondered, “Why be Jewish?” “Is this a legacy really worth preserving?” “Is Judaism relevant to my life?”

In his new book, the engaging Rabbi Art Green presents the ideas in Judaism that kept him loyal to the tradition. There are no lectures here; instead, Rabbi Green – named to Newsweek’s list of Top 50 Influential Rabbis in America every year since 2008 – writes with warmth and humor and uses stories to explain the beauty and relevance of religion.


1 p.m. – Todd Parr (Family Program)

Todd Parr is a fantastic children’s author just as fun and full of whimsy as the books he creates, leading to 16,000 followers giving him the thumbs-up on Facebook. If you’ve ever wondered about the density of black holes or the household uses of mac ’n’ cheese, Todd is ready to be your new guru.

2 p.m. – Gil Troy – “The Age of Clinton: America in the 1990s”

It was the best of times or the worst of times. Or perhaps a bit of both.

The 1990s were the Age of Clinton, says author Gil Troy. It was a decade of astonishing technological and cultural change that shaped and were shaped by the president. It was a decade of a leader – and his wife – who personified the country’s noble aspirations, its achievements and missed opportunities and its embarrassing excesses.

Offering an insightful look at both the Clintons and the transformative 1990s, “The Age of Clinton” takes readers on a wild ride from the New York of “Rent” to Beverly Hills 90210, from Oprah Winfrey to Newt Gingrich, from Bill Gates to Kurt Cobain and from Harry Potter to America’s changing relationship with Israel.

4 p.m. – Tess Gerritsen – “Playing With Fire” (Book Fair Closing Event)

A gripping new thriller by New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen (famous for her “Rizzoli and Isles” series), “Playing with Fire” begins in an antiques shop in Rome, where violinist Julia Ansdell discovers a piece of music called Incendio. Full of passion, torment and chilling beauty, this mournful waltz is seemingly unknown to the world.

Back home in Boston, Julia decides to play the mysterious melody. But from the moment her bow touches the string, something strange is stirred: Whenever she hears the music, Julia’s daughter suddenly seems violently transformed.

Convinced that the hypnotic strains of “Incendio” are weaving a spell, Julia sets out to discover the meaning behind the score – a journey that will take her back to Germany’s darkest hour and a young Jewish man in love.

Detroit will be one of only two stops nationwide where award-winning violinist Yi-Jia Susanne Hou will join Tess Gerritsen on stage for a live performance of “Incendio.”

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