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2014-10-10 digital edition

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


October 10, 2014  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

Tampa Jewish Book Festival offers treats for all tastes

The 2014-15 Tampa Jewish Book Festival will kick off this month with talk of gangsters, sex, knishes, music and more.

The ninth annual Book Festival will get underway Thursday, Oct. 30, with a presentation by Sandra Lansky, the only daughter of legendary Mafia gangster Meyer Lansky, talking about her book, Daughter of the King: Growing up in Gangland.

Opening with six events in six days, events will continue into next spring. All events are open to the Tampa Bay community. Tickets for festival events can be purchased in advance at or at the door.

“People do not need to be book lovers or readers, but just someone who appreciates a compelling, entertaining and fun event that celebrates stories of Jews or written by Jews,” said Brandy Gold, Tampa JCC cultural arts director.

Featured authors in Tampa’s Jewish Book Festival are selected from approximately 250 authors of new books represented each year by the Jewish Book Council in New York City. The Council annually selects the top new books containing a Jewish theme or written by a Jewish author, as a means of supporting Jewish literature.

Meyer Lansky is shown with his sons, from left, Paul and Buddy, who had cerebral palsy; daughter Sandra and first wife Ana. When Buddy was diagnosed, Ana Lansky worried that God was punishing Meyer for his criminal ways. Meyer Lansky is shown with his sons, from left, Paul and Buddy, who had cerebral palsy; daughter Sandra and first wife Ana. When Buddy was diagnosed, Ana Lansky worried that God was punishing Meyer for his criminal ways. Growing up Gangland

On opening night, Thursday, Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m., Sandra Lansky will share her memories of the Gangland era. The audience will travel back in time with Lansky to the sounds and sights of New York City’s Copacabana night club, featuring impersonators of Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli and Tony Bennett.

Lansky’s story reads like a Hollywood movie. While Meyer Lansky built his illegal gambling empire, Sandra Lansky was raised as an upper class Jewish New Yorker in a sprawling apartment on Central Park West. Referred to as a “Mob Deb,” she often accompanied her father to fancy dinners where he met with her mob “uncles.” Lansky was the Paris Hilton of her day, partying until dawn and dating celebrities of the era, including Dean Martin.

Sandra Lansky Sandra Lansky Lansky’s presentation and book signing will be at the Carrollwood Cultural Center Art Studio, 4537 Lowell Road, Tampa. A complimentary cocktail will be offered and there will be a cash bar, hors d’oeuvres and desserts. Tickets are $10.

Delish knish

On Friday, Oct. 31 at noon the iconic Jewish potato pastry, the knish, will be the center of attention at a luncheon with award-winning author Laura Silver. She is the self-proclaimed world’s current leading expert on the knish and is author of Knish, In Search of the Jewish Soul Food.

Laura Silver Laura Silver From Mrs. Stahl’s Bakery in Brighton Beach Silver went on a hunt spanning three continents for an understanding of the pastry that has fed the soul of many a Jew.

The luncheon will be held at Maestro’s, atop the Jaeb Theatre at the downtown Tampa Straz Center, 1010 MacInnes Place. Tickets are $15 and include a buffet of soups, salads and knishes from Brooklyn Knish in Clearwater, plus a presentation about the history and significance of the knish and a book signing. An RSVP to would be appreciated for this event.

Sex After…

It will be Girl’s Night Out (men are welcome if they dare) on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 8 p.m. when New York Times best-selling author Iris Krasnow offers a candid and informative guide for women to enjoy a long and satisfying sex life. Krasnow is author of Sex After…Women Share How Intimacy Changes as Life Changes. Krasnow, as a writer for UPI, specialized in celebrity profiles, including Yoko Ono, Billy Graham, Ted Kennedy, Norman Mailer and Queen Noor of Jordan. She is author of six books.

Iris Krasnow Iris Krasnow Krasnow interviewed 150 women ages 20 through 90 for her book. “I did get socked with a few surprises,” she wrote in a Time magazine essay. “Topping that list were the similarities I found in the romances of single women in their 20s and single women in their 70s, and beyond: They share the thrill of discovering new relationships. They share a desire for sex to turn into emotional commitment. They share fears about STDs. And both young and older women share a profound interest in sexual pleasure.”

David Bernstein David Bernstein Her presentation and book signing will be at the Aqua restaurant at the Westin Tampa Bay, 2627 W. Courtney Campbell Causeway. Tickets are $10 and include a complimentary cocktail followed by a cash bar and hors d’oeuvres buffet.

Sip & Skype

There will be two book festival events on Sunday, Nov. 2. At 1 p.m., the festival’s popular Sip & Skype program will feature five-time Emmy award-winning Martin Fletcher, a well-known special correspondent with NBC and PBS, at the Tampa JCC and Federation, 13009 Community Campus Drive, Tampa. Tickets are $5 and include a Skype discussion with Fletcher from Israel about his second novel, Jacob’s Oath, a Holocaust story. The event will include wine and cheese refreshments. Gould said some people will find it helpful to read the books featured in the festival’s Sip & Skype events, but reading the book is not essential to enjoying those events.

Leil Liebovitz Leil Liebovitz Leonard Cohen profiler

On Sunday evening at 7, author Leil Liebovitz will present, along with musical talent from the Patel Conservatory, a portrait of poet and composer Leonard Cohen. Liebovitz’s book, A Broken Hallelujah, Rock and Roll, Redemption and the Life of Leonard Cohen, describes one of the more intriguing artists of our time, a powerful mixture of spirituality, desire, compassion and humor. At age 80, Cohen’s “Hallelujah” graced the top of the charts. Liebovitz, a writer for Tablet magazine and a teacher at New York University focusing on video game and interactive media research and theory, was granted access to Cohen’s private papers. Liebovitz delivers not a biography, but an intimate look at the inner Cohen from the rockand roll scene of the ’60s to the remote Zen monastery where Cohen spent his later years. The event will be held at the Jaeb Theatre at the Straz Center, 1010 MacInnes Place, Tampa. Tickets are $10 and will include a dessert reception and a book signing.

Martin Fletcher Martin Fletcher Well aged

Wrapping up the parade of opening events will be a presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 4 at 3:30 p.m. by local author and physician, David Bernstein, MD. He will talk about his book, I’ve Got Some Good News and Some Bad News: You’re Old. Bernstein offers tales from his geriatric practice and advice on how to experience aging with grace and wisdom. Bernstein’s talk is at the Tampa JCC &Federation and will include a spa treatment and anti-aging refreshments. The event is free.

* * *

For more information about any of the festival events, contact Brandy Gold at (813) 769-4725 or email her at

The Tampa law firm of Shutts & Bowen is the Jewish Book Festival’s presenting sponsor. Other sponsorships can be obtained by contacting Gold.

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