Click here for PDF Edition

2016-10-07 digital edition

TODAY in the Jewish World:

Click on logo for link:

Click on logo for link:

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 7, 2016  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

Jewish book festival has wide-ranging lineup

Speakers at Tampa’s upcoming Festival of Jewish Books will include (L-R): children’s book author Shoshana Banana; David Kushner, a former Tampa resident; foodie Ina Yalof; Jason, Gewirtz, a CNBC executive producer; Kim Friedman and her blogger daughter Kate Siegel. Speakers at Tampa’s upcoming Festival of Jewish Books will include (L-R): children’s book author Shoshana Banana; David Kushner, a former Tampa resident; foodie Ina Yalof; Jason, Gewirtz, a CNBC executive producer; Kim Friedman and her blogger daughter Kate Siegel. Humor, intrigue, food, murder, parenting, Jewish mothers, love, personal achievements and tribulations – all of that and more are included in the lineup of books and authors (including four from Tampa) featured in Tampa’s 11th Festival of Jewish Books & Conversations that runs Nov. 3-13.

The festival will include 12 presenters at eight events, all open to the public, with most held at the Tampa Jewish Community Center on the Cohn Campus, 13009 Community Campus Drive, Tampa. Reservations are encouraged and can be made at or at the door. All programs will conclude with a book signing by the author.

Author Betsy Lerner, second from right, playing with the “Bridge Ladies,” the subjects of her book Author Betsy Lerner, second from right, playing with the “Bridge Ladies,” the subjects of her book Featured authors in the Jewish Festival of Books & Conversations 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 and promoting Jewish literature.

JCC Cultural Arts Director Brandy Gold emphasizes the festival is planned with broad appeal. “(Attendees) do not need to be book lovers or readers, nor do they have had to read the featured book,” she said. “Every year our Jewish Book Festival Committee, led by Debbie Doliner and Barbara Manners, selects exciting, top authors and presents them in compelling, entertaining and fun events celebrating Jewish authors and Jewish literature.”

Ina Yalof’s book on display at Zabar’s caviar counter. Ina Yalof’s book on display at Zabar’s caviar counter. Opening night

The festival begins Thursday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Cohn campus with a mother-daughter combo. No surprise, it features a book about a Jewish mother, written by her Jewish daughter. Author Kate Siegel’s book, Mother, Can You Not? draws humor from the delicate mother-child dynamic.

“Who else,” Siegel asks, “can proudly insist that you’re perfect while simultaneously making you question every career, fashion and relationship decision you have ever made?”

Siegel’s mom is Kim Friedman, a popular producer of primetime television, and she will be on hand for the event as well.

Siegel is the social media guru behind the popular Instagram account, @CrazyJewishMom, which has more than 850,000 followers. She has been featured on BuzzFeed, Elite Daily, The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan,, Vogue, People, Nightline and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Children’s author Shoshana Banana doing a reading of her book, “Family Ties,” at a Solomon Schechter school in Queens. 
Photo by Ariela Silberman Children’s author Shoshana Banana doing a reading of her book, “Family Ties,” at a Solomon Schechter school in Queens. Photo by Ariela Silberman Friedman, the inspiration for her daughter’s blog and book, is an Emmy nominated director of Beverly Hills 90210, Star Trek Voyage, Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Square Pegs and Lizzie McGuire. She is also a distinguished theater director, with two Obie nominations and two Los Angeles Drama Critics Awards

The mother-daughter duo will pay humorous tribute to, and lovingly lampoon, Jewish mothers everywhere, including embarrassing moments, outrageous stories and hilarious celebrations. Tickets are $12 and include cocktails and hors d’oeuvres buffet with entertainment provided by the Treble Clefs.

Norine Dworkin-McDaniel Norine Dworkin-McDaniel At the game table

Betsy Lerner, author of The Bridge Ladies, will be the featured writer at a luncheon on Friday, Nov. 4 at 11:30 a.m. at Seasons 52, 204 N. Westshore Blvd., Tampa. The topic will be “Sharing Secrets and Stories Around the Game Table.”

Lerner writes about her mother, who has played bridge with the same four Jewish women for 50 years. It is not until Lerner returned home to help her mother recover from surgery that she became curious about the women who had become center to her mother’s life. Lerner takes up bridge and comes to know the personal stories and secrets of her mother’s bridge friends and their steady diet of criticism, consternation, heartaches and love, all fueled by a vast generational divide. Lerner is also the author of The Forest for the Trees and Food and Loathing and is an award-winning poet. After working as an editor for 15 years, she is now a literary agent residing in Connecticut.

Author David Kushner and his older brother, Jonathan, who was murdered on his way to a Carrollwood convenience story in 1973. Author David Kushner and his older brother, Jonathan, who was murdered on his way to a Carrollwood convenience story in 1973. Tickets for this luncheon event are $26 and reservations will be limited to the first 70 responses. A vegetarian or fish entrée choice will be available to select at the time of reservation.

Foodie/date night

Ina Yalof, author of Food and the City – New York’s Professional Chefs, Restaurateurs, Line Cooks, Street Vendors and Purveyors Talk About What They Do and Why They Do It, will be the guest at a dinner on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. at the JCC on the Cohn Campus. Tickets are $15 and will include food tastings of a variety of New York City foods, including a shipment directly from Zabar’s deli.

Yalof’s book takes readers on an insider’s journey into New York’s pulsating food scene. She includes such greats as: Dominique Ansel, who created the cronut; Ghaya Oliveira, who arrived in NYC as a stockbroker but changed trajectories to become an executive pastry chef, and restaurateur Eddie Schoenfeld’s rise as the indisputable Chinese food maven. The New York Times called the book, “a compelling volume by a writer whose beat is not food. What she offers are first-person accounts for more than 50 individuals behind” the city’s food scene. She says what they all have in common are “ Grit, guts, perseverance and above all, a passion for food. Without it, you may as well become a dentist.”

Yalof’s other books include Life and Death: The Story of a Hospital, What It Means to Be Jewish, How I Write and What Happy Women Know. She lives – and eats – in New York City.

Keeping it local

A panel of four local authors will be featured on Sunday, Nov. 6, at 10:30 a.m. at the Cohn Campus. Their topic will be “Stories: Living Them, Telling Them.”

The panel includes: Iris Pastor, author of Slices, Bites and Other Facts of Life; Richard Cohen 20@60 – A Baby Boomer’s Run Across the U.S.; Alyce Gross, Widow-Wise, and Golda Brunhild, The Cantor Sang Off-Key. Tickets are $10 and include a brunch buffet. The authors, all residents of Tampa, will each talk about their books, their writing process and their lives as an author. Pastor, Cohen and Gross have each written books reflecting experiences in their own lives. Brunhild will reflect on her many books of historical fiction.

Pastor, the panel moderator and fellow panelist, is an author, columnist, Huffington Post blogger, and speaker. Her columns occasionally appear in the Jewish Press. Pastor’s book is a collection of her early newspaper columns. She is soon to publish her second book, Tales of a Bulimic Baby Boomer.

Cohen‘s book is his story about running across the U.S.: 2350 miles, 20 miles a day, 5 million steps, 600 hours of running, for 119 days, using 48 pairs of socks and 8 pairs of shoes. His physical, psychological and visual experiences are shared as he runs to heal from the loss of his business in the 2008 economic downturn and to fulfill a long-held dream.

Gross tells her story of living and raising her family in Youngstown, OH, along with two of her Jewish friends, all of whom find themselves in later years as widows. Gross says she and her friends are “not famous, not powerful, not rich but just among the rest of us.”

Brunhild describes her latest book: “A well-respected cantor finds herself thrown into a tangled web of personalities and the underworld at Temple Beth Shalom. High Holidays at your place of worship never culminated in drama like this.” She is about to publish her sixth book and considers herself “one of the most fortunate people” she knows.

PJ Library pogram

Children’s Author Shoshana Banana will be featured at this PJ Library children’s program on Sunday, Nov. 6 from 1-3 p.m. at the JCC on the Cohn Campus. The program is free and appropriate for children ages 5-12. They are invited to come dressed in their favorite blue jeans for the author’s presentation on her book, Levi & Aya, and lunch. The activities will take children back in time to the Wild West, where a young Levi Strauss builds his family business into a cornerstone of the multicultural boom town of San Francisco, and a sweet “Jewpanese” love story unfolds. This is a drop off event.

The New York-based writer’s previous Jewish-themed children’s book, Family Ties, celebrates both the diversity of Jews around the world and our commonality.

Dinner and the IDF

Jason Gewirtz, author of Israel’s Edge: The Story of the IDF’s Most Elite Unit, the Talpiot, will be the featured guest at an Israeli buffet dinner on Sunday, Nov. 6 at 6 p.m. at the JCC on the Cohn Campus. Tickets are $12. Gewirtz is an executive producer at the business news network CNBC. He produces Power Lunch as well as additional special programming and has covered Israel for CNBC and NBC. In the book, Gewirtz, who has volunteered extensively in Israel, explores how the most elite Talpiot unit of the Israel Defense Forces are taught “how to think,” instead of focusing on fighting. They are required to enlist for at least 10 years and to design weapons that will be used to protect Israel for generations to come.

Breakfast and a book

The Tampa Jewish Community Center, in conjunction with the JCC preschools, will hold a “Breakfast & a Book” event on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 9:30 a.m. on the Cohn Campus. Norine Dworkin- McDaniel, co- author of Science of Parenthood: Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations, is the featured guest. The book is based on the popular illustrated humor blog by the same name, created by Dworkin-McDaniel and Jessica Ziegler. Among the “insights” in the book: “How being a parent is like being a scientist... Your best work won’t be appreciated until you are old, gray...and possibly dead.”

Dworkin-McDaniel will present parenting advice in her typical method of unusual and witty humor. Dr. Mehmet Oz describes the insights of Science of Parenthood as “The perfect field manual for all the parents out there who can do nothing else with their day but laugh.” The book has won awards both for parenting and humor. A longtime magazine writer, Dworkin McDaniel is also co-editor of The Big Book of Parenting Tweets and The Bigger Book of Parenting Tweets.

Tickets are $5 and include a breakfast buffet.

Coffee and a conversation

The book festival will conclude on Sunday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble in Carrollwood, 11802 N. Dale Mabry Highway. Award-winning journalist and author David Kushner will discuss his book Alligator Candy, which details the murder of Kushner’s brother. Kushner, the son of Lorraine and the late Gilbert Kushner, grew up in the Carrollwood area.

Only 4 years old at the time, Kushner writes of how one morning in 1973 his family’s world came crashing down when his 11-yearold brother Jonathan vanished on his way to the neighborhood convenience store.

The book chronicles his brother’s murder at the hands of two drifters and everything that happened after. In it, he also discusses how parenting in America changed and writes about other child murders that dominated headlines in the 1970s and ’80s.

Kushner is a regular contributor to The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired, Rolling Stone and other publications. His prior books include Masters of Doom, Jacked, Levittown, Jonny Magic and the Card Shark Kids, Prepare to Meet Thy Doom and The Bones of Marianna. This is free community event.

* * *

A Jewish Festival Book Store will be open at the Tampa JCC throughout the festival. For all events being held at the JCC, the book store will be open at least one hour before and one hour after each event. All books featured in the festival will be available at the store, as will $1-$2 unedited or pre-published versions of books received from the Jewish Book Council.

The Gemunder Family Foundation is the Jewish Books & Conversations Presenting Sponsor. Those interested in sponsoring the festival should contact Alissa Fischel at (813) 769-4726 or

For more information about any of the Jewish authors, books or festival events, contact Gold at (813) 769-4725;

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Click ads below for larger version