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Festival Events & Schedule

2019 St. Louis Jewish Book Festival Schedule

Fall Festival Lineup

Purchase a Premier Pass

Bookend Event

October 3, 7pm: Kim Horner

Kim Horner
Probably Someday Cancer: Genetic Risk and Preventative Mastectomy
Thursday, October 3, 7pm
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: This is a free event

Kim Horner discovers she has inherited a BRCA gene mutation that puts her at high risk of developing certain cancers but struggles with the decision to have a surgery to reduce her risk for a disease she doesn’t have and may never get.  In Probably Someday Cancer, Kim’s weaves her personal experience with extensive research and interviews to help anyone confronted with difficult medical decisions face their risk, take control of their healthcare and make informed decisions.

In partnership with Sharsheret Supports and FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered).

Keynote Speaker

November 3, 7pm: Issac Mizrahi

Isaac Mizrahi 2Issac Mizrahi
I.M.: A Memoir
Sunday, November 3, 7pm
Staenberg Family Complex, Edison Gymnasium
Tickets: $45

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Isaac Mizrahi will open the Jewish Book Festival on Sunday, November 3 at 7pm. Mizrahi will speak about his new book, I.M.: A Memoir, in which the fashion industry leader offers a poignant, candid and touching look back on his life so far.

From growing up gay in a sheltered Syrian Jewish Orthodox family to the partnership with Target that brought his high-end collection to the masses and revolutionized fashion retail, Mizrahi will share not only the glamour of his years, but the grit beneath the glitz. Following Q&A, books will be for sale for him to autograph.

Festival Lineup

November 4, 10:30am: Susan Angel Miller

Susan Angel Miller
Permission to Thrive: My Journey from Grief to Growth
Monday, November 4, 10:30am
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: $20 or included with a Premier Pass

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In Permission to Thrive, Susan Angel Miller shares an intense­ly per­son­al sto­ry of faith and hope, addressing the unnerving and universal topics of death, illness, and trauma while conveying a hopeful message: even though it’s impossible to predict when adversity will strike, we can choose how to respond to trauma, ultimately achieving post­trau­mat­ic (PTG) growth. This memorable book traces Susan’s extraordinary journey, which begins when her healthy four­teen-year-old daugh­ter dies sud­den­ly from a brain tumor, and the family’s deci­sion on the worst day of their lives — and with their rabbi’s counsel – to donate Laura’s organs, saving the life of a woman with whom the Miller fam­i­ly would eventu­al­ly cul­ti­vate an exceptional relationship.

November 4, 1pm: Pam Jenoff

Pam Jenoff
The Lost Girls of Paris
Monday, November 4, 10:30am
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: $20 or included with a Premier Pass

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From the New York Times best-selling author of The Orphan’s Tale comes a remarkable story of friendship and courage centered around three women and a ring of female secret agents during World War II. In The Lost Girls of Paris, Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war and weaves a mesmerizing tale of the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.

November 4, 7pm: Marra B. Gad

Marra B. Gad
The Color of Love: A Portrait of a Mixed-Race Jewish Girl
Monday, November 4, 7pm
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: $20 or included with a Premier Pass

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An unfor­get­table debut mem­oir about a mixed-race Jew­ish woman who, after fif­teen years of estrange­ment from her racist great-aunt, helps bring her home when Alzheimer’s strikes. The Col­or of Love explores the idea of yerusha, which means​ “inher­i­tance” in Yid­dish. At turns heart-wrench­ing and heart­warm­ing, this is a sto­ry about what you inher­it from your fam­i­ly — iden­ti­ty, dis­ease, melanin, hate, and most pow­er­ful of all, love. With hon­esty, insight, and warmth, Mar­ra B. Gad has writ­ten an inspi­ra­tional, mov­ing, chron­i­cle prov­ing that, when all else is stripped away, love is where we return, and love is always our great­est inheritance.

Sponsored by the Center for Jewish Learning.

November 5, 10:30am: Dawn Raffel

Dawn Raffel
The Strange Case of Dr. Couney: How a Mysterious European Showman Saved Thousands of American Babies
Tuesday, November 5, 10:30am
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: $20 or included with a Premier Pass

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Dr. Mar­tin Arthur Couney (née Michael Cohn) was one of the most improb­a­ble heroes of the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry. For more than 40 years, he saved tiny pre­ma­ture babies by plac­ing them in incubator sideshows at Coney Island and world’s fairs, right out on the mid­way, next to the sword swal­low­ers and strip­pers. Rather than charge his patients’ par­ents, he fund­ed his prac­tice by charg­ing admis­sion to curi­ous crowds, all the while fight­ing a med­ical estab­lish­ment that claimed these were hope­less cas­es and a eugen­ics move­ment that want­ed the weak­est to die. Despite medical cre­den­tials that were as fab­ri­cat­ed as his name, Dr. Couney was the hid­den father of Amer­i­can neona­tol­ogy, per­son­al­ly respon­si­ble for sav­ing the lives of more than 6,500 chil­dren.

Dawn Raf­fel is a jour­nal­ist, mem­oirist, and short-sto­ry writer whose work has been wide­ly anthol­o­gized.

November 5, 7pm: Yousef Bashir

Yousef Bashir
The Words of My Father: Love and Pain in Palestine
Tuesday, November 5, 7pm
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: $20 or included with a Premier Pass

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In The Words of My Father, a Pales­tin­ian-Amer­i­can activist recalls his ado­les­cence in Gaza dur­ing the Sec­ond Intifa­da. Still suf­fer­ing the effects of a near cat­a­stroph­ic injury at the hands of an anony­mous IDF sol­dier, it was Israeli doc­tors who saved Yousef and helped him even­tu­al­ly learn to walk again. In the wake of that expe­ri­ence, Yousef was forced to reck­on with the words of his father, whose belief in coex­ist­ing peace­ful­ly with his Israeli neigh­bors was unshake­able, and whose com­mit­ment to peace was absolute. Bashir’s sto­ry, and the ideals of peace and empa­thy it upholds are a sooth­ing balm for these dan­ger­ous and trou­bled times, and a reminder that love and com­pas­sion are a gift — and a choice.

November 6, 7pm: Sports Night featuring Art Shamsky

Sports Night featuring Art Shamsky (interviewed by Benjamin Hochman)
After the Miracle: The Lasting Brotherhood of the ’69 Mets
Wednesday, November 6, 7pm
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur – Edison Gymnasium
Tickets: $25 or included with a Premier Pass

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After the Miracle is the inside account of an iconic team in baseball history: the 1969 New York Mets—a consistently last-place team that turned it all around in just one season—told by ’69 Mets outfielder Art Shamsky and other teammates as they reminisce about what happened then and where they are today. Art Shamsky was a Major League baseball player for eight years, and an integral part of the World Championship team in 1969. Since his retirement from baseball, he has been involved in various businesses and worked as a sports broadcaster at WNEW-TV in New York City and on ESPN, and as a broadcaster for the NY Mets.

November 7, 10:30am: Jack J. Hersch

Jack J. Hersch
Death March Escape: The Remarkable Story of a Man Who Twice Escaped the Nazi Holocaust
Thursday, November 7, 10:30 am
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur – Edison Gymnasium
This is a free event

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In June 1944, the Nazis locked eighteen-year-old Dave Hersch into a railroad boxcar and shipped him to Mauthausen Concentration Camp. After ten months, Dave was forced to join a death march to Gunskirchen Concentration Camp, over thirty miles away. Miraculously, Dave escaped, but was quickly recaptured and put on another death march a few days later, where he achieved the impossible: he escaped again. Dave often told his son Jack his incred­i­ble sto­ry of sur­vival, but Jack’s dis­cov­ery of a pho­to of his father in 2007, years after Dave’s death, com­pels Jack to jour­ney back to Mau­thausen and to the death march routes. As Jack retraces his father’s foot­steps, vis­it­ing the places he slaved and the inter­sec­tions where he escaped, Jack not only learns much more about his father’s remark­able sur­vival than he’d ever known, but he also learns about himself.

In partnership with the Holocaust Museum & Learning Center. Sponsored by Dr. Arthur Gale.

November 7, 1pm: Margalit Fox

Margalit Fox
Conan Doyle for Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World’s Most Famous Detective Writer
Thursday, November 7, 1pm
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: $20 or included with a Premier Pass

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For all the scores of biographies of Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes the most famous detective in the world, there is no American book that tells this story – in which Conan Doyle serves as detective on an actual murder case. In this book, former New York Times obit writer Margalit Fox takes us step by step inside Conan Doyle’s investigative process and illuminates a murder mystery that is also a morality play for our time – a story of ethnic, religious and anti-immigrant bias.

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November 7, 7pm: Women's Night featuring Elizabeth Weitzman

Women’s Night featuring Elizabeth Weitzman
Renegade Women in Film and TV
Thursday, November 7, 7pm
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur – Edison Gymnasium
Tickets: $25 or included with a Premier Pass

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Rene­gade Women in Film and TV blends stun­ning illus­tra­tions, fas­ci­nat­ing bio­graph­i­cal pro­files, and exclu­sive inter­views with icons like Bar­bra Streisand, Rita Moreno, and Sigour­ney Weaver to cel­e­brate the accom­plish­ments of 50 extra­or­di­nary women through­out the his­to­ry of enter­tain­ment. This book hon­ors the women who suc­ceed­ed against all odds, chang­ing their indus­try in front of the cam­era and behind the scenes. Eliz­a­beth Weitz­man is a jour­nal­ist, film crit­ic, and the author of more than two dozen books for chil­dren and young adults.

Sponsored by the Karin Blinder Gubin Foundation and Women’s Philanthropy of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis.

November 8, 10:30am: Elana Horwich

Elana Horwich
Meal and a Spiel: How to Be a Badass in the Kitchen
Friday, November 8, 10:30 am
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: $20 or included with a Premier Pass

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Writ­ten by a for­mer come­di­enne and high school his­to­ry teacher who lived for 5 years in Italy and earned a grad­u­ate degree in Jew­ish Ital­ian his­to­ry, Elana Horwich start­ed a cook­ing school which empow­ers peo­ple across the coun­try to pas­sion­ate­ly cook with con­fi­dence and love as a form of tikkun olam. Meal and a Spiel uses humor and wis­dom to teach intu­itive cook­ing. It fea­tures unabashed mem­oir, essays on life and “class­room cor­ners” that explain how and why recipes work so you can final­ly put the cook­book down.

November 8, 1pm: Sarah Hurwitz

Sarah Hurwitz
Here All Along: A Reintroduction to Judaism
Friday, November 8, 1pm
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: $20 or included with a Premier Pass

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After a decade as a political speechwriter—serving for First Lady Michelle Obama, President Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton on her 2008 presidential campaign—Sarah Hurwitz decided to apply her skills as a communicator to writing a book . . . about Judaism. And no one is more surprised than she is. Hurwitz was the quintessential lapsed Jew—until, at age thirty-six, after a tough breakup, she happened upon an advertisement for an introductory class on Judaism. That class led to a years-long journey all in pursuit of answers to her biggest question: How could there be such a gap between the richness of what Judaism offers and the way so many Jews like her understand and experience it? Hurwitz is on a mission to close this gap by sharing the profound insights she discovered on everything from Jewish holidays, ethics, and prayer to Jewish conceptions of God, death, and social justice. In this entertaining and accessible book, she shows us why Judaism matters and how its message is more relevant than ever, and she inspires Jews to do the learning, questioning, and debating required to make this religion their own.

November 9, 7pm: Dave Itzkoff

Dave Itzkoff
Robin
Saturday, November 9, 7pm
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur – Edison Gymnasium
Tickets: $25 or included with a Premier Pass

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From New York Times culture reporter Dave Itzkoff comes the definitive biography of Robin Williams – a compelling portrait of one of America’s most beloved and misunderstood entertainers. From his rapid-fire stand-up comedy riffs to his breakout role in Mork & Mindy and his Academy Award-winning performance in Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams was a singularly innovative and beloved entertainer. But as Dave Itzkoff shows in Robin, Williams’s comic brilliance masked a deep well of conflicting emotions and self-doubt, which he drew upon in his comedy and in celebrated films where he showcased his limitless gift for improvisation to bring to life a wide range of characters. Drawing on more than a hundred original interviews with family, friends, and colleagues, as well as extensive archival research, Robin is a fresh and original look at a man whose work touched so many lives.

November 10, 10:30am: Alana Newhouse

Alana Newhouse
The 100 Most Jewish Foods: A Highly Debatable List
Sunday, November 10, 10:30 am
Tickets: $25, includes a bagel breakfast
Mirowitz Center at Covenant Place

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To para­phrase an old cliché, put any two Jews togeth­er and you’ll have three opin­ions about Jew­ish food. Ask them to name the most Jew­ish Food and the list turns high­ly debat­able — exact­ly the best way to describe The 100 Most Jew­ish Foods, edit­ed by Alana New­house of Tablet mag­a­zine, a dai­ly online mag­a­zine of Jew­ish news ideas and cul­ture which she found­ed in 2009. Infor­ma­tive, unex­pect­ed, pas­sion­ate, quirky, and rich with lay­ers of tra­di­tion and his­to­ry, like an edi­ble time­line trac­ing the dias­po­ra, it’s a book that cel­e­brates the one unwa­ver­ing con­stant of Jew­ish life: Food. Con­trib­u­tors include Ruth Reichl, Joan Nathan, Michael Solomonov, Dan Bar­ber, Gail Sim­mons, Yotam Ottolenghi, Maira Kalman, Action Bron­son, Daphne Merkin, Shalom Aus­lan­der, Dr. Ruth Wes­t­heimer, and Phil Rosen­thal among many others.

November 10, 7pm: Todd S. Purdum

Todd S. Purdum
Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution
Sunday, November 10, 7pm
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur – Edison Gymnasium
Tickets: $36 or included with a Premier Pass

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They stand at the apex of the great age of songwriting, the creators of classic Broadway musicals whose songs have never lost their popularity or emotional power: Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Though different in personality and often emotionally distant from each other, Rodgers and Hammerstein presented an unbroken front to the world and forged much more than a songwriting team; their partnership was also one of the most profitable and powerful entertainment businesses of their era. But they also had their failures and flops, and more than once they feared they had lost their touch. Todd S. Purdum’s portrait of these two men, their creative process, and their groundbreaking innovations is a revelatory portrait of the creative partnership that transformed musical theater and provided the soundtrack to the American Century.

November 11, 1pm: Josh Samuel Frank

Josh Samuel Frank
Giraffes on Horse­back Sal­ad: Dali, The Marx Broth­ers and the Great­est Movie Nev­er Made
Monday, November 11, 1pm
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: $20 or included with a Premier Pass

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Giraffes on Horse­back Sal­ad was a Marx Broth­ers film, writ­ten by mod­ern art icon Sal­vador Dali who’d befriend­ed Har­po. Reject­ed by MGM, the script was thought lost for­ev­er. But author Josh Frank found it, and, with come­di­an Tim Hei­deck­er and Span­ish comics cre­ator Manuela Perte­ga, he’s re-cre­at­ed the film as a graph­ic nov­el in all its gor­geous, full-col­or, cin­e­mat­ic, sur­re­al glo­ry. It is the sto­ry of two unlike­ly friends, a Jew­ish super star film icon, and Span­ish painter, and the movie that could have been.

November 11, 7pm: Dr. Michael Roizen

Dr. Michael Roizen
What to Eat When: A Strategic Plan to Improve Your Health & Life Through Food
Monday, November 11, 7pm
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: $20 or included with a Premier Pass

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What if eat­ing two cups of blue­ber­ries a day could pre­vent can­cer? If drink­ing a kale-infused smooth­ie could coun­ter­act miss­ing an hour’s worth of sleep? And would you actu­al­ly drink that glass of water if it meant skip­ping the gym? This rev­o­lu­tion­ary guide reveals how to use food to enhance our per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al lives – and increase longevi­ty to boot. What to Eat When is not a diet book. Instead acclaimed internist Michael Roizen and cer­ti­fied physi­cian Michael Cru­pain offer read­ers choic­es that ben­e­fit them the most based on the sci­ence that gov­erns them. Dr. Michael Roizen is the Chief Well­ness Offi­cer at the Cleve­land Clin­ic, Chief Med­ical Con­sul­tant on The Dr. Oz Show, author of four #1 New York Times best-sell­ing books, and orig­i­na­tor of the pop­u­lar RealAge​.com web­site.

November 12, 1pm: Missouri's Own!

Missouri’s Own– new format!
Tuesday, November 12, 1pm
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur – Edison Gymnasium
Tickets: $25 or included with a Premier Pass

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Michael A. Kahn & Alan C. Kohn
The Art of Conflict: Tales from the Courtroom

The Art of Conflict pairs each of five previously published articles on practical lawyering advice by an esteemed trial attorney with a fictional short story by an award-winning author-attorney on the same theme as that article. The short stories add genuine drama and some humor to the difficult practical lawyering issues all attorneys must face. For fans of legal thrillers, this book offers a unique and compelling mixture of fiction and reality, written by a trial lawyer by day and award-winning author by night.

Beth Koritz
Resilience Road: Exploring Your Authentic Life Path

How many times have you taken a look at your life and thought these words? “Things have got to change.” Well, Beth had said them before, but when she opened her eyes in the ICU, paralyzed from the neck down and facing a tremendous fight to regain very basic functions, she knew she finally meant them. Her story is one of resilience: in the face of disease, life’s unexpected curves, and a journey that veers off the track. With total honesty and refreshing humor, Beth introduces us to the tools and philosophies she has developed along the way (and now uses in her therapy practice) to living an authentic life on your own terms.

Joe Regenbogen
Making a Difference: The Story of Irl Solomon and the Difference One Teacher Made in the Schools of East St. Louis

Without giving it much thought, Irl Solomon, who had grown up in the middle-class inner suburbs of the Gateway City, took a job in the public schools of East St. Louis, which was losing much of its population and tax base to weeds, crime, and urban blight. By the late sixties, the East St. Louis school system had become one of the most dysfunctional in the nation. However, for 38 years, Irl committed to teaching in the schools east of the Mississippi. This is the story of how one man devoted his career and his life to making a difference.


Hear short presentations from these headlining authors, plus meet several other local talents who will share a sneak peak of their diverse and eclectic books. Following the presentations, patrons will have the opportunity to meet each author “exhibition style” at tables around the room, have their books signed and ask questions.

November 12, 7pm: Michael J. Coles

Michael J. Coles
Time to Get Tough: How Cookies, Coffee, and a Crash Led to Success in Business and Life
Tuesday, November 12, 7pm
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: $20 or included with a Premier Pass

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Co-founder of Great American Cookie Company and former CEO of Caribou Coffee, Michael J. Coles is a business expert, serial entrepreneur, education advocate, transformational leader and well-known public speaker. In his new memoir, Time to Get Tough, Coles reflects on his notable life and shares a wealth of knowledge and tips that he has gathered over the years as a community and business leader. He recounts the failures and successes that led him from poverty and a near-fatal motorcycle accident to founding a $100-million company and becoming the namesake of the business school at Georgia’s third largest university—despite never having attended college himself.

November 13, 10:30am: Robert Matzen

Robert Matzen
Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II
Wednesday, November 13, 10:30am
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: $20 or included with a Premier Pass

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Twenty-five years after her passing, Audrey Hepburn remains the most beloved of all Hollywood stars, known as much for her role as UNICEF ambassador as for films like Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Several biographies have chronicled her stardom, but none has covered her intense experiences through five years of Nazi occupation in the Netherlands. Audrey had to contend with the fact that her father was a Nazi agent and her mother was pro-Nazi for the first two years of the occupation. Dutch Girl includes Audrey’s own reminiscences, new interviews with people who knew her in the war, wartime diaries, and more. Robert Matzen, an American author who specializes in Hollywood history and World War II, spent weeks in the Netherlands talking to the people who lived through the war with Audrey Hepburn to prepare for this book.

November 13, 1pm: Julie Satow

Julie Satow
The Plaza: The Secret Life of America’s Most Famous Hotel
Wednesday, November 13, 1pm
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: $20 or included with a Premier Pass

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From the moment in 1907, when Alfred Van­der­bilt strode through the Plaza’s doors to become its first guest to the day in 2007, when a mys­te­ri­ous Russ­ian oli­garch bought the hotel’s largest pent­house, the white tow­er at the cor­ner of Cen­tral Park has radi­at­ed wealth and lux­u­ry. For some, the Plaza evokes images of F. Scott Fitzger­ald frol­ick­ing in the Pulitzer Foun­tain or Eloise pour­ing water down the mail chute. But there are also dark hid­den secrets: the mur­der per­pe­trat­ed by con­struc­tion work­ers build­ing the hotel, how Don­ald You-Know-Who bank­rupt­ed the Plaza, and how a dis­graced Indi­an tycoon once ruled the hotel from a jail cell in Del­hi. With glam­our on the sur­face and strife behind the scenes, this is the sto­ry of how one hotel became a mir­ror, reflect­ing New York’s place at the cen­ter of the country’s cul­tur­al nar­ra­tive for over a century. Julie Satow is an award-win­ning jour­nal­ist who has cov­ered real estate in New York City for more than a decade.

November 13, 7pm: Lori Gottlieb

Lori Gottlieb (interviewed by Carly Sparks, MSW, LCSW)
Maybe You Should Talk to Some­one: A Ther­a­pist, Her Ther­a­pist, and Our Lives Revealed
Tuesday, November 13, 7pm
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: $20 or included with a Premier Pass

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From New York Times best-sell­ing author, psy­chother­a­pist, and nation­al advice colum­nist Lori Gottlieb, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is a hilar­i­ous, thought-pro­vok­ing, and sur­pris­ing new book that takes us behind the scenes of a therapist’s world — where her patients are look­ing for answers (and so is she). One day, Lori Got­tlieb is a ther­a­pist who helps patients in her Los Ange­les prac­tice. The next, a cri­sis caus­es her world to come crash­ing down. With star­tling wis­dom and humor, Got­tlieb invites us into her world as both clin­i­cian and patient — exam­in­ing the truths and fic­tions we tell our­selves and oth­ers as we teeter on the tightrope between love and desire, mean­ing and mor­tal­i­ty, guilt and redemp­tion, ter­ror and courage, hope and change.

November 14, 10:30am: William H. Groner and Tom Teicholz

William H. Groner and Tom Teicholz
9/12: The Epic Battle of the Ground Zero Responders
Thursday, November 14, 10:30 am
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: $20 or included with a Premier Pass

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9/12 is the saga of the epic nine-year legal battle against the City of New York and its contractors on behalf of the more than ten thousand first responders who became ill from the toxic stew of chemicals present in the dust and debris as a result of working on the Ground Zero cleanup. Told by Groner, a lead attorney in the mass tort litigation, and journalist Tom Teicholz, 9/12 is the story of the brave public servants who showed up when their country needed them most, of their fight for redress, and of their victory in the face of the seemingly insurmountable.

November 14, 1pm: Kirsten Fermaglich

Kirsten Fermaglich
A Rosenberg by Any Other Name: A History of Jewish Name Changing in America
Thursday, November 14, 1pm
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: $20 or included with a Premier Pass

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Our think­ing about Jew­ish name chang­ing tends to focus on clichés: ambi­tious movie stars who adopt­ed glam­orous new names or insen­si­tive Ellis Island offi­cials who changed immi­grants’ names for them. But as Kirsten Fer­maglich ele­gant­ly reveals in A Rosenberg by Any Other Name, in twen­ti­eth-cen­tu­ry New York City, Jew­ish name chang­ing was actu­al­ly a vol­un­tary behav­ior as thousands of Jews legal­ly changed their names in order to respond to an upsurge of anti­semitism. This first his­to­ry of name chang­ing in the Unit­ed States demon­strates how his­tor­i­cal debates about immi­gra­tion, anti­semitism, and race, class, mobil­i­ty, gen­der, and fam­i­ly, the bound­aries of the Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty, and the pow­er of gov­ern­ment are reshaped when name chang­ing becomes part of the con­ver­sa­tion. Min­ing court doc­u­ments, oral his­to­ries, archival records, and con­tem­po­rary lit­er­a­ture, Fer­maglich argues con­vinc­ing­ly that name chang­ing had a last­ing impact on American Jew­ish culture.

November 14, 7pm: Jack Fairweather

Jack Fairweather
The Volunteer: One Man, an Underground Army, and the Secret Mission to Destroy Auschwitz
Thursday, November 14, 7pm
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: $20 or included with a Premier Pass

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To uncover the fate of the thousands being interred at a mysterious Nazi camp on the border of the Reich, a thirty-nine-year-old Polish resistance fighter named Witold Pilecki volunteered for an audacious mission: assume a fake identity, intentionally get captured and sent to the new camp, and then report back on what had happened to his compatriots there. But gathering information was not his only task: he was to execute an attack from inside—where the Germans would least expect it. The name of the camp was Auschwitz. Now, with exclusive access to previously hidden diaries, family and camp survivor accounts, and recently declassified files, Jack Fairweather offers an unflinching portrayal of survival, revenge and betrayal in mankind’s darkest hour.

November 15, 10:30am: Barbara J. Ostfeld

Barbara J. Ostfeld
Cat­bird: The Bal­lad of Bar­bi Prim
Friday, November 15, 10:30 am
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: $20 or included with a Premier Pass

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In Cat­bird: The Bal­lad of Bar­bi Prim, the world meets an insight­ful, opin­ion­at­ed 8-year-old who’s already tak­en a few steps toward becom­ing a pio­neer — but also a shad­ow of her quirky self. Although she’s cor­rod­ed — some­times lit­er­al­ly — by a tox­ic, but famil­iar social atmos­phere, her love of singing pro­pels her to accomplish something extraordinary. A fam­i­ly cri­sis expos­es old and endur­ing wounds, but she begins to res­cue her­self — by dili­gent­ly going to ther­a­py — and embarks on an imper­fect but per­pet­u­al meta­mor­pho­sis becom­ing the well-coiffed hero­ine of her own story. This is Barbara’s true-life story of cracking through a stained glass ceil­ing at age twen­ty-two to become the first woman ordained as a can­tor in 3,000 years of Jew­ish his­to­ry.

Bookend Events

November 24, 10:30am: Taylor Lustig

Taylor Lustig
Yes She Can: 10 Stories of Hope & Courage from Young Female Staffers of the Obama White House
Sunday, November 24, 10:30am
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: $10 or included with a Premier Pass

This New York Times bestselling anthology features stories from ten inspiring young women who joined President Barak Obama’s administration in their 20s with the hope of making a difference.  They recall–fondly and with humor and a dose of humility–what it was like to literally help run the world. Full of wisdom they wish they could impart to their younger selves and a message about the need for more girls in government, these recollections are about stepping out into the spotlight and up to the challenge–something every girl can do.

December 19, 7pm: Stephanie Butnick and Liel Leibovitz

Stephanie Butnick and Liel Leibovitz
The Newish Jew­ish Ency­clo­pe­dia: From Abra­ham to Zabar’s and Every­thing in Between
Thursday, December 19, 7pm
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: $20 or included with a Premier Pass

Purchase Tickets

From the hosts of Tablet magazine’s wild­ly pop­u­lar Unortho­dox pod­cast, The Newish Jew­ish Ency­clo­pe­dia is an edi­fy­ing, enter­tain­ing, and thor­ough­ly mod­ern intro­duc­tion to Judaism. The book is an alpha­bet­i­cal ency­clo­pe­dia of short entries — some pro­fane, some pro­found, and some both — heavy on the graph­ics and, like con­tem­po­rary Judaism itself, fea­tur­ing a panoply of diver­gent voic­es, all amus­ing and well-informed and none in per­fect agreement. By weav­ing togeth­er the essen­tial and the eso­teric, the snarky, and the earnest, the Jew­ish and the Jew-ish, this book hon­ors its title, offer­ing a tru­ly unortho­dox approach to Judaism, and allow­ing each read­er to find his or her point of con­nec­tion with the cul­ture, the tra­di­tion, and the religion.

March 25, 7pm: Louise Aronson

Louise Aronson
Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life
Wednesday, March 25, 7pm
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur – Edison Gymnasium
This is a free event

Physician and award-winning author Louise Aronson’s Elderhood is an essential, empathetic look at a vital but often disparaged stage of life. For more than 5,000 years, “old” has been defined as beginning between the ages of 60 and 70. That means most people alive today will spend more years in elderhood than in childhood, and many will be elders for 40 years or more. Yet at the very moment that humans are living longer than ever before, we’ve made old age into a disease, a condition to be dreaded, denigrated, neglected, and denied. Geriatrician Louise Aronson uses stories from her quarter century of caring for patients to weave a vision full of joy, wonder, frustration, outrage, and hope about aging, medicine, and humanity itself.