Account Search Close
Jewish Community Center

Festival Events & Schedule

St. Louis Jewish Book Festival Schedule & Tickets

Purchase All-Access Pass

All events take place in the Arts & Education Building of the J’s Staenberg Family Complex unless noted otherwise.

Bookend Event: Saturday, November 5

7:30pm: Phil Rosenthal, Somebody Feed Phil the Book

Somebody Feed Phil the Book: Untold Stories, Behind-the-Scenes Photos and Favorite Recipes: A Cookbook
Phil Rosenthal
Saturday, November 5, 7:30pm
Location: Edison Gymnasium, Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: $55 (Includes one book and one ticket)
$70 (Includes one book and two tickets)

Purchase Tickets

The ultimate collection of must-have recipes, stories, and behind-the-scenes photos from the beloved Netflix show Somebody Feed Phil.

“Wherever I travel, be it a different state, country, or continent, I always call Phil when I need to know where and what to eat. He’s the food guru of the world.” —Ray Romano

Phil Rosenthal, host of the beloved Netflix series Somebody Feed Phil, really loves food and learning about global cultures, and he makes sure to bring that passion to every episode of the show. Whether he’s traveling stateside to foodie-favorite cities such as San Francisco or New Orleans or around the world to locations like Ho Chi Minh City, Tel Aviv, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, or Marrakesh, Rosenthal includes a healthy dose of humor to every episode—and now to this book.

In Somebody Feed Phil the Book, Rosenthal presents never-before-heard stories from every episode of the first four seasons of the series, along with more than 60 viewers’ most requested recipes from acclaimed international chefs and local legends alike (including Rosenthal’​s favorite sandwich finds from San Francisco to Tel Aviv), so you can replicate many of the dishes from the show right at home. There are also “scripts” from some of Rosenthal’s video phone calls from the road with his family making this the ultimate companion guide for avid fans of the show as well as armchair travelers and adventurous at-home chefs.

In addition to Somebody Feed Phil, Rosenthal created the hit CBS comedy, Everybody Loves Raymond. He was the Showrunner/Executive Producer for all nine years of the show’s very successful run. Rosenthal’s first travel food series, I’ll Have What Phil’s Having, premiered on PBS in 2015 and received two Taste Awards as well as the 2016 James Beard Award for Best Television Program, on Location.

Keynote Author: Sunday, November 6

7pm: Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, Lessons from the Edge

Lessons from the Edge
Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch (ret.)
Sunday, November 6, 7pm
Location: Edison Gymnasium, Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: $45 (Includes one book and one ticket)
$60 (Includes one book and two tickets)

Purchase Tickets

The former ambassador of Ukraine will discuss her inspiring and urgent memoir, detailing her career in international diplomacy which concluded with a presidential impeachment inquiry. Marie Yovanovitch electrified the nation by speaking truth to power.

By the time she became US Ambassador to Ukraine, Yovanovitch had seen her share of corruption, instability, and tragedy in developing countries. But it came as a shock when, in early 2019, she was recalled from her post after a smear campaign by President Trump’s personal attorney and his associates—men operating outside of normal governmental channels, and apparently motivated by personal gain. Her courageous participation in the subsequent impeachment inquiry earned Yovanovitch the nation’s respect, and her dignified response to the president’s attacks won our hearts. She has reclaimed her own narrative, first with her lauded congressional testimony, and now with this memoir.

A child of parents who survived Soviet and Nazi terror, Yovanovitch’s life and work have taught her the preciousness of democracy as well as the dangers of corruption. Lessons from the Edge follows the arc of her career as she develops into the person we came to know during the impeachment proceedings.

Yovanovitch served as the US Ambassador to Ukraine, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan, in addition to other senior government positions during her thirty-three-year diplomatic career. She retired from the State Department in 2020 and is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a non-resident fellow at Georgetown University. She has received multiple awards, including the Presidential Distinguished Service Award (twice), the Secretary’s Diplomacy for Freedom Award, the Trainor Award for Excellence in the Conduct of Diplomacy, and the PEN/Benenson Courage Award. She lives in the Washington, DC, area.

Moderated by James Wertsch, Professor of Sociocultural Anthropology and Global Studies and Director Emeritus of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy at Washington University in St. Louis.

Monday, November 7

1pm: Historical Fiction Panel: Lisa Barr & Rachel Barenbaum

Historical Fiction Panel:
Lisa Barr (Woman on Fire) & Rachel Barenbaum (Atomic Anna)
Monday, November 7, 1pm
Tickets: $20

Purchase Tickets

Fiction and history combine in these powerful stories based on real-life events. In Lisa Barr’s Woman on Fire, a journalist enters a world of intrigue and danger as she searches for a painting stolen by Nazis. Author Rachel Barenbaum explores the past with a science fiction twist in Atomic Anna. Three generations of women work together and travel through time to prevent the Chernobyl disaster and right the wrongs of their past.

Lisa Barr, Woman on Fire

After talking her way into a job with Dan Mansfield, the leading investigative reporter in Chicago, rising young journalist Jules Roth is given an unusual–and very secret–assignment. Dan needs her to locate a painting stolen by the Nazis more than 75 years earlier: legendary Expressionist artist Ernst Engel’s most famous work, Woman on Fire. World-renowned shoe designer Ellis Baum wants this portrait of a beautiful, mysterious woman for deeply personal reasons, and has enlisted Dan’s help to find it. But Jules doesn’t have much time; the famous designer is dying.

Meanwhile, in Europe, provocative and powerful Margaux de Laurent also searches for the painting. Heir to her art collector family’s millions, Margaux is a cunning gallerist who gets everything she wants. The only thing standing in her way is Jules. Yet the passionate and determined Jules has unexpected resources of her own, including Adam Baum, Ellis’s grandson. A recovering addict and brilliant artist in his own right, Adam was once in Margaux’s clutches. He knows how ruthless she is, and he’ll do anything to help Jules locate the painting before Margaux gets to it first.

A thrilling tale of secrets, love, and sacrifice that illuminates the destructive cruelty of war and greed and the triumphant power of beauty and love, Woman on Fire tells the story of a remarkable woman and an exquisite work of art that burns bright, moving through hands, hearts, and history.

Rachel Barenbaum, Atomic Anna

In 1986, renowned nuclear scientist, Anna Berkova, is sleeping in her bed in the Soviet Union when Chernobyl’s reactor melts down. It’s the exact moment she tears through time—and it’s an accident. When she opens her eyes, she’s landed in 1992 only to discover Molly, her estranged daughter, shot in the chest. Molly, with her dying breath, begs Anna to go back in time and stop the disaster, to save Molly’s daughter Raisa, and put their family’s future on a better path.

In ‘60s Philadelphia, Molly is coming of age as an adopted refusenik. Her family is full of secrets and a past they won’t share. She finds solace in comic books, drawing her own series, Atomic Anna, and she’s determined to make it as an artist. When she meets the volatile, charismatic Viktor, their romance sets her life on a very different course.

In the ‘80s, Raisa, is a lonely teen and math prodigy, until a quiet, handsome boy moves in across the street and an odd old woman shows up claiming to be her biological grandmother. As Raisa finds new issues of Atomic Anna in unexpected places, she notices each comic challenges her to solve equations leading to one impossible conclusion: time travel. And she finally understands what she has to do.

As these remarkable women work together to prevent the greatest nuclear disaster of the 20th century, they grapple with the power their discoveries hold. Just because you can change the past, does it mean you should?

7pm: Charles Bosworth & Joel Schwartz, Bone Deep: Untangling the Betsy Faria Murder Case

Bone Deep: Untangling the Betsy Faria Murder Case
Charles Bosworth & Joel Schwartz
Monday, November 7, 7pm
Tickets: $25

Purchase Tickets

The news story captivated a national audience and made for a compelling mini-series, The Thing About Pam, starring Renée Zellweger.

Join us for the explosive, first-ever insider’s account of the case that captivated millions – the murder of Betsy Faria and the wrongful conviction of her husband – told by St. Louis-local Joel J. Schwartz, the defense attorney who fought for justice on behalf of Russell Faria, and New York Times bestselling author and former reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Charles Bosworth Jr.

On December 27, 2011, Russell Faria returned to his Troy, Missouri, home after his weekly game night with friends to an unthinkable, grisly scene: His wife, Betsy, lay dead, a knife still lodged in her neck. She’d been stabbed fifty-five times.

First Responders concluded that Betsy had been dead for hours when Russ discovered her. No blood was found implicating Russ, and surveillance video, receipts, and friends’ testimony all supported his alibi–yet incredibly, police and the prosecuting attorney ignored the evidence. In their minds, Russ was guilty, but prominent defense attorney Joel J. Schwartz quickly recognized the real killer.

The motive was clear. Days before her murder, the terminally ill Betsy replaced her husband with her friend, Pamela Hupp, as her life insurance beneficiary. Still, despite the prosecution’s flimsy case and Hupp’s transparent lies, Russ was convicted – leaving Hupp free to kill again.

Bone Deep takes readers through the perfect storm of miscalculations and missteps that led to an innocent man’s conviction, and recounts Schwartz’s successful battle to have that conviction overturned. Written with Russ Faria’s cooperation and filled with chilling new revelations and previously undisclosed evidence, this is the story of what can happen when police, prosecutor, judge and jury all fail in their duty to protect the innocent and let a killer get away with murder.

Tuesday, November 8

10:30am: Julian E. Zelizer, Abraham Joshua Heschel

Jewish Lives Biography Program:
Julian E. Zelizer,
Abraham Joshua Heschel: A Life of Radical Amazement
Tuesday, November 8, 10:30 am
Tickets: $20

Purchase Tickets

Explore the life of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who became a symbol of the marriage between religion and social justice. In Julian Zelizer’s Abraham Joshua Heschel: A Life of Radical Amazement, explore the details of Abraham Joshua Heschel’s upbringing, move to the United States, transformation of North American Jewish life and role in the U.S. Civil Rights movement.

“When I marched in Selma, I felt my legs were praying.” So said Polish-born American rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907–1972) of his involvement in the 1965 Selma civil rights march alongside Martin Luther King Jr. Heschel, who spoke with a fiery moralistic fervor, dedicated his career to the struggle to improve the human condition through faith. In this new biography, author Julian Zelizer tracks Heschel’s early years and foundational influences—his childhood in Warsaw and early education in Hasidism, his studies in late 1920s and early 1930s Berlin, and the fortuitous opportunity, which brought him to the United States and saved him from the Holocaust, to teach at Hebrew Union College and the Jewish Theological Seminary. This deep and complex portrait places Heschel at the crucial intersection between religion and progressive politics in mid-twentieth-century America. To this day Heschel remains a symbol of the fight to make progressive Jewish values relevant in the secular world.

1pm: Jen Maxfield, More After the Break

More After the Break: A Reporter Returns to Ten Unforgettable News Stories
Jen Maxfield
Tuesday, November 8, 1 pm
Tickets: $20

Purchase Tickets

In More After the Break, Jen Maxfield, an Emmy® Award-winning correspondent for NBC 4 New York, revisits ten memorable stories from her career as a TV news reporter, describing in heart-pounding detail how the events unfolded and revealing what happened after the cameras went away. She introduces readers to unforgettable people who will inspire you with their hopefulness, even when confronting life’s greatest heartbreaks: a young man who lost both legs in a ferry crash, an endurance athlete with stage-four lung cancer, a fifth grader on a doomed field trip, an Ivy League undergrad sentenced to decades in prison, a young woman who gave her life for an animal, a Wall Street executive on an ill-fated bike ride, a preschooler whose health hinged on an immigration battle, a family who lost everything in a hurricane, a mother who fought back against domestic violence, and a man who stood up for his rights while seated in his wheelchair.

Returning to find these people years—even decades—after she featured their stories on the news gives Maxfield an opportunity to ask the burning questions she had always pondered: What happened after the live truck pulled away? What is the rest of the story?

7pm: Cookbook Panel: Cathy Barrow & Molly Yeh

Cookbook Panel Program:
Cathy Barrow (Bagels, Schmears, and a Nice Piece of Fish: A Whole Brunch of Recipes to Make at Home) & Molly Yeh (Home is Where the Eggs Are)
Tuesday, November 8, 7pm
Location: Edison Gymnasium, Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: $40 (includes one cookbook of your choice and one ticket)
$55 (includes one cookbook of your choice and two tickets)

Purchase Tickets

Calling all foodies! Join Food Network’s Girl Meets Farm star Molly Yeh and bagel expert Cathy Barrow as they share stories, recipes and cooking secrets. Learn creative and new spins on traditional Jewish foods!

Cathy Barrow, Bagels, Schmears, and a Nice Piece of Fish: A Whole Brunch of Recipes to Make at Home

Bagel lovers rejoice! This delightful cookbook makes it easy to bake fresh bagels in your own kitchen with just five base ingredients and simple techniques. With advice on mixing the dough, shaping the bagels, proofing, boiling, baking, slicing, and storing, you will be an expert bagel-maker in no time.

Recipes include two dozen variations on the New York bagel, with classic and innovative flavors ranging from Sesame to Blueberry to Hatch Chile Jack. You’ll also find recipes for homemade sweet and savory spreads, schmears, pickles, and other deli mainstays like Home-Cured Lox and Chicken Salad.

With suggested menus for fun brunches and gatherings, photos of finished food and step-by-step techniques, and a charming deli aesthetic, this is both a comprehensive baking resource and a playful guide to making one of America’s best-loved foods.

Cathy Barrow is an award-winning cookbook author. She’s been recognized by IACP and the James Beard Foundation for her work on Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry and Pie Squared, respectively.

Molly Yeh, Home is Where the Eggs Are

From the host of Food Network’s Girl Meets Farm and bestselling author of the IACP award-winning Molly on the Range, a collection of cozy recipes that feel like celebrations.

Home Is Where the Eggs Are is a beautiful, intimate book full of food that’s best enjoyed in the comfort of sweatpants and third-day hair, by a beloved Food Network host and new mom living on a sugar beet farm in East Grand Forks, MN. Molly Yeh’s cooking is built to fit into life with her baby, Bernie, and the naptimes, diaper changes, and wiggle time that come with having a young child, making them a breeze to fit into any sort of schedule, no matter how busy. They’re low-maintenance dishes that are satisfying to make for weeknight meals to celebrate empty to-do lists after long workdays, cozy Sunday soups to simmer during the first (or seventh!) snowfall of the year, and desserts that will keep happily under the cake dome for long enough that you will never feel pressure to share.

The flavors in this book draw inspiration from a distinctive blend of Molly’s experiences–her Chinese and Jewish heritage, her time living in New York, her husband’s Scandinavian heritage, and their farm in the upper Midwest. She uses seasonal ingredients that are common in her region while singlehandedly supporting the za’atar and sumac import industry in her small town. These influences come together into fuss-free crave-able meals that dirty as few dishes as possible and offer loads of prep-ahead, freezing, and substitution tips.

Wednesday, November 9

10:30am: Romance Fiction Panel: Amanda Elliot & Lynda Cohen Loigman

Romance Fiction Panel
Amanda Elliot (Sadie on a Plate) & Lynda Cohen Loigman (The Matchmaker’s Gift)
Wednesday, November 9, 10:30am
Tickets: $20

Purchase Tickets

Attention all romance novel lovers! Join authors Amanda Elliot and Lynda Cohen Loigman as they share their stories of people looking for love and discuss writing for the incredibly popular romance genre.

Amanda Elliot, Sadie on a Plate

A chef’s journey to success leads to discovering the perfect recipe for love in this delicious romantic comedy.

Sadie is a rising star in the trendy Seattle restaurant scene. Her dream is to create unique, modern, and mouthwatering takes on traditional Jewish recipes. But after a public breakup with her boss, a famous chef, she is sure her career is over–until she lands a coveted spot on the next season of her favorite TV show, Chef Supreme.

On the plane to New York, Sadie has sizzling chemistry with her seatmate, Luke, but tells him that she won’t be able to contact him for the next six weeks. They prolong their night with a spontaneous, magical dinner before parting ways. Or so she thinks. When she turns up to set the next day, she makes a shocking discovery about who Luke is…

If Sadie wants to save her career by winning Chef Supreme, she’s going to have to ignore the simmering heat between her and Luke. But how long can she do that before the pot boils over?

Lynda Cohen Loigman, The Matchmaker’s Gift

A heartwarming story of two extraordinary women from two different eras who defy expectations to utilize their unique gift of seeing soulmates in the most unexpected places. Is finding true love a calling or a curse?

Even as a child in 1910, Sara Glikman knows her gift: she is a maker of matches and a seeker of soulmates. But among the pushcart-crowded streets of New York’s Lower East Side, Sara’s vocation is dominated by devout older men—men who see a talented female matchmaker as a dangerous threat to their traditions and livelihood. After making matches in secret for more than a decade, Sara must fight to take her rightful place among her peers and demand the recognition she deserves.

Two generations later, Sara’s granddaughter, Abby, is a successful Manhattan divorce attorney, representing the city’s wealthiest clients. When her beloved Grandma Sara dies, Abby inherits her collection of handwritten journals recording the details of Sara’s matches. But among the faded volumes, Abby finds more questions than answers. Why did Abby’s grandmother leave this library to her and what did she hope Abby would discover within its pages? Why does the work Abby once found so compelling suddenly feel inconsequential and flawed? Is Abby willing to sacrifice the career she’s worked so hard for in order to keep her grandmother’s mysterious promise to a stranger? And is there really such a thing as love at first sight?

7pm: Kristallnacht Program: Scott Lenga, The Watchmakers

Kristallnacht Program
Scott Lenga, The Watchmakers: A Story of Brotherhood, Survival, and the Hope Amid the Holocaust
Wednesday, November 9, 7pm
Tickets: Free

Purchase Tickets

Derived from more than a decade of interviews with Holocaust survivor Harry Lenga, conducted by his own son Scott and others, The Watchmakers is Harry’s heartening and unflinchingly honest first-person account of his childhood, the lessons learned from his own father, his harrowing tribulations, and his inspiring life before, during, and after the war. It is a singular and vital story, told from one generation to the next–and a profoundly moving tribute to brotherhood, fatherhood, family, and faith.

Harry Lenga was born to a family of Chassidic Jews in Kozhnitz, Poland. The proud sons of a watchmaker, Harry and his two brothers, Mailekh and Moishe, studied their father’s trade at a young age. Upon the German invasion of Poland, when the Lenga family was upended, Harry and his brothers never anticipated that the tools acquired from their father would be the key to their survival.

Under the most devastating conditions imaginable – with death always imminent – fixing watches for the Germans in the ghettos and brutal slave labor camps of occupied Poland and Austria bought their lives over and over again. From Wolanow and Starachowice to Auschwitz and Ebensee, Harry, Mailekh, and Moishe endured, bartered, worked, prayed and lived to see liberation.

Thursday, November 10

10:30am: Wellness Panel: Rina Raphael & Jason Levin

Wellness Panel:
Rina Raphael (The Gospel of Wellness: Gyms, Gurus, Goop and the False Promise of Self Care) & Jason Levin (Relationships to Infinity: The Art and Science to Keeping in Touch)
Thursday, November 10, 10:30am
Tickets: $20

Purchase Tickets

Be good to yourself and others. Join us for a panel dedicated to helping you navigate the wellness craze – the good, the bad and the ugly – and to providing tips to make maintaining relationships in your life a little less stressful.

Rina Raphael, The Gospel of Wellness: Gyms, Gurus, Goop, and the False Promise of Self-Care

Women are pursuing their health like never before. Whether it’s juicing, biohacking, clutching crystals or sipping collagen, today there is something for everyone, as the wellness industry has grown from modest roots into a $4.4 trillion entity and a full-blown movement promising health and vitality in the most fashionable package. But why suddenly are we all feeling so unwell?

The truth is that deep within the underbelly of self-care—hidden beneath layers of clever marketing—wellness beckons with a far stronger, more seductive message than health alone. It promises women the one thing they desperately desire: control.

Vividly told and deeply reported, The Gospel of Wellness reveals how this obsession is a direct result of women feeling dismissed, mistreated, and overburdened. Women are told they can manage the chaos ruling their life by following a laid-out plan: eat right, exercise, meditate, then buy or do all this stuff. And while wellness may have sprung from good intentions, we are now relentlessly flooded with exploitative offerings, questionable ideas, and a mounting pressure to stay devoted to the divine doctrine of wellness. What happens when the cure becomes as bad as the disease?

With a critical eye, humor, and empathy, wellness industry journalist Rina Raphael examines how women have been led down a kale-covered path promising nothing short of salvation. She knows: Raphael was once a disciple herself—trying everything from “clean eating” to electric shock workouts—until her own awakening to the troubling consequences. Balancing the good with the bad, The Gospel of Wellness is a clear-eyed exploration of what wellness can actually offer us, knocking down the false idols and commandments that have taken hold and, ultimately showing how we might shape a better future for the movement—and for our well-being.

Jason Levin, Relationships to Infinity: The Art and Science to Keeping in Touch

Have you ever felt awkward wanting to reach out to a friend or colleague you haven’t spoken to in a while, so you didn’t reach out? Do you feel like your networking skills appear disingenuous but come authentically to everyone else?

Relationships to Infinity: The Art and Science of Keeping in Touch is both a social science-based and practical guide to helping you get better at keeping in touch. You will learn about the intersection of connection and reconnection. You’ll hear stories such as:

  • An accomplished attorney who rekindled prior relationships to land her first public sector General Counsel role.
  • An introverted CPA who built authentic relationships, allowing her to develop a real estate practice leading to an executive role within a Fortune 500 financial services company.
  • An investment banker who co-founded a boutique advisory firm, using an authentic relationship-building approach.

Relationships to Infinity belongs on the bookshelf of every executive and aspiring executive who wants to take a fresh approach to networking and build lasting professional relationships.

1pm: Gregory Zuckerman, A Shot to Save the World

A Shot to Save the World: The Inside Story of the Life-or-Death Race for a Covid-19 Vaccine
Gregory Zuckerman
Thursday, November 10, 1pm
Tickets: $20

Purchase Tickets

The Wall Street Journal special writer Gregory Zuckerman provides the authoritative account of the race to create and produce the COVID-19 vaccine. Following the scientists behind the lifesaving shot, Zuckerman offers a behind-the-scenes look at this critical modern-day innovation. From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Man Who Solved the Market.

Few were ready when a mysterious respiratory illness emerged in Wuhan, China in January 2020. Politicians, government officials, business leaders, and public health professionals were unprepared for the most devastating pandemic in a century. Many of the world’s biggest drug and vaccine makers were slow to react or couldn’t muster an effective response.

It was up to a small group of unlikely and untested scientists and executives to save civilization. A French businessman dismissed by many as a fabulist. A Turkish immigrant with little virus experience. A quirky Midwesterner obsessed with insect cells. A Boston scientist employing questionable techniques. A British scientist despised by his peers. Far from the limelight, each had spent years developing innovative vaccine approaches. Their work was met with skepticism and scorn. By 2020, these individuals had little proof of progress. Yet they and their colleagues wanted to be the ones to stop the virus by holding the world hostage. They scrambled to turn their life’s work into life-saving vaccines in a matter of months, each gunning to make the big breakthrough—and to beat each other for the glory that a vaccine guaranteed.

Zuckerman takes us inside the top-secret laboratories, corporate clashes, and high-stakes government negotiations that led to effective shots. Deeply reported and endlessly gripping, this is a dazzling, blow-by-blow chronicle of the most consequential scientific breakthrough of our time. It’s a story of courage, genius, and heroism. It’s also a tale of heated rivalries, unbridled ambitions, crippling insecurities, and unexpected drama. A Shot to Save the World is the story of how science saved the world.

7pm: Women's Night with Julia Haart, Brazen (Boutique Bazaar opens at 5pm)

Women’s Night:
Julia Haart, Brazen
Thursday, November 10, 5pm
Doors open at 5pm for Boutique Bazaar and pre-event reception. Presentation begins at 7pm.
Location: Edison Gymnasium, Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur
Tickets: $45 (Includes one book and one ticket)
$60 (Includes one book and two tickets

Purchase Tickets

A riveting, inspiring memoir of one woman’s journey from a Jewish ultra-orthodox community and her extraordinary rise from housewife to shoe designer (La Perla) to CEO, co-owner of the modeling agency Elite World Group and Netflix star (My Unorthodox Life).

Ever since she was a child, every aspect of Julia Haart’s life – what she wore, what she ate, what she thought – was lived by the dictates of ultra-orthodox Judaism. At nineteen, after a lifetime spent caring for her seven younger siblings, she was married off to a man she barely knew. For the next twenty-three years, she would live a life under these enforced rules. Eventually, when Julia’s youngest daughter Miriam started to question why she wasn’t allowed to sing, run, or ride a bike, Julia reached a breaking point. She knew that if she didn’t find a way to leave, her daughters would be forced into this same lifestyle which she found too restrictive.

So, Julia created a double life. When no one was looking, she’d sneak looks at fashion magazines and sketch designs for the clothes she dreamed about wearing in the world beyond her orthodox suburb. In the ultra-orthodox world, clothing has one purpose: to cover the body, head to toe, for modesty’s sake. Giving any thought to one’s appearance beyond that is considered sinful, an affront to God. She started clandestinely selling life insurance to save her “freedom” money. At the age of forty-two, she finally mustered the courage to flee the life that was antithetical to her personal soul.

Within a week of leaving, Julia started a shoe brand, and within nine months she was at Paris for fashion week. A year later, she became creative director of La Perla, the world-leading lingerie brand. And now, she is the co-owner and CEO of Elite World Group, and one of the most powerful people in the fashion industry.

Propulsive and unforgettable, Julia’s story is the journey from a world of “no” to a world of “yes” and an inspiration for women everywhere to find their purpose and their voice.

Friday, November 11

10:30am: Andy Dunn, Burn Rate

Burn Rate: Launching a Startup and Losing My Mind
Andy Dunn
Friday, November 11, 1pm
Tickets: $20

Purchase Tickets

The co-founder of the menswear startup Bonobos opens up about the struggle with bipolar disorder that nearly cost him everything in this gripping, radically honest memoir of mental illness and entrepreneurship.

At twenty-eight, fresh from Stanford’s MBA program and steeped in the move-fast-and-break-things ethos of Silicon Valley, Andy Dunn was on top of the world. He was building a new kind of startup – a digitally native, direct-to-consumer brand – out of his Manhattan apartment. Bonobos was a new-school approach to selling an old-school product: men’s pants. Against all odds, business was booming.

Hustling to scale the fledgling venture, Dunn raised tens of millions of dollars while boundaries between work and life evaporated. As he struggled to keep the startup afloat, Dunn was haunted by a ghost: a diagnosis of bipolar disorder he received after a frightening manic episode in college, one that had punctured the idyllic veneer of his midwestern upbringing. He had understood his diagnosis as an unspeakable shame that – according to the taciturn codes of his fraternity, the business world, and even his family – should be locked away.

As Dunn’s business began to take off, however, some of the very traits that powered his success as a founder–relentless drive, confidence bordering on hubris, and ambition verging on delusion–were now threatening to undo him. A collision course was set in motion, and it would culminate in a night of mayhem–one poised to unravel all that he had built.

Burn Rate is an unconventional entrepreneurial memoir, a parable for the twenty-first-century economy, and a revelatory look at the prevalence of mental illness in the startup community. With intimate prose, Andy Dunn fearlessly shines a light on the dark side of success and challenges us all to take part in the deepening conversation around creativity, performance, and disorder.

1pm: Barry Nalebuff, Split the Pie

Split the Pie: A Radical New Way to Negotiate
Barry Nalebuff
Friday, November 11, 1pm
Tickets: $20

Purchase Tickets

From a leading Yale expert and serial entrepreneur, a radical, principled and field-tested approach that identifies what’s really at stake in any negotiation and ensures you get your half–so you can focus on growing the pie.

Negotiations are incredibly stressful and can bring out the worst in people. Wouldn’t it be better if there were a principled way to negotiate? Wouldn’t it be even better if there were a way to treat people fairly and get treated fairly in a negotiation?

Split the Pie offers a new approach that does both – a field-tested method that reframes how negotiations play out. Barry Nalebuff, a professor at Yale School of Management, helps identify what’s really at stake in a negotiation: the “pie.” The negotiation pie is the additional value created through an agreement to work together. Seeing the relevant pie will change how you think about fairness and power in negotiation. You’ll learn how to get half the value you create, no matter your size.

Filled with examples and in-depth case studies, Split the Pie is a practical and theory-based approach to negotiation. You’ll see how it helped reframe a high-stakes negotiation when Coca-Cola purchased Honest Tea, a company Barry co-founded with his former student Seth Goldman. The pie framework also works for everyday negotiations. You’ll learn how to deploy logic to determine truly equitable solutions and employ empathy to expand the pie and sell your solution. Split the Pie allows both sides to focus their energy on making the biggest possible pie – to have your pie and eat it too.

Saturday, November 12

7pm: Paul Ford, Lord Knows, at Least I was There, Working with Stephen Sondheim

Music Night:
Paul Ford, Lord Knows, at Least I was There: Working with Stephen Sondheim
Saturday, November 12, 7pm
Tickets: $25

Purchase Tickets

In Lord Knows, at Least I was There: Working with Stephen Sondheim, Broadway piano prodigy Paul Ford recalls his decades-long professional relationship with Broadway’s expert songwriter Stephen Sondheim, who has publicly declared Ford the “indefatigable master of the musical theatre” and “the world’s most tireless rehearsal pianist and a walking memory bank of every song that has ever been written for any musical on any continent.”

Ford worked on the original productions of Sunday in the Park with George, Follies in Concert, Into the Woods, Assassins (both off-Broadway and the Broadway revival), Passion, Wiseguys, Stephen Sondheim at Carnegie Hall, and numerous concerts, birthday tributes, and television spectaculars. For more than a quarter of a century, Paul Ford was also Mandy Patinkin’s exclusive accompanist and musical collaborator on a series of recordings and live concerts that took the duo from Broadway to London to Australia and beyond.

Ford also provides a vivid portrait of a conflicted childhood in Atlanta, Georgia as a “sissy piano player,” followed by a self-destructive period of alcoholism. Miraculously, a haunting encounter in a Hell’s Kitchen saloon in May of 1995 with the leading lady of one of his favorite childhood movies gave Ford the incentive to clean up his life.

This session will include special musical performances and will be moderated by Mike Isaacson, Artistic Director and Executive Director, The Muny

Sunday, November 13

1pm: Rabbi Benjamin Spratt, Awakenings

Awakenings: American Jewish Transformations in Identity, Leadership and Belonging (co-authored by Rabbi Joshua Stanton)
Rabbi Benjamin Spratt
Sunday, November 13, 1pm
Tickets: $20

Purchase Tickets

In Awakenings, Rabbi Joshua Stanton and Rabbi Benjamin Spratt investigate opportunities for renewal and connection in Jewish life. With a mix of history and thinking about the future, the authors argue that now is the time for Judaism to grow.

Join Rabbi Benjamin Spratt at the J to explore the challenges facing the Jewish community and how the Jewish community needs to evolve to maintain its relevance.

7pm: Sports Night: Dan Grunfeld & Barry Weinberg

Sports Night:
Dan Grunfeld (By the Grace of the Game: The Holocaust, a Basketball Legacy, and an Unprecedented American Dream) & Barry Weinberg (Eating my Way Through Baseball: Legendary Stories with a Major League Bite)
Sunday, November 13, 7pm
Tickets: $25

Purchase Tickets

Two sports professionals share their experiences through a Jewish lens. From a family legacy spanning the Holocaust to hoops in the NBA to a professional baseball player and trainer eating his way around the major leagues, Sports Night promises to be inspiring and entertaining.

Dan Grunfeld, By the Grace of the Game: The Holocaust, a Basketball Legacy, and an Unprecedented American Dream

When Lily and Alex entered a packed gymnasium in Queens, New York in 1972, they barely recognized their son. The boy who escaped to America with them, who was bullied as he struggled to learn English and cope with family tragedy, was now a young man who had discovered and secretly honed his basketball talent on the outdoor courts of New York City. That young man was Ernie Grunfeld, who would go on to win an Olympic gold medal and reach previously unimaginable heights as an NBA player and executive.

In By the Grace of the Game, Dan Grunfeld, once a basketball standout himself at Stanford University, shares the remarkable story of his family, a delicately interwoven narrative that doesn’t lack in heartbreak yet remains as deeply nourishing as his grandmother’s Hungarian cooking, so lovingly described. The true improbability of the saga lies in the discovery of a game that unknowingly held the power to heal wounds, build bridges, and tie together a fractured Jewish family. If the magnitude of an American dream is measured by the intensity of the nightmare that came before and the heights of the triumph achieved after, then By the Grace of the Game recounts an American dream story of unprecedented scale.

From the grips of the Nazis to the top of the Olympic podium, from the cheap seats to center stage at Madison Square Garden, from yellow stars to silver spoons, this complex tale traverses the spectrum of the human experience to detail how perseverance, love, and legacy can survive through generations, carried on the shoulders of a simple and beautiful game.

Barry Weinberg, Eating my Way Through Baseball: Legendary Stories with a Major League Bite

Weinberg has spent 33 years in the Major Leagues, traveling around the world eating at the best restaurants, such as Tramonti in Delray Beach, FL, to La Scarola in Chicago, IL, to Hunan Homes in San Francisco, CA. He has shared meals with some of the world’s greatest people such as Neil Armstrong, Charles Barkley, Bob Knight, Yogi Berra, Thurman Munson, Stan Musial, Red Schoendienst, Jack Buck and many more.

Eating My Way Through Baseball explores Weinberg’s spectacular journey, including stories from behind-the-scenes of his professional baseball career that, until now, were only told in clubhouses, dugouts, or when out to dinner with the author himself. Life is a journey…enjoy the meal! Bon Appetit!

Bookend Event: Wednesday, November 16

7pm: Missouri's Own Authors

Bookend Event – Missouri’s Own Authors
Wednesday, November 16, 7 pm
Tickets: $25

Purchase Tickets

Missouri’s homegrown talent shares their stories. Local and state-wide authors will share their stories via our panel, and then after their presentations, the audience is invited to enjoy one-on-one conversations with the panelists.

Mara W. Cohen Ioannides, Jews of Missouri: An Ornament to Israel
Missouri State University English professor Mara W. Cohen Ioannides describes Missouri’s rich Jewish history – not only in St. Louis, Kansas City and the Ozarks, but across the state. The books, which covers the period from before statehood in 1821 until World War I, details the Jewish history of 74 Missouri cities and towns.

Larry Swedroe, Your Essential Guide to Sustainable Investing: How to Live Your Values and Achieve Your Financial Goals with ESG, SRI, and Impact Investing
Larry Swedroe defines sustainable investing, then offers tips to increase your portfolio while making a difference in the world. Learn how to make an impact both for yourself and future generations.

Richard Lazaroff, Illumination
The protagonist struggles with her faith in this historical fiction novel. To reconcile her Judaism with modern life, she explores her family history over four generations from Kyiv to South Haven, Michigan.

Cynthia Changyit Levin, From Changing Diapers to Changing the World: Why Moms Make Great Advocates and How to Get Started
In between changing diapers and driving carpool, Cynthia Changyit Levin advocated for making the world a better place for all. Changyit Levin offers non-partisan advice on how to juggle parenting and participation in modern politics.

Diane Bleyer, The Second Chance
Humans are navigating climate change and their own relationships in this science fiction tale set in 2035.

David Henschel, The Art of Old Time Black and White Photography: 200 Black and White Photographs
David Henschel shares 200 photographs taken between 1968 and 2004. This coffee table keeper ensures that the lost art of black and white photography stays vibrant and alive.

Jessica Radloff, The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series
Glamour senior editor Jessica Radloff gives readers an all-access definitive, behind-the-scenes look at the most popular sitcom of the last decade, The Big Bang Theory, packed with all-new, exclusive interviews with the producers and entire cast.

Bookend Event: Tuesday, January 17

7pm: Martin Luther King Jr. Day Event: Jessica Nordell

Bookend: Martin Luther King Jr. Day Event
Jessica Nordell, The End of Bias: A Beginning: The Science and Practice of Overcoming Unconscious Bias
Tuesday, January 17, 2023
Tickets: TBD

Purchase Tickets

The End of Bias is a transformative, groundbreaking exploration into how we can eradicate unintentional bias and discrimination, the great challenge of our age.

Implicit bias: persistent, unintentional prejudiced behavior that clashes with our consciously held beliefs. We know that it exists, to corrosive and even lethal effect. We see it in medicine, we see it in finance, and as we know from the police killings of so many Black Americans, bias can be deadly. But are we able to step beyond recognition of our prejudice to actually change it?

With fifteen years’ immersion in the topic, Jessica Nordell digs deep into the cognitive science, social psychology, and developmental research that underpin current efforts to eradicate unintentional bias and discrimination. She examines diversity training, deployed across the land as a corrective but with inconsistent results. She explores what works and why: the diagnostic checklist used by doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital that eliminated disparate treatment of people in disease prevention; the preschool in Sweden where teachers found ingenious ways to uproot gender stereotyping: the police unit in Oregon where the practice of mindfulness and specialized training has coincided with a startling drop in the use of force.

The End of Bias: A Beginning brings good news: Biased behavior can change; the approaches outlined here can transform ourselves and our world.


SLCL Authors @ The J

St. Louis County Library and the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival are pleased to announce SLCL Authors @ the J – a joint event series for readers throughout the St. Louis metro area. Additional information about St. Louis County Library’s author series is available online. Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public. All events are held at the J’s Staenberg Family Complex (2 Millstone Campus Drive).

For more information, contact Hannah Dinkel, Director of Literary Arts, 314-442-3294.