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Literatour Book Festival Announces Lineup

SPRINGFIELD — The lineup for the 2018-19 Literatour Jewish Book Festival includes a diverse list of bestselling authors designed to appeal to a variety of ages and reading interests. Presented by the Springfield Jewish Community Center, the yearlong celebration of Jewish books features 10 events to be held in various locations across the Pioneer Valley. “This year’s lineup includes a mix of established and emerging authors, whose work includes novels, memoirs and historical research,” said Deb Krivoy, the JCC’s director of Cultural Arts and Education. “We look forward to another strong season bursting with great books across the genres.”

Scheduled to appear are the following:

Abigail Progrebin 
My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew,
Tuesday, Oct. 16, 7 p.m., Springfield JCC, Springfield (Free)

To understand the Jewish calendar Abigail Pogrebin immersed herself in its rhythms and rituals for a full 12 months. Her account serves as a lively introduction to Judaism’s holidays and opens a window on how Judaism is actually lived in 21st-century America.

Vivi Lachs
Whitechapel Noise: Jewish Immigrant Life in Yiddish Song and Verse, London 1884-1914
Sunday, Oct. 28, 2 p.m., Yiddish Book Center, Amherst (Free/JCC & YBC members; $5/general public)

Archival material from the London Yiddish press, songbooks, and satirical writing offers a window into an untold cultural life of the Yiddish East End.

David Hirshberg
My Mother’s Son
Thursday, Nov. 15, 7 p.m., Springfield JCC, Springfield (Free/JCC members; $5/general public)

The lives of two Jewish brothers in post-World War II Boston are transformed by secrets and discoveries they never could have imagined.

Gerri Chanel
Saving Mona Lisa: The Battle to Protect the Louvre and its Treasures from the Nazis
Tuesday, Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m., Yiddish Book Center, Amherst (Free/ JCC & YBC members; $5/general public)

In 1939, curators at the Louvre spirited the world’s most famous painting away to the Loire Valley. Saving Mona Lisa tells the true story of intrigue, ingenuity, and moral courage in the darkest of times.

Kitty Zeldis
Not Our Kind
Tuesday, Jan. 15, 7 p.m., Springfield JCC, Springfield (Free/JCC members; $5/general public)

Set in postwar New York City, Not Our Kind illuminates the lives of two women – one Jewish, one a WASP – on the cusp of change and asks how much our pasts can and should define our futures.

Jamie Bernstein
Famous Father Girl: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein
Thursday, Feb. 7, 7 p.m., Springfield JCC, Springfield (Free/JCC members; $5/general public)

The daughter of Leonard Bernstein offers a rare look at her father on the centennial of his birth in this memoir. With musical performance by Springfield Symphony Orchestra’s Kevin Rhodes.

Lynda Cohen Loigman 
The Wartime Sisters
Tuesday, Feb. 26, 7 p.m., Springfield JCC, Springfield (Free/JCC members; $5/general public)

Two estranged sisters, raised in Brooklyn and each burdened with her own shocking secret, are reunited at the Springfield Armory in the early days of World War II.

Whitney Ellenby
Autism Uncensored: Pulling Back the Curtain
Tuesday, March 5, 7 p.m., Springfield JCC, Springfield (Free)

This book provides an unflinching, real-time portal into the mind of a parent who adopted extraordinary methods to forcibly include her autistic son in his community regardless of public ridicule or scorn.

Jacob B. Shammash with Amy S. Dane
From Baghdad to Boston and Beyond: Memoir of an Iraqi Jew
Sunday, April 7, 4 p.m., Temple Beth El, Springfield (Free)

When he emigrated to the U.S. from Baghdad in 1947, Jacob B. Shammash had no idea this timing would be fortuitous or that he would never see his homeland again.

Ronald H. Balson
The Girl from Berlin
Monday, May 13, 7 p.m., Springfield JCC, Springfield (Free/JCC members; $5/general public)

Catherine Lockhart and Liam Taggart help an elderly woman facing eviction from her Tuscan villa. As they dig through layers of lies and  corruption, they uncover an unfinished story of heart, redemption, and hope – the ending of which is unwritten.

Books will be available for purchase at all events, and authors will sign books following their presentations. Sponsors of the 2018-19 Literatour include the Jewish Federation of Western Mass., Yiddish Book Center, Temple Beth El, Glenmeadow Retirement, Springfield Alliance for Jewish Education, Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Harold Grinspoon Foundation, Springfield Armory National Historic Site, and the Jewish Book Council.

To register for an event, email arts@springfieldjcc.org or call (413) 739-4715,
ext. 308.


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