by Mary Sue Grossman, Associate Executive Director, Center for Jewish Life
Events for Omaha’s 39th year of celebrating Jewish Book Month included happenings for those of all ages. Events kicked off with the Jewish Book Month Luncheon on Nov. 28, featuring author Janna Yeshanova. Using her engaging personality, Janna shared her story of leaving the former Soviet Union and making a new life in the U.S. Laughter was heard throughout her presentation, as she told about her wide range of experiences. The luncheon was generously sponsored by the Shirley and Leonard Goldstein Endowment Fund.
Next up was the Jewish Book Month Children’s Event held on Saturday evening, Dec. 8. What better way to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah than with over 200 members of the Jewish community at the Omaha Children’s Museum! The museum was hopping with children, parents and grandparents all enjoying a night of fun, candles, dreidels, story telling, crafts and, of course, food. The event also included the re-launching of P.J. Library, a program that provides free Jewish books for children ages 6 months through 8 years. As families left, the refrain heard repeatedly was “This has to become an annual event!” The Children’s Event was made possible through the generosity of the Ann Goldstein Memorial Fund.
Omaha Jewish authors were the spotlight of the final Jewish Book Month event on Sunday, Dec. 9. The Omaha Jewish Author Showcase provided the perfect venue for the diverse personalities and
widespread talent of Omaha’s own to shine. Authors Brian Bogdanoff, Steve Caplan, Tony Endelman, Steve Fischer, Milton Kleinberg, Simon Noel, Ozzie Nogg and Nancy Rips, along with editor Sandra Wendel, shared stories about their literary experiences. Serving as emcee, Nancy Rips commented the presentations moved from “Midrash to Las Vegas, UNMC to the Omaha Police Department and everything in between.”
Jewish Book Month events were presented by the Kripke Jewish Federation Library through the Center for Jewish Life. For those interested in registering for P.J. Library, please stop in the library or visit www.pjlibrary.organd click on “Find your PJ Community” and select Omaha. The program provides free Jewish books and music, mailed each month to the family’s home, for children ages 6 months through 8 years. P.J. Library is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation with local funding provided by the Dorothy and Myer S. Kripke Institute for Jewish Literacy.