by Mark Kirchhoff, Administrative Assistant, Center for Jewish Life
This year’s 42nd year of celebrating Jewish Book Month is an annual event of the Kripke Jewish Federation Library, the Center for Jewish Life and the Jewish Federation of Omaha. Promoted by the Jewish Book Council, Jewish Book Month is dedicated to the celebration of Jewish books. The roots of Jewish Book Month started in 1925 when Fanny Goldstein, a librarian at the West End Branch of the Boston Public Library, set up an exhibit of Judaic books and used it as a focus of what she called Jewish Book Week. The event was later adopted and expanded by communities around the country.
Omaha’s first event will be held Wednesday, Nov. 4 featuring author Diana Bletter. Diana, an author from Omaha’s Partnership2GETHER region in northern Israel, will give a presentation and hold a book signing at The Bookworm, beginning at 6 p.m. Her 2015 novel, A Remarkable Kindness, traces the lives of four American women who become part of the Chevrah Kadisha, the Jewish burial society, in their kibbutz. In preparing and dressing women for burial, they grow in friendship and marriages, learn to accept death and come to appreciate the sorrows and wonders of life. This event is free and open to the public. The Bookworm is located at 2501 S 90th Street.
On Thursday, Nov. 12, popular novelist Pam Jenoff will be the featured speaker for the Jewish Book Month Luncheon. Pam will speak on her recent novel, The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach
The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach takes place in 1941 and tells the story of young Adelia Monteforte who flees fascist Italy for America, where she is whisked away to the shore by her well-meaning aunt and uncle. She meets and falls in love with an Irish-Catholic boy and their lives become entwined with the war and a tragedy that hits close to home. The event begins at noon at the Jewish Community Center and the meal cost is $12. Reservations are needed by Nov. 9 for the luncheon by calling 402.334.6463 or via email to email@example.com. Following the luncheon, Pam will hold a book signing in the Kripke Jewish Federation Library. Her book will be available for sale at that time.
Included in the Jewish Book Month line-up, the Global Day of Jewish Learning will take place Sunday, Nov. 15. This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. Ron Wolfson, a well-known and popular author who will talk about his latest publication, The Best Boy in the United States of America: A Memoir of Blessings and Kisses. The event will begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 15 at the Jewish Community Center. In the book Dr. Wolfson shares his memories of growing up in a warm family, encountering colorful characters like the merchants in Omaha, navigating adolescence and learning never to underestimate his mother. The afternoon, which is sponsored by the Klutznick Chair of Jewish Civilization at Creighton University, also include breakout sessions throughout the afternoon by local presenters focusing on the Global Day theme, Love: Devotion, Desire and Deception. Watch for more details in early November.
Beth El Synagogue will host the fourth Jewish Book Month event featuring author Dan Ephron on Monday, Nov. 30 beginning at 7 p.m. Ephron will talk about his book, Killing a King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel which relates the parallel stories of Rabin and his stalker, Yigal Amir, over the two years prior to the Rabin assassination. The presentation will be followed by a dessert reception.
The final event of the Jewish Book Month will focus on where reading begins – with the kids. It will be “A Celebration of PJ Library Fun!” at the Omaha Children’s Museum on Saturday, Dec. 26 from 6-9 p.m. The event is geared toward children of PJ Library age – six months to eight years – with their parents. PJ Library provides books and music for children 6 months to 8 years, mailed to the child’s home each month. Omaha’s program is sponsored by the Dorothy and Myer S. Kripke Institute for Family Literacy. The Dec. 26 event, which is open to Omaha’s young Jewish families, is possible through the generous support of the Mort Richards Youth Program Fund and the Murray and Sharee C. Newman Supporting Foundation, both funds of the Jewish Federation of Omaha. A light dinner will be provided. Reservations are needed by Dec. 22 by phoning 402.334.6463 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jewish Book Month, the Global Day of Jewish Learning and PJ Library are programs of the Center for Jewish Life, whose mission it is to maximize involvement of Omaha’s Jewish community in imaginative, compelling and meaningful Jewish experiences. For additional information, please call 402.334.6463.