Telling Our Stories

The Festival of Jewish Books will continue the two-month-long series, “Telling Our Stories, the Jewish Experience in Film and Books” at the Merage JCC.  The presenter on December 5 will highlight the book used by OC Jewish Reads, a community-wide program.  A final presentation on December 9 will involve everybody’s favorite pastimes – cooking and tasting.

Funding for “Telling Our Stories” was provided by the Doris H. and Milton J. Chasin Cultural Arts Endowment and members of the Cultural Arts Patron Circle.  Several local authors will be part of the action.

For the Festival of Jewish Books, author event pricing is noted below. The Festival Bookstore will be open on Main Street from November 29 to December 10. Jewish books make great gifts for Chanukah. Book Festival Passes: $85 Members, $125 Public.  Festival pass holders receive a coupon for 10 percent off at the JCC Festival Book Store.

Pam Jenoff, A Hidden Affair

Thursday, November 9, 7 p.m.

$8 JCC members, $12 Public

“…this thriller should keep romantic suspense fans hooked until its explosive climax.” — Publisher’s Weekly

What kind of man could fake his own death and then, for more than a decade, let his loved ones suffer? After such a betrayal, what woman would want him back? Meet Cambridge University sweethearts Jared Short and Jordan Weiss, whose star-crossed odyssey continues in Jen­off’s intriguing sequel to Almost Home.

Annabelle Gurwitch and Jeff Kahn You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up: A Love Story

Saturday, November 13, 7:30 p.m.

$20 JCC members, $30 Public – OPEN BAR

After thirteen years of marriage, Annabelle Gurwitch (“Dinner and a Movie,” “Seinfeld,” NPR) and Jeff Kahn (Emmy winning writer, “The Ben Stiller Show,” “Forty Year Old Virgin”) have found, “We’re just not that into us.” In their hilarious and ultimately moving new memoir, the Hollywood/real-life married couple find that in marriage, you need love, a healthy dose of complaining, co-dependence, and Pinot Noir. Serving up equal parts sincerity and cynicism, You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up is a laugh-out-loud must-read for everyone who has come to realize that being in love can only get you so far, according to the publisher.

Kai Bird, Crossing Mandelbaum Gate

Sunday, November 14, 10 a.m.

$15 JCC Members, $25 Public  Includes coffee, bagels, fresh fruit

“The book rips along like a spy novel…”— Neil MacFarquhar, N.Y. Times Book Review

Pulitzer Prize Winner Kai Bird’s fascinating memoir of his early years in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon provides an original insight into the Arab-Israeli conflict. His parents are sympathetic to Palestinian self-determination and his wife is the daughter of two Holocaust survivors. The different perspec­tives provide a masterful and highly accessible book—at once a vivid chronicle of life between cultures as well as a consummate history of a region in turmoil.

Andrew Winer, The Marriage Artist

Thursday, November 18, 7 p.m.

$8 JCC members, $12 Public

“Powerful . . . ambitious . . . audacious.”—Publishers Weekly (Starred review)

When the wife of renowned art critic Daniel Lichtmann plunges to her death, she is not alone. Lying next to her is her suspected lover, Benjamin Wind, the very artist Daniel most championed. Tormented by questions about the circumstances of their deaths, Daniel dedicates himself to uncovering the secrets of their relationship and the inspiration behind Wind’s dazzling final exhibition.  The book interposes two seemingly unrelated story lines in a well-crafted tale of art and passion.

Jake Ehrenreich, A Jew Grows in Brooklyn

Sunday, November 21, 4 p.m.

$10 JCC Members, $15 Public

As a boy, Jake Ehrenreich wanted nothing more than to fit in. As the first American-born child of Holocaust survivors with thick European accents, he did everything he could to fit his vision of what it meant to be a ‘real’ American. The book is based on his hit show A Jew Grows in Brooklyn—which ran in the heart of Broadway and continues to entertain audiences nationwide.

Robin PreissGlasser, illustrator of Fancy Nancy, Ooh La La! It’s Beauty Day

Sunday, December 5, 2 p.m.

$8 JCC Member (ages 3-13),

$10 Public (ages 3-13) Price includes beauty activities for children. Children MUST be accompanied by an adult.

What better way to fancy Mom up for her birthday than to treat her to a super-deluxe beauty day created by Fancy Nancy herself right in the backyard! But when the pampering suddenly goes too far, has Nancy ruined her mom’s big day?

OC JEWISH READS: A book event for the entire community

Sunday, December 5, 10 a.m., $10

ABE FOXMAN, National Director of the ADL

Jews and Money: The Story of a Stereotype

In the wake of Bernie Madoff’s ruinous investment schemes, Abraham Foxman takes a cultural and political look at the many variations throughout history of the assumptions made about Jews and money. Foxman makes the case that the stereotypes have permeated cultures globally and argues that these beliefs are rooted in deep-seated and pervasive anti-Semitism. Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, is the author of The Deadliest Lies: The Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control and Never Again?: The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism.

Joan Nathan, Quiches,  Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France

Thursday, December 9, 12 p.m.

$20 JCC Members, $30 Public – Includes tasting of selected recipes

In a journey that was a labor of love, Joan Nathan traveled to France and unearthed a treasure trove of recipes and the stories behind them. Joan takes us into kitchens in Paris, Alsace, and the Loire Valley; visits the bustling Belleville market in in Paris; and breaks bread with Jewish families on the Sabbath. All across France, she finds that Jewish cooking is alive: traditional dishes are honored, yet have acquired a certain French finesse.

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