1391 Martine Ave. Scotch Plains, NJ 07076
Ph: 908-889-8800

Please note that on Saturday, December 16, the gymnasium will have limited availability due to other programs scheduled.  Please check with our member services desk at 908-889-8800 if you are looking for open gym time.  Thank you! 

Author Visits

NEW! Cover2Cover

Fiction reads with authors in an intimate discussion setting!
Book signings too.
Perfect for book lovers, book clubs...even the occasional reader!
Plan your book selections months out!

Conviction with author Julia Dahl

Wednesday, January 17 • 7:30 p.m.
New York City 1992: a year after riots exploded between black and Jewish neighbors in Brooklyn, a black family is brutally murdered in their Crown Heights home. A teenager is quickly convicted, and the justice system moves on. Twenty-two years later, journalist Rebekah Roberts gets a letter: I didn't do it. Frustrated with her work at the city’s sleaziest tabloid, Rebekah starts to dig. But witnesses are missing, memories faded, and almost no one wants to talk about that grim, violent time in New York City ― not even Saul Katz, a former NYPD cop and her source in Brooklyn’s insular Hasidic community.  So she goes it alone. And as she gets closer to the truth of that night, Rebekah finds herself in the path of a killer with two decades of secrets to protect.  From the author of the Edgar-nominated Invisible City comes another timely thriller that illuminates society’s darkest corners. Told in part through the eyes of a jittery eyewitness and the massacre’s sole survivor, Julia Dahl's Conviction examines the power ― and cost ― of community, loyalty, and denial.  
Wine and snacks included.
Price: $14, Member Price: $10

SpotLight Speakers
Brunch with Yvette Manessis Corporon, author of Something Beautiful Happened: A Story of Survival, Faith and Courage in the Face of Evil

Sunday, January 21 • 10:00 a.m.
Corporon grew up listening to her grandmother's stories about how the people of the small Greek island Erikousa hid a Jewish family - a tailor named Savvas and his daughters - from the Nazis during World War II.  Seventy years later, she sets out to track down the family's descendants.  At once a very personal memoir and an ambitious account of the untold history of the Greek Jews, Something Beautiful Happened is a nuanced story about the power of faith, the importance of kindness and the courage to stand up for what's right, no matter the cost.
Sponsored by Gitterman Wealth Management.
Price: $25, Member Price: 18, price includes brunch
Click here to register.  Search Something Beautiful

Yvette Manessis Corporon is a three-time Emmy Award winning writer, author and producer.  Her debut novel When the Cypress Whispers has been translated into 14 languages and is an international best-seller.  A veteran television producer, Yvette is currently a senior producer with the syndicated entertainment new show Extra.  In addition to her Emmy Awards and several Emmy nominations, Yvette has also received the Silurian Award for Excellence in Journalism and the New York City Council and Comptroller's Award for Greek Heritage and Culture.  Yvette lives in New York with her husband and two children.

Conversations with Authors
Bad Rabbi and Other Strange But True Stories from the Yiddish Press with author Eddie Portnoy

Tuesday, January 23 • 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Stories abound of immigrant Jews on the outside looking in, clambering up the ladder of social mobility, successfully assimilating and integrating into their new worlds. But this book is not about the success stories. It's a paean to the bunglers, the blockheads, and the just plain weird — Jews who were flung from small, impoverished eastern European towns into the urban shtetls of New York and Warsaw, where, as they say in Yiddish, their bread landed butter side down in the dirt. These marginal Jews may have found their way into the history books far less frequently than their more socially upstanding neighbors, but there's one place you can find them in force: in the Yiddish newspapers that had their heyday from the 1880s to the 1930s. Disaster, misery, and misfortune: you will find no better chronicle of the daily ignominies of urban Jewish life than in the pages of the Yiddish press. An underground history of downwardly mobile Jews, Bad Rabbi exposes the seamy underbelly of pre-WWII New York and Warsaw, the two major centers of Yiddish culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With true stories plucked from the pages of the Yiddish papers, Eddy Portnoy introduces us to the drunks, thieves, murderers, wrestlers, poets, and beauty queens whose misadventures were immortalized in print. There's the Polish rabbi blackmailed by an American widow, mass brawls at weddings and funerals, a psychic who specialized in locating missing husbands, and violent gangs of Jewish mothers on the prowl—in short, not quite the Jews you'd expect. One part Isaac Bashevis Singer, one part Jerry Springer, this irreverent, unvarnished, and frequently hilarious compendium of stories provides a window into an unknown Yiddish world that was.
Price: $7, Member Price: Free
Stay for lunch - Price: $8, Senior Price: $4.25 • reservations are needed three days in advance; contact Alison Rivlin at 908-889-8800 x260 or arivlin@jccnj.org

Conversations with Authors
Matzo: 35 Recipes for Passover and All Year Long with Chef David Kirschner

Tuesday, February 13 • 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Let's honor the Streit family and bring matzo into the modern food conversation!  Kirschner witll take us through the Streit's storied history of manufacturing on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Michelin-trained chef David Kirschner spent years honing his skills in the kitchens of fine dining restaurants before becoming the Executive Chef at Tasting Table and now the owner and Executive Chef of his own private dining company dineDK.
Price: $7, Member Price: Free
Stay for lunch - Price: $8, Senior Price: $4.25 • reservations are needed three days in advance; contact Alison Rivlin at 908-889-8800 x260 or arivlin@jccnj.org

Conversations with Authors
Louis Bamberger: Department Store Innovator and Philanthropist with author Linda Forgosh

Monday, February 26 • 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Louis Bamberger (1855–1944) was the epitome of the merchant prince as public benefactor. Born in Baltimore, this son of German immigrants built his business — the great, glamorous L. Bamberger & Co. department store in Newark, N.J. — into the sixth-largest department store in the country. A multimillionaire by middle age, he joined the elite circle of German Jews who owned Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Filene’s. Despite his vast wealth and local prominence, Bamberger was a reclusive figure who shunned the limelight, left no business records, and kept no diaries. He remained a bachelor and kept his private life and the rationale for his business decisions to himself.  Yet his achievements are manifold. He was a merchandising genius whose innovations, including newspaper and radio ads and brilliant use of window and in-store displays, established the culture of consumption in twentieth-century America. His generous giving, both within the Jewish community and beyond it, created institutions that still stand today: the Newark YM-YWHA, Beth Israel Hospital and the Newark Museum. Toward the end of his career, he financed and directed the creation of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, which led to a friendship with Albert Einstein.  Despite his significance as business innovator and philanthropist, historians of the great department stores have paid scant attention to Bamberger. This full-length biography will interest historians as well as general readers of Jewish history nationally, New Jerseyans fascinated by local history, and the Newarkers for whom Bamberger’s was a beloved local institution.
Price: $7, Member Price: Free
Stay for lunch - Price: $8, Senior Price: $4.25 • reservations are needed three days in advance; contact Alison Rivlin at 908-889-8800 x260 or arivlin@jccnj.org

NEW! Cover2Cover

Fiction reads with authors in an intimate discussion setting!
Book signings too.
Perfect for book lovers, book clubs...even the occasional reader!
Plan your book selections months out!

Leaving Lucy Pear with author Anna Solomon

Friday, March 9 • 10:00 a.m.
One night in 1917 Beatrice Haven sneaks out of her uncle's house on Cape Ann, Massachusetts, leaves her newborn baby at the foot of a pear tree and watches as another woman claims the infant as her own. The unwed daughter of wealthy Jewish industrialists and a gifted pianist bound for Radcliffe, Bea plans to leave her shameful secret behind and make a fresh start. Ten years later, Prohibition is in full swing, post-World War I America is in the grips of rampant xenophobia, and Bea's hopes for her future remain unfulfilled. She returns to her uncle’s house, seeking a refuge from her unhappiness. But she discovers far more when the rum-running manager of the local quarry inadvertently reunites her with Emma Murphy, the headstrong Irish Catholic woman who has been raising Bea's abandoned child — now a bright, bold, cross-dressing girl named Lucy Pear, with secrets of her own.  In mesmerizing prose, award-winning author Anna Solomon weaves together an unforgettable group of characters as their lives collide on the New England coast. Set against one of America's most turbulent decades, Leaving Lucy Pear delves into questions of class, freedom and the meaning of family, establishing Anna Solomon as one of our most captivating storytellers  
Continental breakfast will be served.
Price: $14, Member Price: $10

SpotLight Speakers
A Night of Laughter and Comedy with Alan Zweibel, author of For This We Left Egypt?  A Passover Haggadah for Jews and Those Who Love Them

Tuesday, March 27 • 7:30 p.m.
This parody of the Passover Haggadah dishes up humorous explanations of Passover rituals accompanied by very funny anecdotes. 
Sponsored by Gitterman Wealth Management.
Price: $18, Member Price: 15
Click here to register.  Search Zweibel

Alan Zweibel is an original Saturday Night Live writer and has won five Emmy Awards for his work including Curb Your Enthusiasm.  He collaborated with Billy Crystal on the Tony Award-winning play 700 Sundays.

NEW! Cover2Cover

Fiction reads with authors in an intimate discussion setting!
Book signings too.
Perfect for book lovers, book clubs...even the occasional reader!
Plan your book selections months out!

The Patriots with author Sana Krasikov

Wednesday, May 2 • 7:30 p.m.
When the Great Depression hits, Florence Fein leaves Brooklyn College for what appears to be a plum job in Moscow — and the promise of love and independence. But once in Russia, she quickly becomes entangled in a country she can’t escape. Many years later, Florence’s son, Julian, will make the opposite journey, immigrating back to the United States. His work in the oil industry takes him on frequent visits to Moscow, and when he learns that Florence’s KGB file has been opened, he arranges a business trip to uncover the truth about his mother, and to convince his son, Lenny, who is trying to make his fortune in the new Russia, to return home. What he discovers is both chilling and heartbreaking: an untold story of what happened to a generation of Americans abandoned by their country.  The Patriots is a riveting evocation of the Cold War years, told with brilliant insight and extraordinary skill. Alternating between Florence’s and Julian’s perspectives, it is at once a mother-son story and a tale of two countries bound in a dialectic dance; a love story and a spy story; both a grand, old-fashioned epic and a contemporary novel of ideas. Through the history of one family moving back and forth between continents over three generations, The Patriots is a poignant tale of the power of love, the rewards and risks of friendship and the secrets parents and children keep from one another Wine and snacks included.
Price: $14, Member Price: $10

 

 

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