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

Author Visits

The Seven, A Family Holocaust Story with author Ellen Friedman

Monday, December 10 • 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Ellen Friedman always knew that she was born to Polish-Jewish parents on the run from Hitler, but her family did not describe themselves as Holocaust survivors since that label seemed only to apply only to those who came out of the concentration camps with numbers tattooed on their arms. The title of the book comes from the closeness that set seven individuals apart from the hundreds of thousands of other refugees in the Gulags of the USSR. The Seven, a name given to them by their fellow refugees, were Polish Jews from Warsaw, most of them related. This story provides a glimpse into the repercussions of the Holocaust in one extended family who survived because they were loyal to one another, lucky, and endlessly enterprising. 
Price: $8, Member Price: Free,  Stay for lunch - Price: $4.50, reservations are needed three days in advance, contact Alison Rivlin at 908-889-8800 x260 or arivlin@jccnj.org

Conversations with Authors: Lillian Wald with author Paul Kaplan

Monday, January 7 • 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. 
Lillian Wald was the forgotten greatest social reformer of her time. In this immensely significant biography, Paul Kaplan follows this powerful activist - a social and education reformer dedicated to helping less fortunate citizens in New York.
Price: $8, Member Price: Free,  Stay for lunch - Price: $6.50, Recommended Senior Price: $4.50, reservations are needed three days in advance, contact Alison Rivlin at 908-889-8800 x260 or arivlin@jccnj.org

Conversations with Authors: A River Could be a Tree with author Angela Himsel

Monday, January 14 • 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. 
How does a woman who grew up in rural Indiana as a fundamentalist Christian end up a practicing Jew in New York? This memoir is told with warmth, humor and a multitude of religious and philosophical insights.  
Price: $8, Member Price: Free,  Stay for lunch - Price: $6.50, Recommended Senior Price: $4.50, reservations are needed three days in advance, contact Alison Rivlin at 908-889-8800 x260 or arivlin@jccnj.org 

Spotlight Speaker
Promised Land: A Novel of Israel with author Martin Fletcher

Wednesday, January 16 • 7:30 p.m.
"Promised Land is a great sweeping epic, reminiscent of Leon Uris’ Exodus; a moving story of triumph and tragedy, new love and historic hate, expertly told by a cast of unforgettable characters. Fletcher’s writing is superb and rises to the level of importance that this story demands and deserves. Historical novels don’t get much better than Promised Land."
— Nelson DeMille, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Cuban Affair

Martin Fletcher has been covering world events for forty years, mostly for NBC News. For twenty-six years he was NBC correspondent in Israel and for fifteen, Bureau Chief as well. He has won almost every award in TV journalism, including the du Pont, known as the TV Pulitzer, five Overseas Press Club awards, the Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence several times and many other awards, including five Emmys. Anderson Cooper called him “for several decades the gold standard of war correspondents.”  
Price: $18, Member Price: $15, register by Friday, January 11

 

Conversations with Authors: The Strange Case of Dr. Couney with author Dawn Raffel

Monday, February 11 • 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. 
This is the fascinating story of how a mysterious European showman saved thousands of American babies in the early 20th century. Dr. Couney saved tiny premature babies by placing them in incubator sideshows at Coney Island and charged admission to pay for it! This larger-than-life personality has been largely forgotten – until now. Proud partner of the Jewish Book Council. 
Price: $8, Member Price: Free,  Stay for lunch - Price: $6.50, Recommended Senior Price: $4.50, reservations are needed three days in advance, contact Alison Rivlin at 908-889-8800 x260 or arivlin@jccnj.org  

One Book.  One Jewish Community
Gateway to the Moon with author Mary Morris

Tuesday, February 12 • 7:30 p.m.
In 1492, the Jewish and Muslim populations of Spain were expelled, and Columbus set sail for America. Luis de Torres, a Spanish Jew, accompanies Columbus as his interpreter. His journey is only the beginning of a long migration, across many generations. Over the centuries, de Torres’ descendants travel from Spain and Portugal to Mexico, finally settling in the hills of New Mexico. Five hundred years later, it is in these same hills that Miguel Torres, a young amateur astronomer, finds himself trying to understand the mystery that surrounds him and the town he grew up in.  Entrada de la Luna is a place that holds a profound secret--one that its residents cannot even imagine. It is also a place that ambitious children, such as Miguel, try to leave. Poor health, broken marriages, and poverty are the norm. Luck is unusual. When Miguel sees a flyer for a babysitting job, he jumps at the opportunity, and begins work for a Jewish family new to the area. Rachel Rothstein is not the sort of parent Miguel expected. A frustrated artist, Rachel moved her family from New York in search of a fresh start, but so far New Mexico has not solved any of the problems she brought with her. Miguel loves the work, yet he is surprised to find many of the Rothstein family's customs similar to ones he’s grown up with and never understood. Interwoven throughout the present-day narrative are the powerful stories of the ancestors of Entrada's residents, highlighting the torture, pursuit, and resistance of the Jewish people. A beautiful novel of shared history, Gateway to the Moon is a moving and memorable portrait of a family and its journey through the centuries.
Price: $20, wine and light snacks served

Mary Morris is the author of numerous works of fiction, including the novels The Jazz Palace, A Mother's Love, and House Arrest, and of nonfiction, including the travel memoir classic Nothing to Declare: Memoirs of a Woman Traveling Alone. She is a recipient of the Rome Prize in literature and the 2016 Anisfield-Wolf Award for Fiction. Morris lives in Brooklyn, New York.

"If you haven’t read Mary Morris yet, start here. Now. Immediately."
—Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things

In partnership with Congregation Beth Israel, Temple Emanu-El, Temple Beth-El Mekor Chayim, Temple Sholom, Westfield Hadassah and Temple Beth O'r Beth Torah 

Conversations with Authors: Bible of Dirty Jokes with author Eileen Pollack

Monday, March 11 • 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. 
In this novel, the author brings to life the hilarious and moving history of Borscht Belt comedy, Catskills resorts, and the notorious Jewish mob, Murder Inc. It reads like a cross between The Sopranos and a Sarah Silverman special. 
Price: $8, Member Price: Free,  Stay for lunch - Price: $6.50, Recommended Senior Price: $4.50, reservations are needed three days in advance, contact Alison Rivlin at 908-889-8800 x260 or arivlin@jccnj.org 

Spotlight Speaker
A Father's Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror with author Stephen Flatow

Tuesday, March 26 • 7:30 p.m.
This is the story of one brave father’s determination to bring his daughter’s murderers to justice through the American justice system. Stephen Flatow says he was “just a real estate lawyer in New Jersey” until April 9, 1995. Flatow’s life changed that day when he learned his daughter Alisa, a 20-year-old college student traveling in Israel, had been the victim of a terrorist bus bombing. After he discovered the Iranian government had directly sponsored the bomber, Flatow decided to sue the terror state. Working with a superb Washington lawyer and an astute forensic researcher, Stephen Flatow not only won a dramatic verdict against Iran, but also collected a huge judgment. In A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror, Flatow recalls the events surrounding his successful lawsuit.
Price: $18, Member Price: $15, register by Friday, March 22

Conversations with Authors: He Could Make Words Sing  with author David Greene

Thursday, March 28  • 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. 
Walk through the extraordinarily tumultuous 20th century with Harry Greissman. His story recounts the issues so many Americans faced then and now as we are well into the 21st century. Immigration. Economic deprivation. Lost love. War. Discrimination at work. The transition from urban to suburban life. A working couple raising a family. His story should resonate with most Americans - his story is America’s story. 
Price: $8, Member Price: Free,  Stay for lunch - Price: $6.50, Recommended Senior Price: $4.50, reservations are needed three days in advance, contact Alison Rivlin at 908-889-8800 x260 or arivlin@jccnj.org      

One Book.  One Jewish Community
The Lost Family with author Jenna Blum

Wednesday, April 10 • 7:30 p.m.
The New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us creates a vivid portrait of marriage, family, and the haunting grief of World War II in this emotionally charged, beautifully rendered story that spans a generation, from the 1960s to the 1980s.  In 1965 Manhattan, patrons flock to Masha’s to savor its brisket bourguignon and impeccable service and to admire its dashing owner and head chef Peter Rashkin. With his movie-star good looks and tragic past, Peter, a survivor of Auschwitz, is the most eligible bachelor in town. But Peter does not care for the parade of eligible women who come to the restaurant hoping to catch his eye. He has resigned himself to a solitary life. Running Masha’s consumes him, as does his terrible guilt over surviving the horrors of the Nazi death camp while his wife, Masha—the restaurant’s namesake—and two young daughters perished.  Then exquisitely beautiful June Bouquet, an up-and-coming young model, appears at the restaurant, piercing Peter’s guard. Though she is twenty years his junior, the two begin a passionate, whirlwind courtship. When June unexpectedly becomes pregnant, Peter proposes, believing that beginning a new family with the woman he loves will allow him to let go of the horror of the past. But over the next twenty years, the indelible sadness of those memories will overshadow Peter, June, and their daughter Elsbeth, transforming them in shocking, heartbreaking, and unexpected ways.  Jenna Blum artfully brings to the page a husband devastated by a grief he cannot name, a frustrated wife struggling to compete with a ghost she cannot banish, and a daughter sensitive to the pain of both her own family and another lost before she was born. Spanning three cinematic decades, The Lost Family is a charming, funny, and elegantly bittersweet study of the repercussions of loss and love.
Price: $20, wine and light snacks served

In partnership with Congregation Beth Israel, Temple Emanu-El, Temple Beth-El Mekor Chayim, Temple Sholom, Westfield Hadassah and Temple Beth O'r Beth Torah 

"The Lost Family is an extraordinary read, the kind of book that makes you sob and smile, the kind that gives you hope…. It is compassionate, masterful and disturbingly contemporary."
—Tatiana de Rosnay, bestselling author of Sarah’s Key


 

 

 

 

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