2009 Program

Rich Cohen

Author of Sweet and Low, The Record Men, The Avengers, Tough Jews, and Lake Effect
Israel is Real: An Obsessive Quest to Understand the Jewish Nation and its History

A superb new history of the Zionist idea and the Jewish state.
Cohen brings to life dozens of fascinating figures from false messiahs, to early Zionists, to founders of the modern Jewish state and shows how all these lives together form a single story, a single life. Cohen examines the myth, paradox, triumph and tragedy of the Jewish state and how the creation of modern Israel has changed what it means to be a Jew.

Website: http://www.rich-cohen.com

– Sponsored by the Samuel and Sophie Weinstein Memorial Lecture Fund

Alan Morinis

Author of Climbing Jacobs’ Ladder and director of the Mussar Institute
Everyday Holiness: The Jewish Spiritual Path of Mussar

Readable, engaging, friendly.
A highly practical set of teachings for cultivating personal growth and spiritual realization. The core teaching is that our inner radiance is obscured by extremes of emotion and desire. Mussar masters developed transformative teachings and practices to help us to heal and refine ourselves.

Website: http://www.mussarinstitute.org

– Sponsored by the Legacies Book of Life Program of the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies


Dara Horn

Author of the award winning novels The World to Come and In the Image
All Other Nights: A Novel

A gripping epic about the great moral struggles of the Civil War.
How is tonight different from all other nights? For Jacob Rappaport, a Jewish soldier in the Union army, it is a question his commanders have answered for him: on Passover in 1862 he is ordered to murder his own uncle, who is plotting to assassinate President Lincoln. The answer comes when his commanders send him on another mission – this time not to murder a spy but to marry one. This novel, full of insight and surprise, is rich in human emotion and ambiguity.

Website: http://www.darahorn.com

– Co-sponsored by area temple sisterhoods

James Gardner

Vice Dean for Academic Affairs at the UB Law School
What are Campaigns For? 

A masterful account by a genuinely learned and gifted academic on a subject that is critical to democracy.
Gardner makes a compelling case that our expectations regarding political campaigns are unrealistic, distracting us from the most formidable challenges that our democracy faces. Adeptly combining history, political science, and law, Gardner argues that we should pay much greater attention to engaging citizens between campaigns rather than just during them.

Website:http://www.law.buffalo.edu/Faculty_And_Staff/dynamic_general_profile.asp?faculty=gardner_james

– Sponsored by the University at Buffalo Law School

Roslyn Bernstein

Journalism and Creative Writing Professor at Baruch College
Boardwalk Stories

Tales of love and dreams closely observed with warmth and candor.
Fourteen linked tales spanning the decades 1950 to 1970 invite us into the private lives of the colorful denizens of communities like Coney Island, Long Beach, the Jersey shore, and the California beach towns. In each story of joy and sorrow, the boardwalk characters are paired with a vintage black-and-white photograph capturing the mood after World War II.

Website: http://www.blueeftpress.com

– Supported by Baruch College, CUNY

Beyond the Pale

Award winning Toronto group performing internationally

The sextet mixes Klezmer, Balkan, and Romanian styles with an eclectic range of North American influences, their diverse musical and cultural backgrounds intersecting in a shared impulse to push the boundaries of contemporary acoustic roots music into new realms. Their exuberant live performances range seamlessly from raucous dance rhythms to intricate chamber-folk dynamics, taking audiences on an invigorating musical ride with stunning virtuosity and thrilling arrangements. The band’s founder, Eric Stein (mandolin, mandocello, cimbalom), is the current artistic Director of Toronto’s biennial Ashkenaz Festival, the world’s largest celebration of Klezmer music and Jewish culture.

Website: http://www.beyondthepale.net

– Concert sponsored by the Shuman Family Foundation
– Reception sponsored by Hillel of Buffalo


Miriam Minkoff

A teacher of sacred drum & dance, Miriam lives and writes in Buffalo
Return to Who You Are

Finding the path to remember and return to who we truly are (Teshuvah).
Minkoff takes the reader on a journey from the tumultuous world of college and San Francisco in the 1960s, through life crises and spiritual encounters with Sufism, Jung, and Kabbalah. She describes her struggle to overcome loss and depression and her journey to find the wisdom to identify her own true path.

Website: http://www.returntowhoyouare.com

– Reception to follow


Sam Magavern

A writer, public interest lawyer, and instructor at UB Law School
Primo Levi’s Universe: A Writer’s Journey

Levi is a survivor and master chronicler of the Holocaust.
Primo Levi’s Universe offers a multifaceted portrait of the heroic man who turned the concentration camp experience into beautiful yet terrifying literature. Through careful readings of Levi’s works, Sam Magavern finally does justice to his calm rationality, dark poetry, essential beliefs and wit. Levi’s art and life are inextricably intertwined, and this book presents them together, allowing each to shed light on the other

Website: http://www.sammagavern.com

– Sponsored by the Tanya Ganson Memorial Lecture

David Sax

Nationally published journalist and writer on a wide range of topics
Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen

A delightful tour of Jewish delicatessens around the world.
David Sax was understandably alarmed by the state of Jewish delicatessen – a cuisine that once sat at the very center of Jewish life had become endangered by assimilation, homogenization, and health food trends. And so David set out on a journey in search of authentic delicatessen. Was it still possible to Save the Deli?

Website: http://www.davidsax.ca

– Co-Sponsored by Nosh Café and Benjamin D. and Julia K. Oppenheimer, DDS

Peter Manseau

New York Times Magazine contributor and published author
Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter: A Novel

Seductive and playful, a serious meditation on loyalty language, love and memory.
A novel of faith lost and hope found. Manseau’s story is at once an immigrant’s epic saga, a love story for the ages, a Yiddish-inflected laughing-through-tears tour of world history for Jews and Gentiles alike, and a testament to Manseau’s ambitious genius. Manseau’s thrilling tale of secrets and revelations captures the diversity among Jews, then and now, in shtetl, city, and kibbutz, and the elemental meaning of bashert, or destiny.

Website: http://www.petermanseau.com


Eileen Angelini

Professor of French and expert on teaching of the Holocaust
The Holocaust in French Film and Literature

Profound and insightful.
Recent French film and literature has explored France’s role in the Holocaust from a variety of viewpoints. Dr. Angelini will use cinematic clips and literary excerpts to highlight different interpretations of the Holocaust and WWII from the French perspective.

– Co-sponsored by The Holocaust Resource Center of Buffalo and the JCC Adult Services Department


Children’s Day Family Hunukkah Party Featuring:

Ellen Frankel & Peter Yarrow

Ellen Frankel
Former CEO and editor-in-chief of The Jewish Publication Society

JPS Illustrated Children’s Bible

An enchanting, beautiful book.
Ellen Frankel has masterfully tailored 53 Bible stories to delight and educate today’s young readers. Frankel retains much of the Bible’s original wording and simple narrative style as she incorporates her own storytelling technique. The full-page color illustrations of each Bible story capture the vivid personalities and dramatic moments in this extraordinary collection.

Website: http://www.jewishpub.org

Bring your family and friends for an afternoon of: – Storytelling – Book signings – Free snacks – Crafts and games – Food for purchase from the JCC café

Peter Yarrow
Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary, Grammy-winner, writer, and activist

Day Is Done

Beautifully illustrated charming interpretation of the 1960s folk song (CD included).
Peter Yarrow follows the success of his book Puff, the Magic Dragon with a picture book version of his beautiful song, “Day Is Done.” As night falls, animal and human parents everywhere tenderly tuck their children into bed. In the darkness, each child-raccoon, doe, rabbit, field mouse, and a little boy-wonders: Will I be safe? Will you be there for me? And every mom and dad responds with the comforting words of Yarrow’s refrain: “Yes, I am here.”

Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Yarrow

Bring your family and friends for an afternoon of: – Storytelling – Book signings – Free snacks – Crafts and games – Food for purchase from the JCC café


David Roskies

Professor of Jewish literature and author of numerous books
Yiddishlands: A Memoir

A fascinating journey across time by a leading scholar of Jewish literature and culture.
Roskies leads readers through Yiddishlands old and new by revisiting his personal and professional experiences and retelling his remarkable family saga in a series of lively, irreverent, and interwoven stories. Beginning with a flashback to his grandmother’s storybook wedding in 1878, Yiddishlands brings to life the major debates, struggles, and triumphs of the modern Yiddish experience, and provides memorable portraits of its great writers, cultural leaders, and educators.

Website: http://wsupress.wayne.edu/yiddishlands

– Reception sponsored by the Buffalo Yiddish Study Group


Josh Lambert

Scholar of Jewish literature, reviewer and essayist
American Jewish Fiction: A JPS Guide

This new volume in the acclaimed Jewish Publication Society Guide series is a fiction reader’s dream.
A comprehensive guide to 125 classic American Jewish novels and short story collections by such celebrated writers as Roth, Mailer, Kellerman, Chabon, Ozick, Heller, and many others. It covers the time period from 1867 to the present. Each entry includes a cogent review of the book, with historical context and background on the author. Suggestions for further reading point to other books that match readers’ interests and favorite writers.

Website: http://www.jewishpub.org/author.php?id=269

– Co-sponsored by Buffalo Hadassah and Jewish Liberal Arts Club

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