2013 Program

Dr. Chana Kotzin

Jewish Community of Greater Buffalo

“The first pictorial history of Jewish life in Buffalo and Niagara Falls from 1840s to the present day featuring stunning vintage photographs that document a dynamic past and a vibrant future.”

The Jewish Community of Buffalo is a photographic journey through more than 150 years of Jewish life in Greater Buffalo and Niagara Falls.  From cherished family photographs to beautiful synagogues images and fascinating shots of agency, volunteer and organizational life, nearly 200 images recall fond memories and pique new interest in local Jewish community life from religious, civic and social perspectives as well as business and family lives.

Sponsored by the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies
A special reception, book sale and signing will follow


Francesca Segal

The Innocents

Winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for FictionWinner!

A smart and slyly funny tale of love, temptation, confusion, and commitment; a triumphant and beautifully executed recasting of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence.

Sponsor Hadassah
Dessert Reception, Book Sale and Signing to Follow


Stu Boyar

Jews in the Game Sports Panel

Channel 2 Sportscaster Stu Boyar moderates a panel of Jewish sports personalities including sports writers Harlan Abbey and  Dr. Neil D. Isaacs, tennis pro Todd Miller, and surprise guests.

Meet Jews who love and live sports. Learn about the challenges of maintaining religious practices, being a minority and having to explain the difference between a putz and a punt to colleagues and teammates.

Sponsored by Reuben’s N.Y. Deli
714 Maple Road (next to Dessert Deli, Maple and North Forest)
Free Knish with any sandwich purchase

Reception to Follow


Dr. Saul Elkin

My Life in the Theatre

What does it means to devote yourself to a life in the theatre? What does it means to devote yourself to a life in the theatre? Dr.  Elkin is the Founding Artistic Director of The Jewish Repertory Theatre of Western New York and has appeared in and directed many JRT productions.

Sponsored by Congregation Havurah
Dessert Reception Following Event


East Meets West:

A Concert of International Jewish Music by Moshe Ben Abraham and Aaron Bensoussan

Be entertained, thrilled and enchanted by the talents of Cantor Aaron Bensoussan and highly-acclaimed musician, arranger and teacher, Moshe Ben Abraham, performing together again. Featuring voice, the oud, classical guitar and piano, this inspiring, soulful and joyful concert will encompass  Jewish music across the spectrum. Sponsored by The Fred H. Sales Music Fund, Temple Beth Tzedek, and Rabbi Avrohom Meir and Chaya Shuman and Family and JCC Cultural Arts


David E. Kaufman

Jewhooing the Sixties

American Celebrity and Jewish Identity

“Kaufman’s book is a packed study of Jewish identity, Jewish celebrity, celebrity in general, celebrity and homosexuality, Jews and homosexuality, and ‘the challenge of balancing universalist tendencies and particular concerns.’  Jewish Review of Books. A lively look at Sandy Koufax, Lenny Bruce, Bob Dylan, and Barbra Streisand,  four major Jewish celebrities of early 1960s America, who together made their mark on both American culture and Jewish identity.

Dessert Reception, Book Sale and Signing to Follow


PJ Library  Special Storytime

Join with other families for a special PJ Library Night!

Children can come in their pajamas and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies while listening to a special PJ Library story.  After the story, children will have fun making a special holiday craft.

PJ Library Giveaways!

A selection of Jewish Children’s books will also be on sale, courtesy of Talking Leaves Bookstore.

Great for holiday gifts!


Global Day of Jewish Learning

Join with Jews from more than 400 communities in 48 countries to participate in more than 600 events on the same day.  This year’s theme is “Creating Together: Jewish approaches to creativity and collaboration.”  We are excited to welcome keynote speaker Rabbi Elyse Goldstein from Toronto, Ontarioan outstanding educator and founder of Kolel: The Adult Centre for Liberal Jewish Learning.

Following the keynote a choice of workshops will be led by:

Rabbi Heschel Greenberg, Rabbi Laizer Labkovski, Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein, Rabbi Perry Netter, Rabbi Gary Pokras, Rabbi Adam Scheldt, Rabbi Joshua Strosberg and Rabbi Moshe Taub.

Sponsored by the Bureau of Jewish Education, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Buffalo, and Congregation B’nai Shalom in memory of Leo Lewis and in cooperation with local synagogues and Jewish organizations.


Letty Cottin Pogrebin

How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick

Quote: “Pogrebin, a veteran feminist, author, and cofounder (with Gloria Steinem) of Ms. magazine, uses her experience with breast cancer…and nearly 80 interviews with friends and patients to craft this bluntly practical and gently humorous guide to the dos and don’ts of caring for the ill.” —Publishers Weekly

Throughout her recent bout with breast cancer, Letty Pogrebin became intrigued by her friends’ and family’s diverse reactions to her and her illness: how awkwardly some of them behaved and how wonderful it was when people read her right. Now Pogrebin has distilled their collective stories, insights, opinions, and ideas into this wide-ranging compendium of concrete guidance, pragmatic tips, and usable wisdom. Her advice is infused with sensitivity, warmth, and often humor, and is embedded in emotionally candid stories from her own journey through illness and her sometimes imperfect interactions with her own sick friends.

Sponsored by the Sam & Sophie Weinstein Fund and, Jewish Philanthropies, and Temple Beth Zion Sisterhood
Dessert Reception, Book Sale and Signing to Follow


Karen Kuflik

Grocery Shopping with God

Grocery Shopping with God is a practical, hands-on guide designed to bring meaning and value to our daily routines. Inspired by classes given by Rebbetzin Esther Baila Schwarz, this book offers tools to make the mundane meaningful. By learning about and applying mitzvahs to our actions, we can infuse spirituality into our everyday lives.

Sponsored by Irv and Marilyn Sultz and the JCC of Greater Buffalo
Dessert Reception and Book Sale and Signing to Follow


Eric Komar

Get Ready for Hanukah Concert!

Part funky jazz, part acoustic folkiness, part bedazzling guitar soloing, part edgy lyricism … all Judaism. This unique amalgam is what has made Eric Komar one of the most sought-after performers in the Jewish world. Joining Eric is a master drummer, Akiva the Believer, who is reintroducing drumming into Jewish prayer settings.

Sponsored by the Shuman Family Foundation
Children’s Books and CD’s will be for sale after the Concert
Hanukkah Cookie Reception to Follow


David Laskin

The Family: Three Journeys into the Heart of 20th Century America

“David Laskin is a practically magical searcher into the past, unearthing long-buried evidence that leads to an amazing family story, and he writes with equal fluency.” —Ivan Doig, author of This House of Sky

With cinematic power and beauty, David Laskin brings to life the upheavals of the 20th century through the story of one family, three continents, two world wars, and the rise and fall of nations. The torrent of history took the scribe’s family down three very different roads.  One branch immigrated to America and founded the fabulously successful Maidenform Bra Company; another went to Palestine as pioneers in Israel; the third branch remained in Europe and suffered the onslaught of the Nazi occupation. The Family is a deeply personal, dramatic, and emotional account of people caught in a cataclysmic time.

Sponsored by Judy and Len Katz
Co-sponsored by the Holocaust Resource Center of Buffalo
Hanukkah Dessert Reception and Book Sale and Signing to Follow


Robert Minkoff

I Dream the Rebbes

I am a storyteller. I think in metaphor and talk in circles. I fill in the gaps. Stories have been in my heart and on my tongue for as long as I can remember. I believe I came by it from the Baal Shem Tov—the Besht. You see, my grandfather, my father’s father, was from Sharograd in the Ukraine. A famous story is told about how the Besht converted Yaakov Yoseph, then Rabbi of Sharograd, to Chassidus by telling stories—first, to the townsmen on their way to morning prayers; then, to the Rabbi himself. I believe, or would like to believe, that a great grandfather of mine was one of those men whose souls were captivated by the Besht’s stories. It’s not unreasonable to assume that I absorbed the love of story from an ancestor who received it from the Baal Shem Tov. So, how could I not long to meet the Holy Baal Shem? How could anyone not . .


The Race to Nowhere

Film & Panel

“Race to Nowhere” is a call to families, educators, experts and policy makers to examine current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens in the 21st century.

Among many others, “Race to Nowhere” features Dr. Wendy Mogel, author of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee and The Blessing of a B Minus, Denise Pope, author of Doing School, and Sara Bennett, author of The Case Against Homework. Appropriate for teens and adults.

Panel discussion following the film

Panelists include Gale Burstein, Erie County Health Commissioner, Renée Fearon, LCSW, David Gordon, MSW, and Robin Raphael, school psychologist.

A concerned mother turned filmmaker aims her camera at the culture of hollow achievement and pressure to perform that has invaded America’s schools.

Co-Sponsored by Jewish Family Service, Kadimah School of Buffalo, and Ellen and Steve Weiss.

Film Website

Film Trailer


Deborah Grayson Riegel

Master Your Time, Master Your Life

Manage Your Time, Manage Your Life will give you the tools, techniques and motivation to consistently communicate with polish, passion and professionalism. Whether you need to present better, supervise more effectively, sell successfully, improve your customer care – or even speak to yourself with greater compassion and drive – this engaging, results-driven workshop will help you, your staff, and your leadership achieve goals more effectively.

Sponsor: Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo
Dessert Reception following event


Mark Federman

Russ and Daughters

A savory wealth of social history, told humorously and endearingly.” —Kirkus Reviews.

Sponsored by Reuben’s N.Y. Deli
Temple Beth Zedek Brotherhood

Untitled Document
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