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Literary Programs & Gift Shop: Learning Through Literature

Through the literary programs of the Patrons of the Arts, the Weinstein JCC brings sought-after authors, celebrities, and influencers to our community, as well as a popular annual book fair.

The Fife-Davis Family Annual Jewish Book Fair

For more than 35 years, the Weinstein JCC has celebrated Jewish books and authors at its annual Book Fair. The goal of this event is to educate the community about Jewish literature and to stimulate discussion and thought regarding current Jewish issues, history, philosophy, literature and poetry. Check below for the dates of this year's fair! 

Book Fair Kick-Off Event with Anita Diamant


Anita Diamant is the author of twelve books. Her first novel, New York Times bestseller The Red Tent, has been published in more than 25 countries. Winner of the 2001 Booksense Book of the Year Award, it was adapted into a two-part miniseries by Lifetime TV. Her other bestselling novels include Good Harbor, The Last Days of Dogtown, Day after Night, and The Boston Girl. Diamant has also written six non-fiction guides to contemporary Jewish life, the first of which, The New Jewish Wedding, has recently been revised and updated as The Jewish Wedding Now. Her other guidebooks include The Jewish Baby Book, Living a Jewish Life, Choosing a Jewish Life, How to Raise a Jewish Child and Saying Kaddish. A collection of her essays, Pitching My Tent, is drawn from twenty years worth of newspaper and magazine columns. An award-winning journalist, her articles have appeared in the Boston Globe Magazine, Real Simple, Parenting Magazine, Hadassah, Reform Judaism, Boston Magazine and Yankee Magazine.

Anita Diamant grew up in Newark, New Jersey and Denver, Colorado. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in comparative literature and holds a Master’s degree in English from Binghamton University. She resides in the Boston area with her husband, Jim Ball.

Sponsored by Sandy Sisisky

Book Fair Event with Roben Farzad: Hotel Scarface


The wild, true story of the Mutiny, the hotel and club that embodied the decadence of Miami’s cocaine cowboys heyday—and an inspiration for the blockbuster film, Scarface.

RVA transplant Roben Farzad hosts the podcast Full Disclosure on NPR and is a special correspondent on PBS NewsHour. He was previously a senior writer for Bloomberg Business Week, where he covered Wall Street, international finance, Latin America, and Miami. Farzad is a graduate of Princeton University and the Harvard Business School. He lives in Richmond with his wife Karen and their two children.

Book Fair Event with Professor Shirley Kagan: The Life and Work of Nora Ephron


Hampden-Sydney College Professor of Drama Shirley Kagan will discuss the many facets and fascinating works of Nora Ephron. One of modern American cinema’s most prolific screenwriters and directors, Ephron was the genius writer behind When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, Silkwood, Julie and Julia – a host of essay collections, journalistic pieces, and recipient of numerous Academy Award nominations. Her only novel turned film, Heartburn was an autobiographical retelling of her divorce from famed Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein. Local actors will also perform selections from Ephron's works. Shirley Kagan is in her 19th year of teaching theatre at Hampden-Sydney. Kagan is also an Associate Artist of Quill Theatre.

Book Fair Event with K.L. Murphy: The Center: From Generation to Generation


In spring 2017, the Weinstein JCC released The Center, a 70th anniversary commemorative book written by K.L. Murphy. She worked for nearly a year with our book team to draft a meaningful representation of the JCC's history and all those who have made it a success.

K. L. Murphy has worked as a freelance writer for several regional publications and is the author of "A Guilty Mind" and "Stay of Execution." She lives in RVA with her husband, four children, and two very large, very hairy dogs. She is currently working on her next novel, "The Last Sin."

Co-hosted by the 5400 Club

Book Fair Event with Anne Blankman


Anne Blankman's debut novel, Prisoner of Night and Fog, was named a "Flying Start" by Publishers Weekly and a Sydney Taylor Notable Book by the Association of Jewish Libraries. The sequel, Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke, was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist and a Romantic Times Top Pick. Her most recent novel, a young adult romantic historical adventure titled Traitor’s Angels, was released in 2016.

Anne Blankman may have been meant to be a writer because her parents named her for Anne of Green Gables. She graduated from Union College with degrees in English and history, which comes in handy when she writes historical fiction. After earning a master's degree in information science, Anne began working as a youth services librarian. Currently, she lives in Richmond with her family. When she's not writing young adult fiction, she's working at her amazing library branch, learning to knit (badly), and reading.

Co-hosted by the Jewish Women's Club 

Book Fair Event with Nancy Wright Beasley


In 1998, Nancy was so moved by the stories re-created in the Virginia Holocaust Museum that she began researching the experiences of the Israel “Izzy” Ipson family and members of four other Jewish families who lived in Lithuania during World War II. Her research helped document how 13 Jews survived the Holocaust by living in a 9’x12’x 4’ underground hole, their lives sustained by a poor Catholic farm family and became the award-winning book: Izzy’s Fire: Finding Humanity in the Holocaust.

Beasley’s second book focusing on the Holocaust, The Little Lion, was published in 2016 and told the story of Laibale Gillman, a Lithuanian teen who sacrificed his life implementing a plan that would save the lives of family members – at a time when some 40,000 individuals were being executed within a few miles.

Nancy Wright Beasley’s journalistic career spans 35 years, including seven years as a state correspondent for The Richmond News Leader from 1979-1986. She has been a personal columnist and a contributing editor for Richmond Magazine since 1998 and has written national award-winning columns and articles for that magazine, as well as several other publications.

Book Fair Family Event: Songs & Stories of Shel Silverstein


Local performer Ken Kellner will honor the works of beloved children’s book author Shel Silverstein through storytelling and music! Silverstein was an American poet, singer-songwriter, cartoonist, screenwriter, and author of children's books. Translated into more than 30 languages, his books have sold over 20 million copies.

Ken Kellner is a Richmond-based musician who performs with multiple groups around the area. He is also a music teacher at J.E.B. Stuart Elementary school. He is passionate about youth, music, the arts and the Richmond community!

Book Fair Event: Lunch with Chef Rossi


Rossi, who credits America as her home town, grew up in a camper wedged on the top of a Ford pick-up truck and had visited most of the country by the time she was 10 years old. She grew up “orthodox light” (her family kept the meat and dairy dishes separate but ate McDonalds’ fish sandwiches). Her wacky sense of humor and international food fusions reflect her Hungarian Yiddish background and her love of all things loaded with flavor.

Her book, The Raging Skillet, is one woman’s story of cooking her way through some of life’s biggest challenges in New York City’s most unlikely kitchens. The book features anecdotes from a life of food plus recipes—ranging from pizza bagels to tuna tartare—to close each section.

*This event includes lunch with menu items suggested by Chef Rossi. Lunch and book talk with be followed by coffee, dessert and book signing. Friend of the Arts and Artist level Patrons subscribers pay $10 for lunch 804.285.6500 weinsteinjcc.org (book talk and dessert included). All sponsorship levels ($1,500+) receive this event as part of their package.

Weinstein JCC Gift Shop

The Weinstein JCC Gift Shop has the largest and best selection of new Chanukah and Judaic items!

Everyone is invited to shop for all gift giving occasions—Chanukah, Bar & Bat Mitzvahs, anniversaries, birthdays, hostess gifts, new baby gifts, teacher’s gifts, etc. We also have a large selection of Judaica for all your needs throughout the year—Menorahs, Shabbat candlesticks, Mezzuzot, Kiddush cups, Tzedakah boxes and a large selection of jewelry and housewares.

Questions about the Gift Shop? Call (804) 285-6500.

Visiting Authors Series

Every year, thousands of book lovers come together at the Center to explore writings, hear author’s takes on their work, and interact with celebrated authors in a variety of forums. Our events include author meet-and-greets, book signings, a community read, panel discussions, children and teen’s activities, and more. Check below for information on this year's authors.

Book Fair Event with Anne Blankman


Anne Blankman's debut novel, Prisoner of Night and Fog, was named a "Flying Start" by Publishers Weekly and a Sydney Taylor Notable Book by the Association of Jewish Libraries. The sequel, Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke, was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist and a Romantic Times Top Pick. Her most recent novel, a young adult romantic historical adventure titled Traitor’s Angels, was released in 2016.

Anne Blankman may have been meant to be a writer because her parents named her for Anne of Green Gables. She graduated from Union College with degrees in English and history, which comes in handy when she writes historical fiction. After earning a master's degree in information science, Anne began working as a youth services librarian. Currently, she lives in Richmond with her family. When she's not writing young adult fiction, she's working at her amazing library branch, learning to knit (badly), and reading.

Co-hosted by the Jewish Women's Club 

Book Fair Event with Nancy Wright Beasley


In 1998, Nancy was so moved by the stories re-created in the Virginia Holocaust Museum that she began researching the experiences of the Israel “Izzy” Ipson family and members of four other Jewish families who lived in Lithuania during World War II. Her research helped document how 13 Jews survived the Holocaust by living in a 9’x12’x 4’ underground hole, their lives sustained by a poor Catholic farm family and became the award-winning book: Izzy’s Fire: Finding Humanity in the Holocaust.

Beasley’s second book focusing on the Holocaust, The Little Lion, was published in 2016 and told the story of Laibale Gillman, a Lithuanian teen who sacrificed his life implementing a plan that would save the lives of family members – at a time when some 40,000 individuals were being executed within a few miles.

Nancy Wright Beasley’s journalistic career spans 35 years, including seven years as a state correspondent for The Richmond News Leader from 1979-1986. She has been a personal columnist and a contributing editor for Richmond Magazine since 1998 and has written national award-winning columns and articles for that magazine, as well as several other publications.

Book Fair Event: Lunch with Chef Rossi


Rossi, who credits America as her home town, grew up in a camper wedged on the top of a Ford pick-up truck and had visited most of the country by the time she was 10 years old. She grew up “orthodox light” (her family kept the meat and dairy dishes separate but ate McDonalds’ fish sandwiches). Her wacky sense of humor and international food fusions reflect her Hungarian Yiddish background and her love of all things loaded with flavor.

Her book, The Raging Skillet, is one woman’s story of cooking her way through some of life’s biggest challenges in New York City’s most unlikely kitchens. The book features anecdotes from a life of food plus recipes—ranging from pizza bagels to tuna tartare—to close each section.

*This event includes lunch with menu items suggested by Chef Rossi. Lunch and book talk with be followed by coffee, dessert and book signing. Friend of the Arts and Artist level Patrons subscribers pay $10 for lunch 804.285.6500 weinsteinjcc.org (book talk and dessert included). All sponsorship levels ($1,500+) receive this event as part of their package.

For more information about Literacy Programs at the Weinstein JCC, contact Cultural Arts & Jewish Education Director Erin Mahone at 545-8644 or emahone@weinsteinjcc.org.