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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. Generously sponsored by Sandra Sisisky, 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.

This year, Book Fair will run from December 1 to December 11. Stop by and find unique and interesting Judaic gifts for everyone on your holiday shopping list!

Chanukah Gift Shop Hours:
Thursday, December 1*          6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Friday, December 2                 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Saturday, December 3            6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Sunday, December 4               9:30 am – 5:00 pm
Monday, December 5              9:00 am – 5:30 pm
Tuesday, December 6              9:00 am – 5:30 pm
Wednesday, December 7         9:00 am – 7:30 pm
Thursday, December 8            9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Friday, December 9                 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Sunday, December 11              9:30 am – 5:00 pm

*Patrons of the Arts Only Reception

Book Fair Kick-Off with Steve Katz - Blood, Sweat, and My Rock ‘n’ Roll Years…

On paper Steve Katz’s career rivals almost every mega rock star from the 1960s’ and ’70’s. He has three Grammy Awards, three gold records, one platinum record, and one quadruple platinum platter (the second Blood, Sweat & Tears album), not to mention three gold singles with BS&T. All together, he has sold close to 29 million records. He had affairs with famous folk singers, partied with Elizabeth Taylor and Groucho Marx, dined with Rudolf Nureyev, conversed with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Tennessee Williams, hung out with Andy Warhol, jammed with everyone from Mose Allison to Jimi Hendrix, and was told to get a haircut by both Mickey Spillane and Danny Thomas. Set during the Greenwich Village folk/rock scene and behind closed doors on international tours and grueling studio sessions, this is the unlikely story of a rock star as nerd, nerd as rock star, a nice Jewish boy who got to sit at the cool kid’s table and score the hot chicks. Followed by dessert, coffee and book signing.

Kick-off event sponsored by Mark & Susan Sisisky
Patrons of the Arts pre-event reception and early shopping in Gift Shop

Book Fair Event with Jennifer Keishen Armstrong - Seinfeldia

Comedians Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld never thought anyone would watch their silly little sitcom about a New York comedian sitting around talking to his friends. NBC executives didn't think so either—"Too Jewish," they said—but they bought it anyway, hiding it away in the TV dead zone of summer. Nine years later, nearly 40 million Americans were tuning in weekly. Seinfeldia celebrates the creators and fans of this television phenomenon, bringing readers behind the scenes of the show and showing the ways it brought the Jewish culture of modern New Yorkers to a nationwide audience.

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong has written about pop culture for Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times Book Review, Fast Company, New York, BBC Culture, and others. She is the author of Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted, a history of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Presented in Partnership with James River

Writers Book Signing and Reception to Follow

Book Fair Event with Elizabeth Isadora Gold - The Mommy Group

In 2010, seven women met in New York to form a mommy group. Commiserating about the typical issues they faced as new mothers, things became more complicated with postpartum depression and anxiety, developmental delays, and a failed marriage. Through it all, they learned lessons from one another that the "experts" hadn't delivered.

Journalist Elizabeth Isadora Gold reached out to other mommy groups and found that mothers across all class, geographic, religious, and racial boundaries appear to be searching for the same thing: a way to be strong, loving, engaged parents—without losing their sense of self. Her writing about motherhood, books, music, and feminism has appeared in The New York Times, The Believer, Tin House and elsewhere.

Co-Hosted by Weinstein JCC Early Childhood Program

Book Fair Event with Dana Allin - Our Separate Ways

Powerful demographic, cultural, and strategic currents in Israel and the United States are driving the two countries apart. In America, the once solid pro-Israel consensus is being corroded by a deepening divide between conservative Jews who fervently support the Jewish state and the more liberal, more ambivalent Jewish majority. In Israel, surveys of young Jewish citizens reveal a preference for right-of-center parties, a disdain for democracy, and, in some cases, a readiness to curb the civil liberties of non-Jews. Prospects for preserving a liberal Zionism against the pressures for "Greater Israel" are dimming as hopes for a two-state solution fade.

A Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Dana Allin comments and writes widely on the strategic challenges and historical, political and social roots of US foreign policy, with special attention in recent years to America’s Middle East dilemmas. Based in London, his writing has appeared in The Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal and more.

Co-Hosted by The 5400 Club

Book Fair Event with Bill Lascher - Eve of a Hundred Midnights

Eve of a Hundred Midnights tells the gripping account of two married journalists—the grandson of Hollywood real estate pioneer Joseph Stern and a former MGM scriptwriter—who together endured bombs in wartime China and were chased by Japanese forces across the Pacific during World War II.

When Portland-based Bill Lascher began his journalism career, his grandmother gave him an antique typewriter. He learned that it belonged to his grandmother’s cousin, a war correspondent, and he began a reporting adventure discovering the life of his incredible ancestor. A graduate of Oberlin, USC Annenberg, and the Salt Institute, Lascher's reporting appears in such outlets as The Guardian and Pacific Standard.

Co-Hosted by The Jewish Women's Club.

Book Fair Family Event: Jacqueline Jules

Petersburg native Jacqueline Jules returns to the Metro Area to share her wonderful stories and fun! Jules is the author of many books, including The Ziz and the Hanukkah Miracle, Happy Hanukkah Lights, and The Princess and the Ziz!

Jaqueline will engage in an interactive story time with songs, puppets and costume play.

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 2016-17

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.

National Poetry Month Writing Workshop, Poetry Reading and Slam Competition

In the writing workshop, participants are invited to work with award-winning poets Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib and Emi Mahmoud. For the poetry reading, featured poets/slam judges Willis-Abdurraqib, Emi Mahmoud, and Sarah Lawson will read selections of their work. And for the slam competition, 12 local poets will compete for the honor of being named the winner!

These events are presented in partnership with Commonwealth Slam.

Featured Poets and Slam Judges:

Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His poetry has been published in Muzzle, Vinyl, PEN American, and various other journals. His essays and music criticism have been published in The FADER, Pitchfork, and The New York Times. He is a Callaloo Creative Writing Fellow, an interviewer at Union Station Magazine, and a poetry editor at Muzzle Magazine.

Sarah D. Lawson is a DC-based queer writer whose poems are rooted in self, exploring themes of body, love, sexuality & gender. Her work has been featured on Button Poetry & Everyday Feminism, and published by Write Bloody Press, FreezeRay Press, Beltway Poetry Quarterly & Drunk In A Midnight Choir, amongst others. She is the founder of the Beltway Poetry Slam in Washington, DC.

Originating from Darfur and raised in Philadelphia, Emtithal (Emi) Mahmoud was the 2015 Individual World Poetry Slam Champion and one of BBC’s 100 Most Influential Women of 2015. Currently a senior at Yale University, a Leonore Annenberg Scholar, and Global Health Fellow, Emi studies Anthropology and Molecular Biology at Yale in the hopes of one day alleviating structural disparities on maternal and child health in disadvantaged communities the world over. Outside of academics, Emi contributes to an international research initiative and teaches spoken word poetry in order to empower youth with the power of voice in various communities.

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