Two-Week Showcase of Authors and Performers
44 Year Tradition of Authors, Music, Theatre and Films
Saturday, October 1, 2016
by M Groogan

Two-Week Showcase of Authors and Performers

Houston, TX – Evelyn Rubenstein JCC of Houston presents a 44 year tradition of authors, music, theatre and films during the Ann and Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book & Arts Fair, October 29 – November 13, 2016. The two-week mega event offers a daily opportunity to be inspired, informed and entertained through literature, culture and performing arts.

Opening night is free and open to the public and promises to be a literary and culinary feast with Michael Wex (Rhapsody in Schmaltz: Yiddish Food and Why We Can’t Stop Eating It) and Liz Alpern and Jeffrey Yoskowitz (The Gefilte Manifesto). In his book, Wex traces the history and impact of the cuisine that Yiddish-speaking Jews brought to North America. Alpern and Yoskowitz reveal how they’ve revitalized these beloved old-world foods with ingenious new approaches. Moderator Ziggy Gruber, pre-show music and noshes guarantee a delicious opening event.

A hands-on culinary class takes place Sunday, October 30 at 11:00 am with The Gefilte Manifesto authors, Liz and Jeffrey. The duo has transformed their Bubbe’s (Grandmother’s) cooking into modern day delights like quick and creamy farmer cheese, beet borsht, mustard slaw and black and white cookie sticks.

“We’re thrilled about our remarkable lineup this year,” said Evelyn Rubenstein JCC Assistant Executive Director Marilyn Hassid. “Unlike many book fairs, ours is not a fundraiser. It is a cultural and literary event for all ages and all members of the Houston and surrounding communities.”

Highlights include Robert P. Watson whose new book, The Nazi Titanic:  The Incredible Untold Story of a Doomed Ship in World War II, details the riveting account of the SS Cap Arcona that went from being a magnificent German oceanliner to a floating barracks and troop transport, and finally, filled with concentration camp inmates, mistakenly bombed in the final days of the War killing thousands.  Celebrated Israeli writer, Meir Shalev, makes a rare third appearance speaking on his new novel, Two She-Bears:  A Novel that tells the story of village love and vengeance in the early days of British Palestine that is still being played out two generations later.  In Pumpkinflowers:  A Soldier’s Story, Matti Friedman (The Aleppo Codex)  re-creates the harrowing experience of a band of young Israeli soldiers—the author among them—charged with holding a remote outpost in Lebanon.  Part memoir/part reportage/part history, Friedman’s book captures the chaos of the Middle East and the rise of a 21st century type of war.   Guy Bavli—Master of the Mind closes the Fair with his mind-blowing, interactive evening of telekinesis and ESP. 

The Fair also features a staged reading of Arthur Miller’s Broken Glass, five films including Natalie Portman’s A Tale of Love and Darkness and In Search of Israeli Cuisine with director Roger Sherman in attendance.  Blazing hot and tight as a drum, Zion80 brings the New York City Downtown music scene to Houston in a live concert that explores Jewish music from Shlomo Carlebach to John Zorn through the lens of Afrobeat funk.  “…a truly soulful experience” is how the New York Times  describes their music.

Oliver Lapin Family Day on Sunday, November 6 presents several authors who will talk about their works and their process of writing.  Additionally, a live theatre performance by Houston professional actors of a new adaptation of the Caldecott Medal winning children’s book, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins (Eric Kimmel) takes the stage that day as well.

The Book & Arts Fair is designed to educate, enlighten and enrich the Houston community with high quality programs.  Author signings in the bookstore follow all presentations. Visit for a complete schedule and ticket information. The purchase of a series pass guarantees reserved seating at opening and closing nights. Find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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