Press Release

Star Power Opens Jewish Book & Arts Festival
Ann and Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book & Arts Festival
Sunday, October 1, 2017
by M Groogan

Star Power Opens Jewish Book & Arts Festival  

Houston, TX – Stephen Tobolowsky returns to his Texas roots and takes the stage to open the Ann and Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book & Arts Festival October 28, 2017 at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston. If the name doesn’t sound familiar his voice and face sure will. The actor/author has more than 250 credits to his name. Some of his most famous roles come from both comedies and dramas from Groundhog Day to Mississippi Burning. He's been on more than 200 TV shows ranging from Deadwood to Glee, most recently Silicon Valley and The Goldbergs. He also tells stories on the popular podcast The Tobolowsky Files

Opening night of the Festival is always free at the J. And this promises to be standing-room-only as Toblolowsky discusses his new book, My Adventures with God. It’s a funny, introspective collection about love, catastrophe and triumph, all told through the lens of his evolving relationship with the mystery that is “God.” Tobolowsky’s stories tell of a boy growing up in the wilds of Texas (a Dallas native), finding and losing love, losing and finding himself—all told through the prism of the Torah and Talmud, mixed with insights from science, and refined through a child’s sense of wonder.

The Jewish Book & Arts Festival is a two-week mecca of arts and culture, October 28 – November 12, that includes not only literary excellence but a live concert, theatre, films, an art exhibit, a book store, culinary events and Oliver Lapin Family Day. This year’s Festival brings more than 20 authors to the stage including Linda Hirshman (Sisters In Law:  How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World), Glenn Frankel (High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic) and two former Houstonians, Stacy Middleman (Dear Cancer, Love Stacy) and Rabbi Evan Moffic (The Happiness Prayer:  Ancient Jewish Wisdom for the Best Was to Live Today). Musical icon, Steve Dorff, closes out the Festival November 12. Having penned dozens of Top 10 hits for pop and country artists around the world, Steve is one of the most successful American song writers and composers of the last 25 years. He chronicles his four decades behind the scenes in his new book, I Wrote That One, Too: A Life in Songwriting from Willie to Whitney.

In a community, where people are still picking up the pieces from Hurricane Harvey, the J hopes that the Jewish Book & Arts Festival offers a “welcome mat” for people to gather and enjoy their shared love of literature and the arts.  The J found out that the authors felt the same way as many, according to Assistant Executive Director Marilyn Hassid, reached out right after Hurricane Harvey in the hopes “the Festival is still happening.”

“I may have helped Mr. November become Man of the Year in 1979, but Houston is the Comeback City of the Year,” said Lou Cove, who will talk about his new book Man of the Year November 2. “What’s more, the fact that the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC has found a way to make the Jewish Book & Arts Festival show go on is a tribute to the community’s resilience, and its nationally-renowned commitment to Jewish arts and culture. I can’t wait to get there so we can share our stories of challenge and renewal with one another.”

For more information about JBAF or to purchase tickets visit or contact Find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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