Virtual Jewish Book & Arts Festival Brings Best-Selling Authors 
Online Festival Offers Author Conversations for Everyone to Enjoy
Tuesday, September 29, 2020

A star-studded line-up of celebrity memoirs, international authors, debut novelists and children and parenting experts encompass the 48th annual Ann and Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book & Arts Festival, brought to the community by the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston (the J). The festival runs November 1-22 and kicks off on Sunday, November 1 at 7:30 p.m. with a talk from Max Brooks, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of World War Z and son of Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft, on his Bigfoot thriller Devolution. 

 This year, as the entirety of the festival is virtual, several best-selling authors with international connections are featured, including Raffi Berg, UK-based author of Red Sea Spies, on Sunday, November 15 at 2:00 p.m. Israeli authors, Natan Sharansky and Gil Troy on their book Never Alone, speak on Sunday, November 8 at 12:00 p.m., and Palestinian-American Yousef Bashir shares his memoir, The Words of My Father, on Thursday, November 5 at 7:30 p.m.

 Esther Amini's memoir, Concealed, is the festival’s Community Read, a shared literary experience for book clubs and individuals. The event will take place on Monday, November 9 at 7:30 p.m.

 “We are so excited to bring authors to Houston who have unique stories to tell,” said Debbie Kaplan, chair of the festival.  “One program I am particularly excited about is the Sneak Preview night on October 22 at 7:30 p.m. Attendees will enjoy an engaging experience centered around one of Hollywood’s dynasties - the Douglas family.” After a screening of the documentary The Untameable Kirk Douglas, his grandson, Cameron Douglas, will speak on his memoir, Long Way Home, which depicts his struggle with addiction

 Other stand-outs include transgender activist and former Hasidic Rabbi, Abby Stein, author of Becoming Eve, on Thursday, November 12 at 7:30 p.m. Laugh about the hassles of aging with Joan Lunden and her novel, Why Did I Come Into This Room?, on Sunday, November 8 at 7:00 p.m. On Monday, November 2 at 7:30 p.m., celebrate the 70th anniversary of Charlie Brown, Snoopy & the Gang with Andrew Blauner and his book, The Peanuts Papers. Listen to Meyerland-native David Biespiel discuss his memoir, A Place of Exodus, on Wednesday, November 11 at 6:00 p.m.

In addition to showcasing talented authors, the festival will also feature two drive-in experiences for a wide-range of audiences to enjoy. Get cozy in your car for the drive-in Oliver Lapin Family Experience on Sunday, November 8 at 6:00 p.m. at Temple Sinai (13875 Brimhurst Drive) and on Sunday, November 15 at 6:00 p.m. at the J! Families will enjoy a fun-filled night with two bedtime stories featuring Lisa Rose, author of A Zombie Vacation, and Erica S. Perl, author of The Ninth Night of Hanukkah. Once the kids go to sleep, at 8:00 p.m. the drive-ins will switch to a showing of the film, Resistance. Jesse Eisenberg stars as Marcel Marceau in this drama about a group of heroes who rise above hatred during World War II.

For more information, including this year’s full virtual lineup, visit

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