The Berkshires' second annual Jewish Festival of Books will take place at Hevreh of Southern Berkshire in Great Barrington, Massachusetts from Thursday, July 26th through Sunday, July 29th.

Co-presented by Hevreh and Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, in partnership with the Jewish Book Council, and with the generous support of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, the festival will feature free and fee-based lectures, teachings and readings by internationally acclaimed authors in genres ranging from adult fiction to children’s literature to cookbooks.

The opening night author on Thursday, July 26th at 7 p.m. is Jewish and Feminist icon Francine Klagsbrun who, among the more than a dozen books she has authored, also edited The First Ms. Reader, and Free to Be ... You and Me. Ms. Klagsbrun will be discussing her latest book, Lioness, the definitive biography of Golda Meir. The book won the top prize at this year’s National Jewish Book Awards when it was recognized as the Everett Family Foundation Book of the Year.

The festival ends with another literary lioness and National Jewish Book Award Winner on its closing day, on Sunday, July 29th at 10 a.m., when Rachel Kadish reads from and discusses her latest novel, the National Jewish Book Award Winning The Weight of Ink, which interweaves the story of two remarkable women and scholars - a 17th century Jewish scribe in London, and the 21st century researcher who discovers her. Ms. Kadish will be interviewed by Judith Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Jewish Women’s Archive, which is co-sponsoring this event.

In between these two signature events, other highlights of the festival include the following:

On Friday, July 27th at 10:45 a.m. renowned Jewish cookbook author, Paula Shoyer, discusses her latest book, The Healthy Jewish Kitchen. Who knew there was such a thing?

That evening, on Friday, July 27th, following the 6:15 p.m. Shabbat evening service, and again at 12 p.m. on Saturday, July 28th immediately following Shabbat morning services at 10 a.m, Rabbi Judith Schindler will share separate teachings from her latest book, Recharging Judaism: How Civic Engagement is Good for Synagogues, Jews, and America. Rabbi Schindler is Rabbi Emerita of Temple Beth El in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Sklut Professor of Jewish Studies and Director of the Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice at Queens University of Charlotte.

Then on Saturday, July 28th at 4 p.m., as part of the internationally acclaimed Drag Queen Story Hour, the festival will feature a Sparkle Havdalah and reading of Leslea Newman’s Sparkle Boy. Children and parents will have the opportunity to get their sparkle on, and enjoy a hands-on Havdalah and some sweet Shabbat treats. All of the other festival events will also offer refreshments, and The Healthy Jewish Kitchen event will include lunch featuring recipes from the book.

For more information, or to make reservations, call Hevreh at 413-528-6378, or visit Hevreh will also have books available for advance purchase in the lobby, which the authors will be happy to sign at the festival.

Hevreh is a center for Jewish Life, Learning, and Community in the southern Berkshires. The Hebrew word "Hevreh" means friendship–a word that states our purpose – to be a community of friends in a Jewish context.

(press release sent to WSBS from Avi Dresener of the Berkshires’ Jewish Festival of Books at Hevreh for online and on-air use) 


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