Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
or Esc

Book Festival of the MJCCA Announces 2017 Author Lineup, November 4 – 20, 2017

From November 4 – 20, 2017, the Book Festival of the MJCCA will celebrate 26 years of bringing culture and conversation to the greater Atlanta community. This Book Festival repertoire of 45+ authors has something to offer all book lovers. More than 13,000 people from across the Southeast will come to engage with and listen to their favorite local, national, and international authors. Most events will be held at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (MJCCA), 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody.

Contact: Online:; Phone: 678.812.4005; E-mail:

Ticket Info: Individual tickets can be purchased, or guests can purchase a series pass – MJCCA Member: $120, Community: $145. Some events are free.

Book Festival of the MJCCA Co-Chairs

“The 26th Edition of the Book Festival of the MJCCA features everyone from renowned political figures and historians, to award-winning novelists and local luminaries. Book topics range from scientific breakthroughs to fascinating biographies, from untold stories about the Holocaust to World War II epics, from brilliant Jewish humor to unwritten rules for sports fans,” said Book Festival Co-Chair Bea Grossman. “We truly have something for everyone – book lover or not.”

“Personally, I think this festival’s author lineup is one of our best to date. Some of this year’s highlights include a live musical performance from one of the most prolific Jewish songwriters today, Steve Dorff; a delicious dessert reception with Lisa Lillien, AKA ‘The Hungry Girl’; and a fun Intown program at The Rich Theatre with ‘the most interesting man in the world,’ Jonathan Goldsmith,” explains Book Festival Co-Chair Dee Kline. “Additionally, we are pleased to bring back our In Conversation’ interviews between authors and local journalists, and various events with book clubs throughout the city.”

Author Lineup:

  • Opening Night – Saturday, November 4, 8:15 pm


(Tickets: Member $30 / Community $35 / All tickets include a paperback copy of the book)

From Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer comes a fascinating account of how a globalized and interdependent world influences the deliberations of America’s highest court. In this original, far-reaching, and timely book, Justice Stephen Breyer examines the work of the Supreme Court of the United States in an increasingly interconnected world, a world in which all sorts of activity, both public and private—from the conduct of national security policy to the conduct of international trade—obliges the court to understand and consider circumstances beyond America’s borders. Written with unique authority and perspective, The Court and the World reveals an emergent reality few Americans observe directly but one that affects the life of every one of us.

  • Sunday, November 5, 12:00 pm – (Member: $10 / Community: $15)


Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and journalist Glenn Frankel tells the story of the making of High Noon, a low-budget western written and produced by two sons of Jewish immigrants, Carl Foreman and Stanley Kramer, and directed by a Jew from Vienna, Fred Zinnemann. Now considered the finest example of the Great American Western and one of the most revered movies of Hollywood’s golden era, High Noon garnered four Academy Awards in 1953, including a best actor win for Gary Cooper. Yet what has been largely overlooked is that High Noon was made during the height of the Red Scare and the Hollywood blacklist, a time of political inquisition and personal betrayal—a time with distinctive echoes of our own perilous political era. Jews were the main targets of the “Red hunters,” and Jewish studio heads and community leaders faced a crisis of conscience.

  • Sunday, November 5, 3:00 pm – (Member: $10 / Community: $15)

GAIL SALTZ, The Power of Different
      With special guest Dylan Dickson, author of Why Can’t I Read?

In The Power of Different, psychiatrist and bestselling author Gail Saltz examines the latest scientific discoveries, profiles famous geniuses who have been diagnosed with all manner of brain “problems”―including learning disabilities such as dyslexia, ADD, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and autism―and tells the stories of lay individuals to demonstrate how specific deficits in certain areas of the brain are directly associated with the potential for great talent. Saltz shows how the very conditions that cause people to experience difficulty at school, in social situations, at home, or at work, are inextricably bound to creative, disciplinary, artistic, empathetic, and cognitive abilities.

DYLAN DICKSON, Why Can’t I Read?

Told from the perspective of 8-year-old debut author Dylan Dickson, Why Can't I Read? tells the story about how one child finds out and copes with being identified as dyslexic. This honest and perfectly charming book features characters whose names are all palindromes and is certain to help other children and their parents understand what it means to be dyslexic. As one reader remarked, "This book should come with a box of tissues — so many happy tears!" This is a story of resilience and hope.

  • Sunday, November 5, 7:30 pm – (Member: $18 / Community: $25)

WALTER ISAACSON, Leonardo da Vinci
Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo da Vinci’s astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Walter Isaacson, the author of the acclaimed bestsellers Steve Jobs, Einstein, and Benjamin Franklin, brings the Renaissance man to life in this exciting new biography. Isaacson shows how Leonardo’s genius was based on skills we can improve in ourselves, such as passionate curiosity, careful observation, and an imagination so playful that it flirted with fantasy.

University Professor of History at Tulane, Walter Isaacson has been CEO of the Aspen Institute, chairman of CNN, and editor of Time magazine. He is the author of Leonardo da Vinci; The Innovators; Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography, and the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made.

  • Monday, November 6, 12:00 pm – (Member: $10 / Community: $15)

One Program; Two Authors

In The Body Builders, Adam Piore contributing editor at Popular Science and Discover Magazine, takes us on a fascinating journey into the field of bioengineering—which can be used to reverse engineer, rebuild, and augment human beings—and paints a vivid portrait of the people at its center. Chronicling the ways new technology has retooled our physical expectations and mental processes, Piore profiles people who have regrown parts of their fingers and legs after terrible traumas, dips into the race to create “Viagra for the brain,” and shadows the doctors trying to give mute patients the ability to communicate telepathically. The new scientific frontier is the human body, and the greatest engineers of our generation have turned their sights inward –their work is beginning to revolutionize mankind.

In The Gene Machine, award-winning journalist Bonnie Rochman asks the questions: is screening for disease in an embryo a humane form of family planning or a slippery slope toward eugenics? Should doctors tell you that your infant daughter is genetically predisposed to breast cancer? Rochman deftly explores these hot-button questions, guiding us through the new frontier of gene technology and how it is transforming medicine, bioethics, and health care. Rochman tells the stories of scientists working to unlock the secrets of the human genome; genetic counselors and spiritual advisers guiding parents through life-changing choices; Along the way, she highlights the most urgent ethical quandary: Is this technology a triumph of modern medicine or a Pandora’s box of possibilities?

  • Monday, November 6, 7:30 pm – (Member: $15 / Community: $20)

STEVE DORFF, I Wrote That, Too: My Life in Songwriting from Willie to Whitney

This Program features a live musical performance

One of the most successful songwriters and composers of the last 25 years, Grammy-nominee Steve Dorff has penned more than 20 Top 10 hits for pop and country artists, including Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Blake Shelton, Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers, Ray Charles, Anne Murray, Whitney Houston, George Strait, Dolly Parton, Cher, Dusty Springfield, Ringo Starr, and Garth Brooks. He has written the theme songs for popular sitcoms such as Growing Pains, Major Dad, Murder She Wrote, Reba, and scored several films, including Any Which Way but Loose

In this memoir, Dorff chronicles his four decades behind the music and gives anecdotes and insights into his journey. The book follows Steve from his childhood in Queens to his college days as a TEP at the University of Georgia to Manhattan, Nashville and to his eventual arrival in Los Angeles. An industry stalwart who continues to write and perform all over the world, Dorff is the recipient of 40 BMI awards and 11 Billboard awards.

  • Tuesday, November 7, 12:00 pm – (Member: $10 / Community: $15)

One Program; Two Authors

When a DNA test reveals long-buried secrets, three generations of women reunite on Cape Cod for the homecoming of a lifetime. Marin Bishop has always played by the rules, and it's paid off: at 28, she has a handsome fiancé, a prestigious Manhattan legal career, and the hard-won admiration of her father. But one moment of weakness leaves Marin unemployed and alone, all in a single day. Then a woman claiming to be Marin's half-sister shows up. Seeking escape, Marin agrees to a road trip to meet the grandmother she never knew she had. It's all Marin can do not to break down completely. As the summer unfolds at her grandmother's quaint beachside B&B, it becomes clear that the truth of her half-sister is just the beginning of revelations that will change Marin's life forever. The Forever Summer is a delicious page-turner and a provocative exploration of what happens when our notions of love, truth, and family are put to the ultimate test.

In Marilyn Simon Rothstein’s hilarious debut novel, Marcy Hammer, the Jewish mother of three grown children, finds herself standing in the 10-items-or-less aisle in the supermarket after her husband of 33 years, brassiere king Harvey Hammer, commits the ultimate cliché and leaves her for a 32DD lingerie model. On top of that, the new girlfriend is pregnant with Harvey’s baby, and Harvey has suddenly gone missing, Marcy’s mom is in the hospital, her daughter is having an affair with a married man, and her new best friend has a secret. Life may be full of setbacks, but Marcy knows that all she needs to get through it all is a good support system, her self-respect, and a party-size bag of chips.

  • Tuesday, November 7, 7:30 pm – (Member: $10 / Community: $15)

HARRY MAZIAR, Story Selling

The Program will be In Conversation with Jared Powers, MJCCA CEO

Atlantan Harry Maziar is many things to many people. To those in the business community, he is the consummate sales professional, the first Executive in Residence at Kennesaw State University, and the retired CEO of National Service Industries, an organization with more than 2,000 representatives. At the MJCCA, he’s a revered past president, a former Governance Board co-chair, a board Trustee, and just the nicest darn guy you’ll ever meet!  But to everyone who knows him, Harry is one thing above all else — a gifted storyteller. In his first book, Story Selling, Harry relates 50 unforgettable stories that teach (not preach!) readers important lessons about sales and life. Bernie Marcus said it best when he described Story Selling as the “print version of Harry Maziar”: smart, witty, thought-provoking, and, just like the author himself, memorable!

  • Wednesday, November 8, 12:00 pm – (Member: $15 / Community: $20)

lisa lillien, Hungry Girl Clean & Hungry OBSESSED!

A dessert reception featuring recipes from the book will follow.

Lisa Lillien (AKA Hungry Girl) is not a nutritionist. She’s just hungry. She has sold millions of books by serving up clever and deliciously easy recipes with low calorie counts, huge portions, and easy-to-find ingredients that are good for you. What started as a daily email to family and friends has turned into a nationwide multimedia phenomenon that includes a weekly column on, regular contributions to Redbook magazine, and recurring appearances on television shows like Good Morning AmericaThe View, and The Dr. Oz Show.

With 11 New York Times bestsellers under her belt, Lisa has taken things to the next level with her latest, Hungry Girl Clean & Hungry OBSESSED! Keeping in line with the current clean-eating food trend, she's taken on the beloved foods that Americans are OBSESSED with―comfort foods, junk foods, international favorites, desserts, and more! Join us for a rare Atlanta appearance and meet the woman behind the brand – live and in person!

  • Wednesday, November 9, 7:30 pm – (Member: $15 / Community: $20)

JEFF ROSSEN, Rossen to the Rescue

Do you know where to take shelter in an earthquake? How to bust a lying car mechanic? Save money at the store? Jeff Rossen, NBC national investigative correspondent and the host of the Today show’s Rossen Reports, explains how to solve our most harrowing problems, such as: how to put out a kitchen fire, find bedbugs, avoid rip-offs, and even how to survive a plane crash.

In Rossen to the Rescue, he includes daring experiments, expert advice, and game plans for handling all the wild cards in life―big and small―while sharing personal, and sometimes embarrassing, anecdotes that he couldn’t tell on television. Overflowing with never-before-seen tips and tricks, this book is filled with enough hacks to keep you and your family safe…and it just might save your life.

  • Thursday, November 9, 10:00 am – (Free to the Community)


The Program will be In Conversation with Sandra Gordy

Coffee and treats, compliments of Jewish Home Life Communities, will be served following the author presentation.

At 90 years old, Sam Massell could easily be called one of the most influential founding fathers of modern Atlanta. For the past six decades, he has excelled in four careers, including 20 years in commercial real estate, 22 years in elected offices, 13 years in the tourism industry, and is now in his 30th year of association management as the president of the Buckhead Coalition.

In 1969, Massell was elected the first Jewish mayor of Atlanta. Politically, he changed Atlanta’s city elections to nonpartisan, allowed Muhammad Ali to fight when 50 other cities would not, established metro Atlanta’s mass transit system (MARTA), appointed the first woman to the City Council, and developed the Omni, Atlanta’s first enclosed arena. Written by local author and Pulitzer Prize nominee Charles McNair, Play it Again Sam is a must-read for anyone interested in Atlanta politics – then and now.

  • Thursday, November 9, 12:30 pm – (Member: $10 / Community: $15)


In Ten Dollars to Hate, author Patricia Bernstein tells the story of the massive Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the first prosecutor in the nation, 29-year-old Texan, Dan Moody, to successfully convict and jail Klan members. Bernstein also describes in detail the beginnings of the Ku Klux Klan in Atlanta in 1915 and the rapid growth of the organization in 1920, when the founder, failed preacher William J. Simmons, was joined by Edward Clarke and Elizabeth Tyler of Atlanta’s Southern Publicity Association. Tyler, who was also a notorious madam in Atlanta’s red-light district, was the real driving force behind the phenomenal growth of the “second” KKK.

The beautiful home she built with her ill-gotten gains from the Klan can still be seen in Buckhead today. It was she who developed the notion that the Ku Klux Klan should cater to all prejudices, not just racism. She designed a Klan that was also anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, and opposed to social change—something for everyone.

  • Thursday, November 9, 7:00 pm – (Free and Open to the Community)

KRISTALLNACHT COMMEMORATIONAt the MJCCA’s Besser Holocaust Memorial Garden

With Guest Speaker Alexandra Zapruder

Please join Marlene and Abe Besser, Rabbi Brian Glusman, and Alexandra Zapruder, one of the founding members of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, at the beautiful Besser Holocaust Memorial Garden as we light the torches and pay tribute to those who lost their lives during one of the most horrific nights in Jewish history.

  • Thursday, November 9, 7:30 pm – (Member: $15 / Community: $20)



Abraham Zapruder didn't know when he ran home to grab his home movie camera on November 22, 1963, that this single spontaneous decision would change his family's life for generations to come. Zapruder's film of the JFK assassination is now shown in every American history class, included in Jeopardy and Trivial Pursuit questions, and referenced in novels and films.

It is the most famous example of citizen journalism, but few know the complicated legacy of the film itself. Now Abraham's granddaughter, National Jewish Book Award-winner Alexandra Zapruder, tracks the film's torturous journey through history. Part biography, part family history, and part historical narrative, Zapruder demonstrates how one man's unwitting moment in the spotlight shifted the way politics, culture, and media intersect, bringing about the larger social questions that define our age.

  • Friday, November 10, 12:00 pm – (Member: $10 / Community: $15)

One Program; Two Authors

The Other Einstein offers us a window into a brilliant, fascinating woman whose light was lost in Einstein's enormous shadow. It is the story of Einstein's wife, Mitza Maric, a brilliant physicist in her own right, whose contribution to the special theory of relativity is hotly debated and may have been inspired by her own profound and very personal insight. While most 20-year-olds were wives, Mitza was studying physics at an elite Zurich university with only male students trying to outdo her clever calculations. When fellow student Albert Einstein takes an interest in her, her world turns sideways. Theirs becomes a partnership of the mind and of the heart, but there might not be room for more than one genius in a marriage.

  • JANE HEALEY, The Saturday Evening Girls Club: A Novel

Author Jane Healey was inspired to write about The Saturday Evening Girls Club after learning about the group’s history while researching an article about their namesake pottery, also known as Paul Revere Pottery. She became fascinated by the true but relatively unknown stories of these enterprising young immigrant women and the result was this page-turning and enormously readable book about four young immigrant women living in Boston’s North End in the early 1900s. For them, escaping tradition doesn’t come easy, but at least they have one another and the Saturday Evening Girls Club, a social pottery-making group offering respite from their hectic home lives—and hope for a better future. The friends face family clashes and romantic entanglements, career struggles and cultural prejudice. But through each other, they’ll draw strength—and the courage to transform their immigrant stories into the American lives of their dreams.

  • Saturday, November 11, 8:00 pm – (Member: $18 / Community: $25)

REZA ASLAN, God: A Human History

Reza Aslan, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Zealot, and host of Believer, explores humanity’s quest to make sense of the divine, and sounds a call to embrace a deeper, more expansive understanding of God. In his most personal book to date, God: A Human History, Aslan explores the origin of religion and how different ideas of God have both united, and divided us for millennia. At the nucleus of his provocative new work is one idea that has spanned time, locations, and cultures: the concept of the “humanized god”—a supercharged, divine version of ourselves. Whether you believe in one God, many gods, or no god at all, God: A Human History will transform the way you think about the divine and its role in our everyday lives.

  • Sunday, November 12, 12:00 pm – (Member: $10 / Community: $15)

One Program; Two Authors

Award-winning foreign correspondent and bestselling author Peter Eisner tells the thrilling story of espionage and deception set in the exotic landscape of occupied Manila during World War II. On January 2, 1942, Japanese troops marched into Manila unopposed by U.S. forces. Manila was a strategic port and a romantic American outpost. Tokyo saw its conquest of the Philippines as the key in its plan to control all of Asia, including Australia. Thousands of soldiers surrendered and were sent on the notorious 80-mile Bataan Death March. But thousands of other Filipinos and Americans refused to surrender and hid in the Luzon hills above Bataan and Manila. MacArthur's Spies is the story of three of them, and how they successfully foiled the Japanese for more than two years, sabotaging Japanese efforts and preparing the way for MacArthur’s return.

Acclaimed historian Steven J. Ross tells the chilling, little-known story of the rise of Nazism in LA and the Jewish leaders and spies they recruited to stop it. No American city was more important to the Nazis than Los Angeles, home to Hollywood, the greatest propaganda machine in the world. The Nazis plotted to kill the city's Jews and to sabotage the nation's military installations: plans existed for hanging 20 prominent Hollywood figures such as Al Jolson, Charlie Chaplin, and Samuel Goldwyn; for driving through Boyle Heights and machine-gunning as many Jews as possible; and for blowing up defense installations and seizing munitions from National Guard armories along the Pacific Coast.

  • Sunday, November 12, 3:30 pm – (Member: $10 / Community: $15)

MICHAEL BAR-ZOHAR, Phoenix: Shimon Peres and the Secret History of Israel

Israeli bestselling author and former Emory University professor Michael Bar-Zohar begins this well-researched biography with the young Shimon Peres, who, operating in secrecy, was the builder of Israel’s military might. As Director General of the Defense Ministry, he built Israel’s aircraft industry; and was the architect of the 1956 Sinai Campaign during the Suez Crisis. During this time, Peres and David Ben-Gurion secretly began development on Israeli’s nuclear program.

Twice elected prime minister of Israel, he also co-won a Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the Oslo Accords with Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. He was elected president of Israel in 2007 and died in 2016 at the age of 93. Bar-Zohar, also David Ben Gurion’s official biographer, writes with first-hand knowledge about the man who became an Israeli legend.

  • Sunday, November 12, 7:30 pm – (Member: $15 / Community: $20)

SARGE, Black Boychik

Black Boychik chronicles the hilarious, awe-inspiring journey of Steven Charles Pickman, who was born to an Orthodox Jewish woman and a black man in 1961, traded for a babka, and later adopted by a white Jewish couple from Long Island.  A piano virtuoso as a child, Sarge, as he’s now known nationwide, discovered alcohol and drugs as a way of coping with his addictions, but soon found himself homeless and addicted on the streets of Manhattan. Getting clean and sober in 1990 led to his meteoric rise through the ranks in the ultra-competitive stand-up comedy business, Today, Sarge is a husband, father, son, mentor to thousands, and is one of the most hilarious, high-energy, triple-threat entertainers working anywhere in the country.

  • Monday, November 13, 10:00 pm – (Free to the Community)

PAMELA SAMPSON, No Reply: A Jewish Child Aboard the MS St. Louis

With special guest Holocaust Survivor HENRY GALLANT  

When the MS St. Louis ocean liner pulled out of the Hamburg harbor on May 13, 1939, ten-year-old Heinz (Henry) and his parents, Hermann and Rita Goldstein, were onboard, along with more than 900 German Jews fleeing Hitler. Bound for Cuba where they hoped to find refuge while waiting for visas to enter the United States, they were unceremoniously turned away by the Cuban government and subsequently, the United States and Canada. The ship’s captain had no choice but to turn back to Europe, where many passengers were delivered into the lethal hands of the Nazis.

In 2014, journalist and local author Pamela Sampson was so moved when she heard Holocaust survivor Henry Goldstein Gallant’s account of his family’s harrowing struggle aboard the doomed ship that she convinced him to write his memoirs and then set about helping him do so. The result is No Reply, Henry’s stunning first-person account aboard the ill-fated ship that came to be known as the “Voyage of the Damned.” 

  • Monday, November 13, 12:30 pm – (Member: $10 / Community: $15)

One Program; Two Authors

From Pam Jenoff, author of the International bestseller, The Kommandant’s Girl, comes The Orphan’s Tale, the New York Times bestseller that critics have called the love child of Kristin Hannah’s Nightingale and Sara Gruen’s Like Water for Elephants. Jenoff skillfully relates the powerful story of sixteen-year-old Noa, who has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier. She is forced to give up her baby and moves into a small room above a rail station, which she cleans to earn her keep. After discovering a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, Noa is reminded of her own lost child and grabs a baby, fleeing into the night. She takes refuge with a German circus, where she meets Astrid, the lead aerialist. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond, but later, the women must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another—or if their secrets will destroy everything.

Mark Sullivan, the acclaimed author the #1 New York Times bestselling Private series, which he writes with James Patterson, turns his talents to this epic wartime saga based on the true story of a young Italian boy’s efforts to thwart the Nazis. Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or Nazis. When his home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior. Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier where he is recruited to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most powerful commanders. With the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna.

  • Monday, November 13, 7:30 pm – (Member: $18 / Community: $25)

JOY MANGANO, Inventing Joy

As the visionary entrepreneur and inventor of the Miracle Mop®, Huggable Hangers®, SpinBall® luggage, and hundreds of other successful products, Joy Mangano carved her own path to fame and fortune with courage, creativity, and sheer force of will—all against the longest of odds. Yet Joy believes the skills and tools she used along the way are available to us all, no matter our dreams or circumstance. In her deeply personal and inspirational book, Joy shares poignant and relatable stories about her childhood, her family, her career, and her ultimate mission—to live a life that brings “True Joy” to her and all those around her.

Joy herself appears live on HSN about fourteen times per year, reaching over ninety million homes.  She was the subject of the 2015 hit film, Joy, where she was played by actress Jennifer Lawrence.

  • Tuesday, November 14, 12:00 pm – (Member: $10 / Community: $15)

NICOLE KRAUSS, Forest Dark: A Novel

Nicole Krauss, National Book Award finalist and the New York Times bestselling author of Great House and The History of Love, masterfully weaves two stories of personal transformation into a complex narrative. Delving fearlessly into issues of identity, purpose, the rejection of convention, and the possibility of looking beyond ourselves toward the infinite, Krauss has produced her most ambitious novel to date – and her first in seven years. With its innovative use of concurrent stories about two characters in crisis, who, on the surface, share only the convergence of place – the Israeli desert — Forest Dark is a profound exploration of how we control our own narrative and how that narrative controls us.

  • Tuesday, November 14, 7:30 pm – (Member: $18 / Community: $25)

This program will be held at the Rich Theatre, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree Street, NE, Atlanta

One Program; Two Authors

  • JONATHAN GOLDSMITH, Stay Interesting: I Don’t Always Tell Stories About My Life, but When I Do They’re True and Amazing

Jonathan Goldsmith is recognized around the world for his iconic role as the Dos Equis "Most Interesting Man in the World." In Stay Interesting, Goldsmith reveals the unbelievable stories of his life and offers us a manifesto about living boldly. He spent years as a young man racking up over 500 television and movie credits, starring opposite some of the greats such as John Wayne and Judy Garland. But his most significant role came about after he had spent 10 years away from the industry and was living out of his truck in Malibu. From his childhood in the Bronx to becoming a struggling actor (at one point, he even drove a garbage truck), Goldsmith has seen – and done – it all. Along the way, he competed for acting roles alongside Dustin Hoffman, went drinking with Tennessee Williams, and had a bromance with former president Barack Obama.

After moving to New York City in her mid-twenties to pursue her dream of writing, Jen Glantz looked forward to a future of happy hours and Sunday brunches with her besties. What she got instead were a string of phone calls that began with, "I'd be honored if you would be my bridesmaid." At first, she was delighted, but it wasn’t long before she realized two things: all of her assets were tied up in bridesmaid dresses, and she herself was no closer to finding The One. One (slightly tipsy) night, Jen posted an ad on Craigslist advertising her services as a professional bridesmaid. When she woke up the next morning, it had gone viral. What began as a half-joke suddenly turned into a lifetime of adventure for Jen as she walked down the aisle at stranger after stranger's weddings.

  • Wednesday, November 15, 10:00 am – (Member: $5 / Community: $5)

FILM SCREENING: Streit’s Matzo and the American Dream

In the heart of New York’s rapidly gentrifying Lower East Side stand four tenement buildings that housed the Streit’s Matzo factory since 1925. An iconic New York institution and a fifth-generation family business, the Streit’s factory and the Streit family itself have long held firmly to tradition. Though the factory seems a century removed from the world around it, even Streit’s is not immune from the forces that challenge manufacturing and family businesses everywhere. Matzo and the American Dream is a story of tradition, of resistance and resilience, and a celebration of a family whose commitment to their heritage and to their employees is inspiring proof that the family that bakes together, stays together.

  • Wednesday, November 15, 12:00 pm – (Member: $5 / Community: $10)


A born-and-bred New Yorker, Michele (Mikie) Heilbrun is the co-owner of Streit's Matzo, one of the top two Kosher food companies in the world, founded by her great-grandfather in 1925 on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Mikie and Michelin-trained chef David Kirschner have created 35 delicious recipes for ways to cook with matzo all year round, including Matzo Granola, Caesar Salad with Matzo Croutons, and Matzo Spanikopita. She also shares her family’s history and what the future holds for this iconic brand.

  • Wednesday, November 15, 7:30 pm – (Member: $15 / Community: $20)

ANNABELLE GURWITCH, Wherever You Go, There They Are

When actress, comedian, and bestselling author Annabelle Gurwitch was a child, she was surrounded by a cast of dysfunctional relatives, and every night she secretly prayed that it was all a terrible mistake. Maybe she was a long-lost daughter of Joni Mitchell or the reincarnation of an ancient Egyptian princess. A family of bootleggers, inverate gamblers, and philanderers, the Gurwitches have always been a bit vague on the ideal of a loving and supportive family. Their definition includes people you can count on to borrow money from, hold a grudge against, or blackmail. Thus began a lifetime of Annabelle seeking out surrogates. If she’s learned anything, it’s that no matter how hard you try to escape a crazy family, you just end up in another crazy family.

  • Thursday, November 16, 10:00 am – (Free to the Community)

DONNIE WINOKUR, Chancer: How One Good Boy Saved Another

With special guest service dog, Quinn

Donnie Kanter Winokur and her husband, Rabbi Harvey Winokur, never could have imagined the heart-wrenching struggle after they decide to adopt two infants from Russia, a girl and a boy born three days apart, both from different parents. As Iyal and Morasha grow, it becomes clear that Iyal’s development is drastically lagging behind his sister’s. By age four, he has a devastating diagnosis: fetal alcohol syndrome. Desperate to alleviate her son’s constant rages, Donnie comes up with an innovative, untested, four-pawed solution: a golden retriever service dog named Chancer. Chancer is specially trained to give Iyal the unique love he desperately needs. But in the end, Chancer turns out to be what the entire family has needed to stay—and grow—together.

  • Thursday, November 16, 12:30 pm – (Member: $10 / Community: $15)

One Program; Two Authors

Winner of the 2016 National Jewish Book Award, author Lauren Belfer’s deeply researched and compelling narrative asks the question: what would you do if you found a long-lost artistic manuscript that was anti-Semitic? And After the Fire traverses over two hundred years of history, from the eighteenth century through the Holocaust and into today, seamlessly melding past and present, real and imagined.

Set in London of the 1660s and of the early 21st century, The Weight of Ink is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect: Ester Velasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history. Electrifying and ambitious, sweeping in scope and intimate in tone, The Weight of Ink is a sophisticated work of historical fiction about women separated by centuries, and the choices and sacrifices they must make in order to reconcile the life of the heart and mind.  

  • Thursday, November 16, 7:30 pm – (Member: $18 / Community: $25)


Leave it to the brilliant comedic minds of Dave Barry (You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty), Alan Zweibel (Saturday Night Live and 700 Sundays), and Adam Mansbach (Go the F*** to Sleep) to reinvent the Passover Haggadah. Finally, good Jews everywhere will no longer have to sit (and sleep) through a lengthy and boring Seder. The authors will take you through every step of the Seder, from getting rid of all the chametz in your home by setting it on fire with a kosher blowtorch to a retelling of the Passover story starring Pharaoh Schmuck and a burning bush that sounds like Morgan Freeman, set against the backdrop of the Promised Land.

  • Saturday, November 18, 8:00 pm – (Member: $18 / Community: $25) Premier Ticket: $75 – ONLY Premier Tickets include a copy of book, VIP seating behind the last row of Patrons, and access to VIP photo line.)

**The Bush Sisters are not signing books; they are doing a photo line, with the purchase of a new book.

JENNA BUSH HAGER & BARBARA PIERCE BUSH, Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life

This program will be In Conversation with NY Times Bestselling Author Emily Giffin

Born into a political dynasty, Jenna and Barbara Bush grew up in the public eye. As small children, they watched their grandfather become president; just twelve years later they stood by their father's side when he took the same oath. They spent their college years being trailed by the Secret Service and chased by the paparazzi, with every teenage mistake making national headlines. But the tabloids didn't tell the whole story of these two young women forging their own identities under extraordinary circumstances. In this book, they take readers on a revealing, thoughtful, and deeply personal tour behind the scenes of their lives, with never-before-told stories about their family, their adventures, their loves and losses, and the special sisterly bond that fulfills them.

Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush are the twin daughters of former US President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, and the granddaughters of US President George Bush. Jenna is a correspondent on NBC's Today show, a contributor to NBC Nightly News and an editor-at-large for Southern Living magazine. Barbara is the CEO and co-founder of Global Health Corps, an organization that mobilizes a global community of young leaders to build the movement for health equity.

  • Sunday, November 19, 12:00 pm – (Member: $10 / Community: $15)

One Program; Two Authors

  • RAFI KOHAN, The Arena: Inside the Tailgating, Ticket-Scalping, Mascot-Racing, Dubiously Funded, and Possibly Haunted Monuments of American Sport

The American sports stadium, for all its raucous glory, is an overlooked centerpiece―a veritable temple―of our national culture. A hallowed ground for communal worship, this is where history is made on grass, artificial turf, hardwood, and even ice; where nostalgia flows as freely as ten-dollar beers; where everything thrills, from exploding fireworks to grinning cheerleaders. In The Arena, intrepid sportswriter Rafi Kohan crisscrosses the country, journeying from one beloved monument to the next.

If you’ve ever wondered how they coordinate those fighter jet flyovers with the national anthem, how many hot dogs they serve in a day at Citi Field, how boozy pregame tailgates are kept in line, or what on earth AstroTurf is made of, look no further.

  • GARY BELSKY, Up Your Game: Skills, Tips, and Strategies to Achieve Total Sports Mastery

Gary Belsky, the former editor in chief of ESPN The Magazine, offers the ultimate sports handbook for those who’d like to sound smart and play smarter. This compendium of the tricks, techniques, and unwritten rules every sports fan needs includes everything from naming your fantasy team to betting with friends, doing a proper high five to investing in memorabilia, winning at arm wrestling to hosting a Super Bowl party, and so much more. Belsky and Up Your Game! will get you in the know in no time.

  • Sunday, November 19, 3:30 pm – (Free to the Community)

SOUAD MEKHENNET, I Was Told to Come Alone

For most of her life, Souad Mekhennet, a reporter for The Washington Post who was born and educated in Germany, has had to balance the two sides of her upbringing – Muslim and Western. In this compelling memoir, Mekhennet journeys behind the lines of jihad, starting in the German neighborhoods where the 9/11 plotters were radicalized and culminating on the Turkish/Syrian border region where ISIS is a daily presence. In her travels across the Middle East and North Africa, she documents her chilling run-ins with various intelligence services and shows why the Arab Spring never lived up to its promise. She then returns to Europe, first in London, where she uncovers the identity of the notorious ISIS executioner “Jihadi John.” Mekhennet’s background has given her unique access to some of the world’s most wanted men, and hers is a story you will not soon forget.

  • Sunday, November 19, 7:30 pm

DAN RATHER, What Unites Us

(Tickets:   Member $30 / Community $35 – Includes a copy of the book.

     Premier Ticket: $75 – Includes copy of the book and VIP seating in the row behind Patrons)

     Dan Rather will not be signing books or taking photos at this event.

After a storied career spent as reporter and anchor for CBS News, where he interviewed every living President since Eisenhower and was on the ground for every major event, from the assassination of John F. Kennedy to Watergate to 9/11, Dan Rather has, in the last year, also become a hugely popular voice of reason on social media, with more than two million Facebook followers and an engaged new audience who help to make many of his posts go viral. At a moment of crisis over our national identity, Rather has been reflecting—and writing passionately—about the world we live in, what our core ideals have been and should be, and what it means to be an American. Now, in a collection of wholly original essays, the venerated television journalist celebrates our shared values and what matters most in our great country, and shows us what patriotism looks like.

  • Closing NightMonday, November 20, 7:30 pm

SENATOR AL FRANKEN, Al Franken, Giant of the Senate

This program will be In Conversation with Bill Nigut, Senior Executive Producer, Georgia Public Broadcasting

Tickets:   Member $32 / Community $36 – Includes a copy of the book.

Premier Ticket: $75 – Includes copy of the book and VIP seating in the row behind Patrons, and access to VIP signing line.

Join us for a very special closing night featuring Senator Al Franken—#1 bestselling author and beloved Saturday Night Live alum – whose new book, Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, tells the story of an award-winning comedian who decided to run for office and then discovered why award-winning comedians tend not to do that. In this candid personal memoir, the honorable gentleman from Minnesota takes his army of loyal fans along with him from Saturday Night Live to the campaign trail, inside the halls of Congress, and behind the scenes of some of the most dramatic and/or hilarious moments of his new career in politics.

Book Festival of the MJCCA’s Social Action Project – Project GIVE

The Book Festival is proud to present its Social Action Project – Project GIVE, proudly supporting Children Read Atlanta. Children Read Atlanta collects new and gently used books for children ages 0-5 years and delivers them to Head Start, Sheltering Arms Day Care, Title 1 Pre-K classes in metro Atlanta schools, and other programs. While at the schools, volunteers read to the children and every child receives a bag of books to take home and keep. Our goal is to promote literacy for the whole family as well as a love for books in the home. Visitors are invited to bring books to the Book Festival that are new or gently used, secular, and appropriate for children under the age of 5 years. A bin will be at the MJCCA front desk from October 1-November 30, 2017.

Contact Information for the 26th Edition of the Book Festival of the MJCCA

  • Program Inquiries: Contact Pam Morton, Book Festival Director, 678.812.3981

# # #