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Out of Adversity Comes Innovation: the Marcus JCC of Atlanta Announces the Creation of the National JCC Literary Consortium

More Than 80 Participating JCCs Throughout North America Join the Book Festival of the MJCCA Virtual Author Events!

Headlining Authors Include Deepak Chopra, Nancy Grace, Harlan Coben, Steve Madden, Colin Quinn, Joan Lunden, Michael J. Fox, Ina Garten, Yotam Ottolenghi, and John Grisham

In an effort to assist Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) throughout the US – many hit hard by the pandemic — the Marcus JCC of Atlanta (MJCCA) recently announced that they have invited all of the nation’s JCCs to partner on one of their most successful and well-known programs, the Book Festival of the MJCCA. Through this newly established National JCC Literary Consortium, JCCs across the country can participate in the Book Festival of the MJCCA’s renowned literary events (now virtual and known as MJCCA Book Fest In Your Living Room), bringing the year’s most prolific authors to their communities.

The Covid-19 pandemic has gravely impacted many JCCs across the county, forcing building closures and staff layoffs and furloughs. JCCs that rely on memberships and program fees have seen memberships and program revenues drop precipitously. As JCCs work to reopen their buildings and restart programming, the National JCC Literary consortium allows them to offer high quality author programs to their constituents.

According to MJCCA CEO Jared Powers, “The obstacles that have been borne of this global pandemic have challenged us to identify new ways of doing business and have brought people together in ways none of us could have imagined six months ago. Our JCC’s Book Festival has become one of the country’s most premier literary events. We are very proud of our agency’s commitment to the literary arts and jumped at the opportunity to offer our fellow JCCs the avenue to provide compelling content to their own communities. The response has been overwhelming.”

From the smallest JCCs to some of the largest, from as far as Vancouver to as close as Evans, Georgia, more than 100 JCCs received the offer and, as of press time, 85 had signed on to partner on all or some of the Book Festival programs. These authors include Deepak Chopra, Nancy Grace, Harlan Coben (with Emily Giffin), Steve Madden, Colin Quinn, Judy Gold, Joan Lunden, Michael J. Fox, Ina Garten, Yotam Ottolenghi, John Grisham, Jonathan Safran Foer, Arthur Blank, and many more. View the current lineup here.

According to festival director Pam Morton, “This program is completely turnkey; ticket sales will go through our central ticketing website, marketing materials are provided, and book sales will be handled by our partner, A Cappella Books, located in Decatur, Georgia. Seeing the overwhelming reaction from JCCs across the county makes me so proud to work for the MJCCA and to be a part of the JCC movement.”

For 29 years, the Book Festival of the MJCCA has provided the Southeast with some of the most exciting and talked-about authors, thought leaders, and innovators of the day. Last year’s festival closed with back-to-back programs with Ambassador Nikki Haley and Hillary and Chelsea Clinton. Since the onset of the pandemic, all festival events went virtual–now called MJCCA Book Fest In Your Living Room–and have included programs with Chris Wallace, John Grisham, Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue (with Arlene and Alan Alda), Kevin Kwan, Brad Meltzer, Jennifer Weiner, Al Roker, Jon Meacham, Erin Brockovich, and many more. The Book Festival of the MJCCA has won coveted NEA awards as well as many Georgia state Humanities grants.

“We’ve had gratifying turnouts for the spring and summer programs with viewership anywhere from 500 – 2000 households. We expect those numbers to increase exponentially,” said Morton.

Adam Solender, executive director of the Savannah Jewish Educational Alliance and Federation, said in an email to his community, “What an offer…to be a part of the largest Jewish Book Festival and share it with the entire country (including revenue). We are grateful to be a part of this amazing program. Together, with all of our assets and commitment, we will come through this pandemic as a stronger more unified community.”

About the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta
Impacting more than 60,000 people annually, the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta is committed to strengthening the quality of life in Atlanta and is recognized as one of the most highly regarded Jewish community centers in the nation. Its NAEYC-accredited preschools, award-winning camps, outstanding cultural events, and invigorating sports and fitness programs engage and connect the community.