10222017Headline:

Memphis Jewish Community Center hosts third annual Jewish Literary & Cultural Arts Festival

2015-08-11  Jewish Literary and Cultural Arts Festival Logo v05med

Memphis Jewish Community Center hosts third annual Jewish Literary & Cultural Arts Festival

 

With recognition by Tennessee Arts Commission as an Arts Organization

 

 

For the first time in its long rich history, the Memphis Jewish Community Center (MJCC) is being recognized as a Memphis Arts Organization due to the growth of the Cultural Arts Department.  The MJCC received an Arts Build Communities grant, funded by the Tennessee General Assembly and administered in cooperation with the Tennessee Arts Commission and Arts Memphis.   The cornerstone of the MJCC’s Cultural Arts Department is the Jewish Literary and Cultural Arts Festival which will begin on October 15th and run through November 18th showcasing world renowned artist and authors.

 

 

 

The festival begins Thursday, October 15th at 7:30 pm with a meaningful art exhibit and artist talk by Keron Psillas.  The exhibit of photographs and essays is called Loss and Beauty: Creating Solace in a Land of Infinite Sorrow and is inspired by Hannelore Brenner’s book The Girls of Room 28. Through this inspiration, Psillas took photos memorializing the Holocaust and layered them with her contrasting images of the surrounding natural environment. Psillas will be sharing her insights and the process behind her exhibit; she will speak about the power behind the images, as well as the profound concept that creative acts can sustain individuals through the darkest of times. The exhibit will be in the MJCC Shainberg Gallery through November 6th and the talk and exhibit are free and open to the community.

 

 

New York Times Best Selling authors Faye Kellerman and Jonathan Kellerman will be speaking Saturday, October 17th at 7:45 pm about their new books The Theory of Death and The Murderer’s Daughter.  There will be a book signing after the conversation with the Kellermans.

 

 

The Kellermans are the only married couple ever to appear on the New York Times bestseller list simultaneously. Since Jonathan’s first novel, When the Bough Breaks, he has published at least one best-selling crime novel every year. Faye’s first novel, The Ritual Bath, was published in 1986 and there are now well over twenty million copies of her novels in print internationally.   The Kellerman author event is in Partnership with 100NewFamilies.com Move To Memphis. A dessert reception sponsored by RVW Investing, LLC will take place after the author event.

 

 

Alan Lightman will be discussing his newest book Screening Room: Family Pictures with Memphis historian Jimmy Ogle at the Malco Ridgeway Cinema Grill on Monday, October 19th at 7:30 pm.  Lightman’s book is a partially fictionalized memoir about his grandfather, family patriarch M.A. Lightman. Screening Room is set against the changing backdrop of Memphis—rhythm and blues, barbecue and pecan pie and a segregated society. Alan Lightman is a writer and physicist from Memphis. He is currently professor of humanities at MIT. He is also the author of 6 novels. Moderator Jimmy Ogle is the Chairman of the Shelby County Historical Commission and the official Shelby County Historian.

 

 

New this year, the MJCC will be welcoming an Israeli Artist in Residence as part of the Festival.  Shirel Horovitz will be visiting and working in Memphis for four weeks thanks to The Lemsky Endowment Fund.  Her lecture will be Israeli Art as a Window to Israeli Society on Wednesday, October 21st at 7:30 pm at the MJCC.  This lecture is free and open to the community.  In this lecture, a dynamic exploration of the historical and contemporary Israeli art scenes, Shirel Horovitz will share a fresh look and an insider’s point of view on central issues in Israeli society.

 

 

Author Dani Klein Modisett is bringing humor to the Literary Festival this year on Thursday, October 29th at 7:30 pm. Dani Klein Modisett will share insight through stand-up comedy about how thirteen tried-and- true rules of comedy, when applied to marriage, will keep you and your spouse connected, enjoying each other, and getting through tough times. Dani is a comedian-turned-author who launched a show on marriage called, “Not What I Signed Up For” in which there are original, funny stories about how marriage and parenting challenges. The shows have played to sold-out audiences in Boston, San Francisco and New York City.

 

 

The third Celebrating Empowered Women Luncheon will welcome Rabbi Sherre Hirsch on Wednesday, November 4th at 11:30 am.  Rabbi Sherre Hirsch, one of JW Magazine’s “Top 10 Women to Watch”, is driven to empower women to create their own dreams and find the doorway they need to move forward with their lives.  In Rabbi Hirsch’s latest book, Thresholds, How to thrive through life’s transitions to live fearlessly and regret-free, she speaks about the thresholds of life as those times of transition; when we are moving from the way we were accustomed to living to a new way of thinking, feeling, and being. Crossing from a “room” that is comfortable and familiar into one that feels uncertain and unpredictable, can be terrifying. Rabbi Hirsch teaches that instead of viewing these thresholds as barriers or obstacles, one can see them as doorways to bigger and better opportunities. Rabbi Hirsh will be in conversation with Leanne Kleinmann who was the first female editor of Memphis Magazine.  She has also been an editor at The Commercial Appeal, iDivaMemphis Blogger and writer and editor of SKIRT magazine.  She is currently the Director of Advancement at St. Mary’s Episcopal School.

 

 

The keynote for this year’s Literary and Cultural Arts Festival will be Ambassador Dennis Ross.  Mr. Ross will be discussing his new book Doomed to Succeed: The U.S. –Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama with Rachel Shankman on Tuesday, November 10th at 7:30 pm. Ambassador Dennis Ross is William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. For more than twelve years, Ambassador Ross played a leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process and dealing directly with the parties in negotiations. He was instrumental in assisting Israelis and Palestinians to reach the 1995 Interim Agreement; he also successfully brokered the 1997 Hebron Accord, facilitated the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty, and intensively worked to bring Israel and Syria together. The community partners for Dennis Ross include Anshei Sphard Beth El Emeth Congregation, Baron Hirsch Congregation, Beth Sholom Synagogue of Memphis, Chabad Center for Jewish Life, Morris S. Fogelman Jewish Student Center at Hillel of Memphis, Temple Israel, and Young Israel of Memphis.

 

 

This year’s community read and book club pick is a conversation with Nicole Dweck, author of Debt of Tamar and University of Memphis Professor Dr. Stephen Tabachnick on Thursday, November 12th at 7:30 pm. USA Today Bestselling author Nicole Dweck brings to life one of history’s greatest yet overlooked stories of love and resilience.  Based on a true life story of Dona Gracia Nasi, she weaves a spellbinding tapestry of love, history and fate that will enchant readers from the very first page. Born into one of the world’s wealthiest families during the time of the Inquisition, secret Jewess Dona Gracia Nasi was destined to become one of the most sought after heiresses in all of Catholic Europe—that is, until she became one of the most hunted. Having secretly funded an underground movement that rescued Jews from the flames of the Inquisition, she eventually had to embark on the harrowing journey that would take her and her family from the hells of persecution to an unlikely sanctuary in the Middle East: the Ottoman Empire. Dr. Stephen E. Tabachnick is a Professor in the English Department at the University of Memphis, specializing in late Victorian and modern English literature, particularly Anglo-Arabian travel writing.

 

 

The Festival will conclude with well-known author and activist, Letty Cottin Pogrebin on Wednesday, November 18th at 7:30 pm.  Pogrebin’s newest novel, Single Jewish Male Seeking Soul Mate introduces Zach Levy, the son of Holocaust survivors, who promises his mother that he’ll marry a Jew. But when Zach falls for Cleo, an African-American activist who grew up in Memphis during the time of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, he must reconcile the family he loves with the woman who might be his soul mate. Letty will speak to us about the impact of inherited trauma (like the Holocaust or slavery) on past and future generations, the tension between romantic love and responsibility to one’s people, and the changing relationship between Blacks and Jews in America. A founding editor and writer for Ms. Magazine, Letty Cottin Pogrebin has written eleven books and was consulting editor on Free to Be, You and Me, Marlo Thomas’ ground-breaking children’s book. Her devotion to advancing inter-group harmony inspired her participation in a longstanding Black-Jewish dialogue group.

 

 

Individual events are $15 for the community and $12 for MJCC members.  A series package includes general admission to Alan Lightman, The Kellermans, Dani Klein Modisett, Dennis Ross, Nicole Dweck and Letty Cottin Pogrebin, The package is $75 for community and $60 for MJCC members. A Premium Series package includes general admission to the Celebrating Empowered Women Luncheon and reserved seating at all other events for $185 for community and $150 for MJCC members.

 

 

In addition to the grant by the Tennessee Arts Commission and Arts Memphis, Sponsors for the 3rd annual Literary Festival include FedEX Express, Makowsky Ringel Greenberg, and Marriott Memphis East.  A special thank you goes to Jewish Community Partner, the Lemsky Fund and United Way of the Mid-South as well as The Booksellers at Laurelwood and The Jewish Book Council.

 

 

For more information and to buy tickets go to www.jccmemphis.org/LitFest .  For questions contact Amy Israel, Director of Cultural Arts at aisrael@jccmemphis.org or 901-259-9209.


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