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Lane Dworkin Rochester Jewish Book Festival

Buy tickets online! 

Scroll to view this year’s schedule and to order tickets.

You may also view a digital version of our brochure here.

Need help? Click here to e-mail or call us at 585.461.2000 x235.

A Virtual Pre-Festival Event

Thursday, October 20, 7pm; Zoom
Book + Ticket Bundle: $36

The Book Festival of the MJCCA, The Streicker Center Temple Emanu-El, NYC, and the National JCC Literary Consortium Present:

A Virtual Evening with Benjamin Netanyahu, Bibi: My Story

In this sweeping volume, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu recounts growing up in Israel and America, the prominent legacy of his family in the birth of Zionism, his service in an elite unit of the Israeli Defense Forces, and the devastating impact of the death of his brother Yoni, who was killed while leading his men in the historic rescue of 102 hostages in Entebbe, Uganda. He provides his singular perspective on the geopolitics of the Middle East, his successful efforts to modernize the Israeli economy, and his negotiations with Presidents Clinton, Obama, and Trump to secure the future of his country.

Family Fun Ecofest

Sunday, October 23, 2pm; JCC Auditoriums
FREE, Registration Required

Anita Fitch Pazner
The Topsy-Turvy Bus

Children: The Earth needs you! It’s a brave new world of worms and veggie-oil-powered buses, organic gardening,and composting. Young people are on the cutting edge of changing the environment with one fresh idea at a time. In The Topsy-Turvy Bus, Anita Fitch Pazner celebrates those great ideas and provides hope that young people can repair the world. Join Pazner and local organizations toget your hands dirty and learn about how to save the world one worm, one can, one bottle at a time!

Generously underwritten by

Community Partners:

Opening Night

Sunday, October 23, 7:30pm; Temple Beth El
139 Winton Road, Rochester, NY 14610
JCC Member: $12, Non-Member $15

Eitan Bernath
Eitan Eats the World, A Cookbook

You’ve seen him on The Food Network and Instagram, in The New York Times and Oprah magazine. He’s just 20, but Bernath has been wowing the food world since appearing on the first kids’ episode of Chopped in 2009. Now he’s the principal culinary contributor for CBS’s The Drew Barrymore Show and a contributor to Saveur, Delish, The Kitchn, and Food52. An activist and entrepreneur, Bernath will dish it up as he demonstrates a recipe from his new kosher cookbook, already a New York Times bestseller.

Join us for a chef’s dessert party after the event!

Generously underwritten by Sharon Brodsky and Family 

Wine + Chocolate + Fiction

Monday, October 24, 7:30pm; Hart Theater
JCC Member: $12, Non-Member $15

Lynda Cohen Loigman
The Matchmaker’s Gift

From the author of Wartime Sisters, which Real Simple cited as one of 2019’s best books, The Matchmaker’s Gift relies on the compelling perspectives of two women – a Jewish woman with an unusual career and her granddaughter – in this magical and heartfelt story, which will open your eyes to the possibility of finding soulmates in unexpected places.

Susan Coll
Bookish People

Part meet-cute rom-com, part screwball comedy, Coll’s latest features an intergenerational cast of quirky characters. It’s a wonderful book about love and the love of books. Coll has the inside scoop: she’s part of the events team at Washington, D.C.’s beloved Politics and Prose bookstore and the president of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.

Join us for this moderated fiction panel with Rochester’s own Pam Sherman,
writer, actor, leadership consultant and recovering lawyer.

Generously underwritten by Rubens Family Foundation

Special thanks to

Film Festival Favorites

Winners of the Carl Lasky Audience Favorite Awards, as voted by attendees of the 2022 JCC Ames Amzalak Rochester Jewish Film Festival.

Tuesday, October 25, 6pm; Hart Theater
JCC Member: $12, Non-Member $15

Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen
An extraordinarily entertaining look at how the beloved film Fiddler on the Roof got made. Narrated by Jeff Goldblum.

88 min. | English
Director: Daniel Raim

Tuesday, October 25, 8pm; Hart Theater
JCC Member: $12, Non-Member $15

Persian Lessons
Young Gilles avoids death in a concentration camp by pretending he’s Persian. Ever resourceful, he creates a fake language to teach to an officer.

127 min. | German, French, Persian (w/ subtitles)
Director: Vadim Perelman

Generously underwritten by Ames Amzalak Memorial Trust

Celebrating Israel

Wednesday, October 26, 7:30pm; Hart Theater
JCC Member: $12, Non-Member $15

Andrew Lawler
Under Jerusalem: The Buried History of the World’s Most Contested City

Join Lawler for a tour of the tombs, tunnels, and trenches of the holy city as he narrates a saga of biblical treasures, intrepid explorers, and political upheaval – all of which helped give rise to Zionism, create the State of Israel, and define the conflict over modern Jerusalem.

Generously underwritten by Kate and Jonathan Goldstein

Lunch with Letty

Thursday, October 27, 12pm; JCC Auditoriums
JCC Member: $20, Non-Member $25 (Box lunch included)

Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Shanda: A Memoir of Shame and Secrecy

In her new book Shanda, Pogrebin – a co-founder of Ms. Magazine, the Ms. Foundation for Women, and the National Women’s Political Caucus – delves into the fiercely guarded secrets of her extended family. Her family’s narrative, like those of so many Jews worldwide, is one of trying to fit into society without losing its passions, courage, and beliefs.

Generously underwritten by
Deborah G. Goldman and Mona Friedman Kolko

Community Partners:


Rochester's Own

Thursday, October 27, 7:30pm; JCC Auditoriums
FREE, Tickets Required

Sam Rind
A Tribute to Mom, We Survived Together

Sam Rind, a child survivor from Poland, tells his story about fleeing Poland to the Ukraine. He and his mother made their way across Europe after liberation to join family in Bolivia where Sam, at 10, could regain his childhood.

Jerry Elman
Miracles Through Hell

Jerry Elman, a child of survivors, relates how he uncovered the amazing details of his parents’ survival as he comes to terms with the emotional scars they passed onto him by their silence.

Rind and Elman will be in conversation with Ron Newman, a psychologist and teacher. He is a past president of Temple Sinai and a member of the Jewish Federation’s CHAI Committee, which works to provide Holocaust education.

Community Partners:
The Center for Holocaust Awareness and Information (CHAI) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester


Closing Celebration

Sunday, October 30, 2pm; JCC Auditoriums
JCC Member: $12, Non-Member: $15

David Forman
The Clever Little Tailor

David Forman makes Jewish folktales come alive through his English translation of The Clever Little Tailor. David’s grandfather, Solomon Simon, storyteller, scholar and author of the popular version of the Wise Men of Helm stories, wrote the clever tailor stories in Yiddish but they were never translated into English until now. Forman will share his journey into the wonderful, expressive world of Yiddish.

Stay for freilach Klezmer music by Maury Rosenberg and the New York Klezmer Orchestra. Maybe a little dancing, and, of course, a nosh.

Generously underwritten by

Community Partners:


Rochester Yiddish Leyenkrayz

Comedy Night!

Sunday, November 6, 7:30pm; Comedy at the Carlson
50 Carlson Road, Rochester, NY 14610
JCC Members: $18, Non-Members: $20

Mark Schiff
Why Not? Lessons on Comedy, Courage, and Chutzpah

Come for the stand-up, stay for the inside scoop with Mark Schiff, long-time touring partner of Jerry Seinfeld and author of Why Not? Lessons on Comedy Courage, and Chutzpah. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry as Schiff shares stories about his 50-year career as a standup comic, actor, and writer; his upbringing in the outer boroughs of New York; and his hard-won lessons about what it takes to be a comedian.

Generously underwritten by Victoria and Daniel Goldstein

Support the Festival

Thank you to our generous supporters for allowing us to continue bringing quality Jewish literature to the Rochester community. 

Form 990 for year-end 6/30/2021 can be obtained by emailing andreaharrington@jccrochester.org

Copyright 2021
The JCC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

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