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2018-12-14 digital edition
TODAY in the Jewish World:

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


December 14, 2018  RSS feed

Text: T T T

Sip & Skype portion of Jewish Book fest to run from January to May

After showcasing 13 authors last month in the Festival of Jewish Books and Conversations, the festival will shift to phase 2 when a Sip & Skype series of presentations, spotlighting five more authors, will run from January through May.

Unlike the earlier presentations where the authors met in person with festivalgoers, four of the next batch of authors will interact via Skype while guests sip wine or mimosas and nosh on treats as they discuss a book with its author. The fifth author, B.A. Shapiro, will give a local presentation at the Carrollwood Barnes & Noble bookstore.

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Kicking things off on Sunday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. will be Ronald Balson, author of The Girl from Berlin.

The Skype discussion will take place at the Bryan Glazer Family JCC, 522 N. Howard Ave., Tampa. Balson is a Chicago trial attorney, educator and author. In his novel, The Girl from Berlin, a couple is caught up in a property dispute that unearths long buried secrets about a young girl in Berlin, a violin prodigy entrenched in Berlin society until the war casts suspicion on her Jewish family and she finds herself seeking haven in Italy. As the couple digs deeper, they uncover an unfinished story of heart, redemption, and hope.

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On Sunday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. the featured Skype author is Rachel Kadish, who will speak to festival attendees at the Cohn Campus JCC to talk about her book The Weight of Ink, winner of a 2017 National Jewish Book Award. The Cohn Campus is at 13009 Community Campus Drive in the Citrus Park area.

Set in London of the 1660s and 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. Kadish is the award-winning author of the novels From a Sealed Room and Tolstoy Lied: a Love Story, as well as the novella I Was Here. She has been a fiction fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council and won a variety of writing awards. She lives outside Boston and teaches in Lesley University’s MFA Program in Creative Writing.

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Jenna Blum, author of The Lost Family, will be available by Skype at the Glazer JCC on Sunday, March 10.

The New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us, Blum creates a vivid portrait in The Lost Family of marriage, family, and the haunting grief of World War II in this emotionally charged story that spans a generation, from the 1960s to the 1980s. In 1965 Manhattan, patrons flock to Masha’s to savor its brisket bourguignon and impeccable service and to admire its dashing owner and head chef Peter Rashkin, the most eligible bachelor in town. But Peter does not care for the parade of women hoping to catch his eye. Running Masha’s consumes him, as does his terrible guilt over surviving the horrors of the Nazi death camp while his wife, Masha – the restaurant’s namesake – and two young daughters perished.

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The featured Skype author at the JCC on the Cohn Campus on Sunday, May 5 at 2 p.m. will be Ruby Namdar, author of The Ruined House.

Namdar’s first novel examines how the real and the unreal merge. One reviewer called it “a daring study of madness, masculinity, myth-making and the human fragility that emerges in the mix.” He creates a character, Andrew P. Cohen, who aims to pick up the mantle of legendary authors such as Saul Bellow and Philip Roth as he makes his debut with a nuanced and provocative tale of materialism, tradition, faith, and the search for meaning in contemporary American life. Cohen is a professor of comparative culture at New York University and seemingly at the zenith of his life. But his world begins to crack when he is visited by a series of strange and inexplicable visions involving an ancient religious ritual that forces him to question his beliefs.

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The one author who will appear in Tampa in person is B.A. Shapiro, who will be at the Barnes & Noble bookstore, 11802 N. Dale Mabry Hwy., Carrollwood, on April 14 – time still to be announced. Shapiro is a New York Times Bestseller author of eight novels, including The Collector’s Apprentice, The Art Forger and The Muralist. She has worked as a researcher for a substance abuse facility, headed a software development firm and taught at Tufts University and Northeastern University. She lives in Boston.

For more information about the authors, books or Festival events, please contact Brandy Gold at

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