34th Annual Alper JCC Berrin Family Jewish Book Festival

Gail Sheehy signing copies of her latest book “Daring My Passages”

Over a dozen acclaimed authors shared the power of words and initiated conversations, inspired change and also entertained us with their stories at the 34th annual Alper JCC Berrin Family Jewish Book Festival. The crown jewel of the event is always Women’s Day Luncheon and this year was no exception.

Gail Sheehy, whose NY Times bestseller Passages was named one of the ten most influential books of our time by the Library of Congress, was the featured speaker at at the Coral Gables Country Club. In her memoir, Daring: My Passages, Sheehy revealed the obstacles and opportunities encountered when she dared to blaze a trail in a “man’s world.”

Sheehy wanted it all -areer, love, children, friends, and social significance- but waited to put it all together in midlife. Her fascinating story of shattering failures and stunning successes is a testament to resilience, smarts, and daring.

Cheryl Rosen and her luncheon committee enjoyed the sold-out event. The tables were decorated with customized wine bottles bearing the signature book festival logo, and artfully arranged stacks of books that were later donated to charities.

Marcy Levitt, Director of the Alper JCC’s Literary & Performing Arts worked diligently to have an internationally acclaimed lineup of authors for this year’s festival. Working with Levitt on the festival were Nadine Barocas, Renee Greenstein, Elaine Katz, Anne Sheldon and Susan Spatzer.

Some of the author presentations were: Pulitzer Prize-winning author Kai Bird who shared his portrait of Robert Ames, one of the most important operatives in CIA history. Caryl Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and Dr. Soner Cagaptay, Director of the Turkish Research Program at the prestigious Washington Institute.

Sheehy’s latest book “Daring My Passages”

Three Israeli authors presented their latest works and they were journalist Ari Shavit whose riveting narrative My Promised Land, has instigated heated discussions since it was published; Daniel Gordis, award-winning author of Menachem Begin; and Gidi Grinstein explored the secret of Jewish survival, resilience and leadership during the past millennia.

Attorney and author Joshua Safran revealed how he overcame adversity and reconnected to his Jewish heritage and documentary filmmaker and journalist Steven Pressman shared the astonishing true story of how an American couple rescued fifty children from Nazi Germany during WWII.

Acclaimed TV legal analyst Lisa Bloom, Professor Judith Frank, award-winning authors Alyson Richman and Pam Jenoff completed the lineup.

For a schedule of upcoming Alper JCC cultural arts events call 305-271-9000 ext. 268 or visit www.alperjcc.org.

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