Jewish Literary Festival – Going on Now

18 Oct

The Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival, October 17-27, presents the year’s best in Jewish writing by both emerging and established authors from across the globe. An annual celebration of Jewish literature, the Festival features engaging author panels, readings and talks for lovers of fiction, history, politics, humor, children’s stories and much more.

This year’s Festival includes acclaimed novelists Allegra Goodman and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, and features the provocative book, Capitalism and the Jews, and the acclaimed new biography on Bob Dylan. We will screen the documentary on Arab-Israeli writer Sayed Kashua, welcome families with children’s author Laurel Snyder, and laugh with Joel Chasnoff, author of the memoir The 188th Crybaby Brigade. Don’t miss the Opening Night performance, “Strangers in a Strange Land: The Lives of Jewish Immigrants;” or any of our 14 exciting programs.

For more information and to purchase tickets go to or call (202) 777-3251.

Some events you might be particularly interested in this year are:

Opening Night – Strangers in a Strange Land: The Lives of Jewish Immigrants

Sunday, October 17 at 7:30 pm
Washington DCJCC, 1529 16th Street NW
Tickets: $25, Discounted Members/Seniors/Under 25 $20

Enjoy our opening night festivities with an exciting new staging of classic and contemporary writing on the Jewish immigrant experience, adapted and directed by leading director Derek Goldman. Performing works by Gary Shteyngart, Anzia Yezierska, Alfred Kazin, Dalia Sofer and others, we will explore what remains and what is changed when we adopt a new home.

Followed by an Opening Night reception.

Sean Wilentz, Bob Dylan in America

Saturday, October 23 at 7:30 pm
Washington DCJCC, 1529 16th Street NW
Tickets: $11, Discounted Members/Seniors/Under 25 $9

With unprecedented access to Dylan’s working tapes, recording notes, rare photographs and other key materials, Sean Wilentz has written a comprehensive account of Dylan’s life and music and its influence on American culture. Beginning with his explosion onto the scene in 1961, the book follows Dylan as he continues to develop a body of musical and literary work unique in our cultural history.

Joel Chasnoff, The 188th Crybaby Brigade: A Skinny Jewish Kid from Chicago Fights Hezbollah – A Memoir

Sunday, October 24 at Noon
Washington DCJCC, 1529 16th Street NW
Tickets: $11, Discounted Members/Seniors/Under 25 $9

Joel Chasnoff—Ivy League-educated, suburban-born stand-up comedian—sweats, grunts and rolls his eyes through a military tour in the Israeli Army. Surrounded by a platoon of mama’s boys and crybabies carrying loaded weapons, this admitted peace-loving, left-leaning, lactose-intolerant American Jew invites readers to share his journey from gung-ho, would-be warrior to disillusioned soldier. Light brunch will be served. Babysitting available.

Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction

Wednesday, October 27 at 7:30 pm
Washington DCJCC, 1529 16th Street NW
Tickets: $25, Discounted Members/Seniors/Under 25 $20

In conversation with Ron Charles, Senior Editor of The Washington Post Book World

Goldstein’s captivating novel explores the rapture and torments of religious experience and plunges into the great debate of our day: the clash between faith and reason. After Cass Seltzer’s book becomes a surprise bestseller, he’s dubbed, “the atheist with a soul,” and becomes a celebrity. He wins over the stunning “goddess of game theory,” is reunited with a friend seeking immortality and is haunted by reminders of two people who ignited his passion to understand religion. Each reinforces Cass’s theory that the religious impulse spills over into life at large.

Followed by a Closing Night reception.


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