Calendar of Events
Jewish Literary Festival
Published September 5, 2012
Location Info

Event date and times: October 14, 2012, 12:00 PM

Cost: Prices vary by event

Phone: 202-777-3251

Official Website

Event Details:
The DCJCC will present the annual Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival from October 14-24. The program will include 15 events with celebrated authors and scholars including Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon speaking on his latest book, Telegraph Avenue: A Novel. Other events include an evening of film and theatre appreciating the beloved Franz Kafka, a showcase of the electrifying rise to fame of Barbara Streisand with William Mann, a local authors festival and a day of storytelling, crafts and fun for the children featuring Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Michael Chabon

Telegraph Avenue: A Novel

Opening Night

Sunday, October 14, 7:30 pm

$25, Discounted $20

VIP $50 (front-row seating and priority book-signing)

Washington Hebrew Congregation

3935 Macomb Street NW, Washington, DC

Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon’s newest novel is a sprawling yet intimate multi-character story that tackles the issues of race and class in urban America. Kung Fu, Blaxploitation films, vinyl LPs, jazz and soul music animate the latest from this “immensely gifted writer and magical prose stylist” (The New York Times). The author will sign books after his talk.

Followed by a reception.

Sponsored by Tamara and Harry Handelsman


Joy Ladin

Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey between Genders

Sunday, October 14, 11:00 am

$15, Discounted $12

Joy Ladin made headlines around the world when she returned to Yeshiva University to teach literature as a woman after having received tenure as a man. With humor and unsparing honesty, Ladin takes readers inside her transition in this poignant memoir about changing genders and creating a new self.

A light brunch will be served.


Hasidic Worlds in Fiction

Eishes Chayil (Judy Brown) and Anouk Markovits

Monday, October 15, 7:30 pm

$10, Discounted $8

Two novelists who left the confines of their Satmar Hasidic upbringing offer in-depth looks at this ultra-Orthodox New York community. Anouk Markovits’ I Am Forbidden delves into the clash between unwavering love and unyielding law over four generations, while Eishes Chayil (Judy Brown)’s Hush explores how sexual abuse is dealt with in the Hasidic world. Moderated by festival director Lili Kalish Gersch. 


Deborah Grayson Riegel

Oy Vey! Isn’t a Strategy: 25 Solutions for Personal and Professional Success

Monday, October 15, 8:00 pm

$10, Discounted $8

Join us for a young professionals networking event! Professional coach, speaker and Jewish Week columnist Deborah Grayson Riegel offers 25 easy-to-follow strategies for personal and professional success. With humor, kindness, and a little Jewish wisdom, Riegel will get you moving in the right direction.

Kafka’s Last Story: An Evening of Film and Theater

Tuesday, October 16, 7:00 pm
$11, Discounted $10

Franz Kafka’s will requested that “everything I leave behind me…be burned unread.” Part detective story, adventure tale and artistic re-imagining, this film crosses geographic, cultural and chronological boundaries to follow the fate of Kafka’s invaluable writings and papers. In addition to the film we’ll enjoy a theatrical reading of excerpts from Kafka’s Metamorphosis by Theater J’s Delia Taylor.. 2011, Israel/Germany, documentary, 53 minutes, Hebrew with English subtitles.

Followed by a Presidential debate viewing party at 9:00 pm! 


Daniel Katz

All Together Different: Yiddish Socialists, Garment Workers, and the Labor Roots of Multiculturalism

The Chaim Kempner Author Series

Wednesday, October 17, Noon


In the early 1930s, the predominantly Jewish International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) organized large numbers of black and Hispanic workers through a broadly conceived program of education, culture and community involvement. The ILGWU admitted these new members into local unions and created structures to celebrate ethnic differences. Daniel Katz explores the Jewish labor roots of modern multiculturalism.

Supported by the Chaim Kempner Collection Library Fund, the Chaim Kempner Author Series brings authors of recently published books to the DCJCC for the learning and enjoyment of the entire community.

Peter Cole

The Poetry of Kabbalah: Mystical Verse from the Jewish Tradition

Wednesday, October 17, 7:30 pm

$10, Discounted $8

MacArthur Fellow and National Jewish Book Award winner Peter Cole presents a selection of brilliantly translated and annotated poems from the sublime and often startling world of Jewish mysticism. Taking up Gershom Scholem’s call to plumb the “tremendous poetic potential…concealed” in the Kabbalistic tradition, Cole opens the door to a profoundly experimental and enthralling literary world.

Sponsored by Faye and Jack Moskowitz


Anne-Marie O'Connor

The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer

The Helen and Milton Covensky Fund

Thursday, October 18, 7:30 pm

$10, Discounted $8

The spellbinding story of Gustav Klimt’s iconic masterpiece interweaves the fates of the dazzling Jewish society figure who sat for the painting, the celebrated artist who created it and the city that shaped it. The Washington Post’s Anne-Marie O’Connor explores the portrait’s strange journey at the hands of the Nazis, and its recovery and sale to Ronald Lauder for $135 million in 2006. In conversation with Georgetown University professor Ori Soltes.

The Helen and Milton Covensky Fund helps the DCJCC present a number of unique cultural programs throughout the year.  


Eric Kandel in Conversation with David Brooks

The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present

The Gerald L. Bernstein Memorial Lecture

Saturday, October 20, 8:00 pm

$25, Discounted $20

Early 1900s Vienna facilitated extraordinary interactions between the greatest artists and scientists of the day, including Klimt and Freud. These pioneers began to explore a fertile new territory: the unconscious mind. Nobel Prize winner Eric Kandel brings this vibrant period to life, and illustrates how a confluence of scientists, psychologists, artists and thinkers gave rise to the Age of Insight—our Modern Age. 

Followed by a reception.

This annual lecture is made possible by a generous endowment from Tamara and Harry Handelsman in honor of the memory of Tamara Handelsman’s, brother, Gerald L. Bernstein.

The Great Children's Read: Bringing Books to Life

Sunday, October 21, 10:00 am-12:30 pm


8 and under

Celebrate classic and new Jewish children’s books with crafts, folktales, a sing-along, story time and aleph-bet yoga. We’ll also have a book fair with a wide selection of Jewish and non-Jewish books and a special guest: Clifford the Big Red Dog! We are collecting new or gently used books to donate to Reading Partners, an organization that helps children become lifelong readers.


Rachelle Bergstein

Women from the Ankle Down: The Story of Shoes and How They Define Us

Sunday, October 21 | 1:00 pm | Sixth & I

600 I Street NW, Washington, DC

$12, Ticket & Book $25

Rachelle Bergstein's debut book explores the way women’s lives have evolved during the last century by casting a downward gaze on that most essential and obsessively adored of all fashion accessories—footwear. From Dorothy’s ruby slippers to Carrie Bradshaw’s stiletto-filled Upper East Side closet, Bergstein takes readers on a delightful, informative tour of the shifting shoe trends that have both expressed and defined the identities of women. Please bring donations of new or gently used shoes to benefit Bread for the City.

Presented with Sixth & I’s Not Your Bubbe’s Sisterhood, a program series for women in their 20s and 30s.


Funny Because It’s True: A Panel on Humor in Fiction

Devan Sipher, Jonathan Tropper and Lisa Zeidner

Sunday, October 21, 7:00 pm

$10, Discounted $8

These three authors are relentlessly funny. In The Wedding Beat, The New York Times’ “Vows” columnist Devan Sipher tells the classic New York story of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets assigned to write about girl’s wedding. Bestselling author Jonathan Tropper’s One Last Thing Before I Go hilariously relates one family’s struggle to reconnect. Lisa Zeidner’s darkly comicLove Bomb features a gun-toting wedding crasher. Moderated by The George Washington University professor Faye Moskowitz. 


Local Author Fair: Discover a New Book

Monday, October 22, 6:00 pm


Meet and greet authors at our first-ever Local Author Fair. A selection of DC-area authors, including Ariel Sabar, will each be given three minutes to tell you all about their books! Buy a locally-grown book, enjoy literary give-aways, and network with area readers and writers at a wine and cheese reception. Authors: to apply please visit by September 20.


Samuel Popkin

The Candidate: What it Takes to Win - and Hold - the White House

Tuesday, October 23, 7:30 pm

$10, Discounted $8

The road to the White House is littered with geniuses of campaigns past. Why doesn't practice make perfect? Based on detailed analyses of the winners—and losers—of the last 60 years of Presidential campaigns, political science professor Samuel Popkin explains how challengers get to the White House, incumbents stay there for a second term and Presidential successors hold power for their party.


William Mann

Hello Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand

Closing Night

Wednesday, October 24, 7:30 pm

$10, Discounted $8

In 1960, Barbra Streisand was just a seventeen-year-old kid from Brooklyn, bursting with talent and ambition. Four years later she’d taken over Broadway as the star of Funny Girl and had three platinum albums. William Mann chronicles Barbra Streisand’s rise to fame, brilliantly showcasing the electrifying story of how she broke all the showbiz rules to transform herself into the greatest superstar of her era.

Sponsored by the David Bruce Smith Family Foundation


Writing Contest

Community Prize for Writing on a Festival Theme 

Many of our festival books feature people who feel out of place—in their religion, family or even their gender. Tell us a true story about a time when you felt like you didn’t belong.

Submissions are open to all. Send original, unpublished submissions of 500 words or less to by September 25, 2012. The first-place selection in each category (18+/under 18) will win the Community Prize for Writing, online publication and $100. Further details can be found online at

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