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Book Festival

The Alper JCC Presents The 39th Annual Berrin Family Jewish Book Festival & Women's Day Luncheon

September 10, 2019 – May 13, 2020

Purchase Book Festival event tickets at the links below or Call 305.271.9000 x268 or x269

Click here for the 2019 Book Festival brochure

Tuesday, September 10 • 7pm

Naomi Nachman • Perfect Flavors
Holiday cooking demo • Chabad of Pinecrest and Kendall

Cookbook author and food personality Naomi Nachman will show how to incorporate exotic flavors into delicious everyday Kosher meals; tastings included! 

For Naomi Nachman, cookbook author and New York-based kosher food personality, the perfect meal means flavors that are fresh and balanced. Australian-born Nachman works as a personal chef and television and radio guest. Nachman’s cooking is influenced by her travels around the globe, incorporating exotic flavors into everyday meals. 

For tickets and information call 305-271-9000 ext. 268 or visit


Thursday, October 24 • 7:30pm • Alper JCC
Pam Jenoff • The Lost Girls of Paris

Author of the runaway bestseller The Orphan’s Tale and The Kommandant’s Girl, Pam Jenoff returns with The Lost Girls of Paris, a remarkable story centering around three women and a ring of female spies during World War II. 

A war widow stumbles upon an abandoned suitcase containing a dozen photographs, each of a different woman. She sets out to uncover the stories of the London-based female agents who were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators. Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, Jenoff, a former diplomat for the U.S. State Department handling Holocaust issues in Poland, weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, strengthand sisterhood in perilous times.

Community Partners: CAJE Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education; 

Jewish Community Services of South Florida


Tuesday, October 29 • 7:45pm • Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Judaic Studies, UM
Naomi Ragen • An Unorthodox Match

The international bestselling author of The Devil in Jerusalem has delivered a powerful and moving novel of faith, love and acceptance.
A California girl decides to seek spirituality and meaning in the insular, ultra-Orthodox enclave of Boro Park, Brooklyn.  

This program is co-sponsored by the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies at UM.


Wednesday, November 6 • 7:30pm • Temple Judea
Matti Friedman • Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel

A tale of Israel’s first spies, the book reads like an espionage novel – with duplicity, betrayal, disguise and clandestine meetings – but it’s all true. In 1948, with Israel’s existence hanging in the balance, four agents went undercover in Beirut for two years. Part of a ragtag unit known as the Arab Section, the unit would ultimately emerge as the nucleus of Mossad, Israel’s vaunted intelligence agency.

Community Partners: The Israel, Rose, Henry and Robert Weiner Charitable Foundation, Inc. 
In Memory of Hermine Wiener; Israel Bonds


Thursday, November 7 • 7:30pm • Alper JCC
Steve Katz singing songs and telling stories • Blood, Sweat, and My Rock’n Roll Years

As a member of the band, Katz’s career had all the trappings of fame – platinum records, affairs with famous folk singers, jamming with Jimi Hendrix. But his memoir is not the lurid party animal memoir that has become the norm for rock ’n’ roll books. Set during the Greenwich Village folk/rock scene, this is the unlikely story of a nerdy Jewish boy who got to sit at the cool kids’ table and score the hot chicks.

This program is co-sponsored by the Zelda and John Schwebel Family Foundation in memory of John M. Schwebel.

Monday, November 11 • 7:30pm • Bet Shira Congregation
Alice Hoffman • The World That We Knew

New York Times bestselling author of The Dovekeepers and The Marriage of Opposites takes us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance. In 1941, during humanity’s darkest hour, three unforgettable young women – one a mystical Jewish golem - become eternally entwined, their fortunes linked, as they act with courage and love to survive.Admission $30 including book 

This program is co-sponsored by Baron Estate Sales and Allegro.

Tuesday, November 12 • 7:30pm  • Temple Beth Am
Ayelet Gundar-Goshen The Liar

Book Club night presented in Loving Memory of Hillelene Lustig

From Israel’s Sapir prize-winning author of
Walking Lions, this beautifully written and witty novel revolves around a lie – and how it can change everything. Inspired by the true story of a false accusation of assault, The Liar begins when a teenaged girl’s scream - and the false assumption that emanates from it – radiates through a street, neighborhood and city, turning lives upside down.


Sunday, November 17 • 11am
Abby Stein • Becoming Eve

LGBTQ Family Day at J

Becoming Eve is a powerful coming-out story of an ultra-Orthodox boy who was born to become a rabbinic leader and instead became a woman and an outspoken voice for gender freedom. Stein orchestrated a personal exodus from ultra-Orthodox manhood to mainstream femininity – a choice that forced her to leave her family, home and way of life.

Community Partners: Aqua Foundation and OUTshine Film Festival



Tuesday, November 19 • Women’s Day Luncheon
Dani Shapiro •

Coral Gables Country Club • Boutique open 9:30AM Program begins at 11am

In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not biologically related. Suddenly her entire history–the life she had lived–crumbled beneath her. In her powerful new memoir, the acclaimed author of Hourglass asks, what makes us who we are? What combination of memory, history, biology, experience, and that indefinable thing called the soul defines us.
For tickets and information call 305-271-9000 ext. 268 or visit


Thursday, December 12 • 7:30pm • Alper JCC
Latkes & Vodkas
Dave Barry, Adam Mansbach, Alan Zweibel 
A Field Guide to the Jewish People

Why do random Jewish holidays keep springing up unexpectedly? Why are yarmulkes round? Who was the first Jewish comedian? These baffling questions and many more are answered (hilariously) by the comedic powerhouse trio of Dave Barry, Adam Mansbach and Alan Zweibel.

Community Partners: South Dade Branch of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation;  
Sunset Corners Wine and Liquor; Allegro


Tuesday, January 7 • 7:30pm • Temple Beth Or
Jessica Yellin • Savage News

This former CNN Chief White House Correspondent has written a fast-paced, entertaining novel about the (not so) glamorous cable news business. A young news correspondent is forced to navigate ratings wars, sexual harassment, ridiculous news standards and an international diplomatic and political situation in the White House.


Thursday, January 23 • 7:30pm 
Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Judaic Studies, UM
Keith Kahn-Harris • Strange Hate: Antisemitism, Racism and the Limits of Diversity

How did antisemitism get so strange, hate become so clouded in controversy? And what does the strange hate of antisemitism tell us about racism and the politics of diversity today? In this passionate yet closely argued polemic, Keith Kahn-Harris calls for us to abandon selective anti-racism and rethink how we view Jews, antisemitism and the challenge of living with diversity.


Wednesday, February 12 • 7:30pm • Alper JCC
Sarah Blake • The Guest Book

Author of the international best-seller, The Postmistress, Blake’s triumphant novel about three generations moves back and forth in time and explores how we remember, what we choose to forget and the untold secrets we inherit and pass on. The Guest Book centers around the Milton family, which typifies Old Money, people sure of their place and of their power, until two strangers enter the Miltons’ circle and change everything.

She was a finalist for 2019 National Jewish Book Award for Book Club.

This program is co-sponsored by the Millhauser Family in loving memory of Lisa Millhauser


Women’s History Month
Pam Nadell • America’s Jewish Women
NEW DATE: Sunday March 1 • 11:00 am • Alper JCC
Jewish women have been fighting for suffrage, trade unions, civil rights, feminism and Jewish rights around the world for centuries. 
This groundbreaking history of how Jewish women maintained their identity and influenced social activism examines the lives of influential women - Grace Nathan and her great-granddaughter, poet Emma Lazarus, labor organizer Bessie Hillman, the great justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and many others.

Nadell is the 2019 National Jewish Book Award Winner for Jewish Book Of the Year!

This program is co-sponsored by the Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies at UM; Anonymous donor



Rabbi Dan Horwitz in conversation with Sarah Hurwitz, author of Here All Along

Monday April, 6th • 8:00 pm EST 

Alper JCC Berrin Family Jewish Book Festival in Your Living Room
Rabbi Dan Horwitz
Rabbi Dan Horwitz, Founder of The Well, is the incoming CEO of the Alper JCC Miami. He was Designated by The Forward as one of America's Most Inspiring Rabbis.  Rabbi Dan is the founding director of The Well, a nationally recognized Jewish community-building, education and spirituality outreach initiative geared to the needs of young adults and young families. Committed to lifelong learning, he holds 3 masters degrees and a law degree in addition to rabbinic ordination.
Sarah Hurwitz
Sarah Hurwitz served as the speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama, President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Hurwitz is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. She is the  author of  Here All Along.
Here All Along by Sarah Hurwitz
Searching for meaning in the ancient scripture and traditions of Judaism, Sarah Hurwitz takes us along on an enriching journey of discovery. In Here All Along, she explores her birthright as a Jew and finds timeless and valuable life lessons.” 
—David Axelrod, director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and former senior advisor to President Barack Obama



NEW DATE: Monday April 20 • 8:00 pm • Zoom

Thursday, March 19 • 7:30pm at Alper JCC
Terry Bookman • Beyond Survival: How Judaism Can Thrive in the 21st Century

Beyond Survival challenges current assumptions that the Jewish community is resigned to its communal decline. The book offers an alternative vision – a paradigm shift in which individuals can find an open and accepting community that joyously and creatively celebrates its sacred way of life, in which we can all grow and survive.




Wednesday, May 13 • 7:30pm at Alper JCC

Steve Madden • The Cobbler: How I Disrupted an Industry, Fell From Grace, and Came Back Stronger Than Ever


Tickets: $30 - includes 1 guest, talk and signage, 1 ticket for drink, gift bag and copy of book  

 Everyone knows Steve Madden’s name and his shoes, but few are familiar with his story. Over the past thirty years Steve Madden has taken his eponymous shoe company from the fledgling start-up he founded with a mere $1,100 to a global, multi-billion dollar brand. But Madden’s mistakes, from his battle with addiction to the financial shortcuts that landed him in prison, are as important to his story as his most iconic shoes. In this raw, intimate, and ultimately inspiring book, Madden holds nothing back as he shares what it took to get here and the lessons he’s learned along the way. From his unconventional hiring strategies to his slavish devotion to product, Madden offers a business perspective that is as unique as his styles. In The Cobbler, readers are treated to the wild ride though his rise, fall, and comeback. But they will also walk away uplifted by a man who has owned up to his mistakes and come back determined to give back and use his hard-won platform to create positive change.

Listen to Steve Madden's episode of How I Built This with Guy Raz here

Purchase tickets here:





Click Here to Purchase Tickets for all Book Festival Events | For tickets & more information call 305.271.9000 ext. 268 


Women’s Day Luncheon Chairs: Shelly Brodie, Alexis Brodie & Rooney Brodie

Executive Committee: Nadine Barocas, Carole Bernstein, Shani Brenner, Renee Greenstein, Elaine Katz, Anne Sheldon, Susan Spatzer

Director of Literary & Performing Arts: Marcy Levitt

Keith Ginsburg, JCC Board Chair

Arnie Sohinki, Chief Executive Officer

Irene Tzanani, Assistant Executive Director

Suzy Breitner, Director of Visual Arts

Annette Santana, Cultural Arts Administrator


The 39th Annual Alper JCC Berrin Family Jewish Book Festival has been made possible through the generous support of: Allegro:Inspired Senior Living; Baron Estate Sales; City of Coral Gables; Coral Gables Country Club; In Memory of Hillelene Lustig; Israel, Rose, Henry and Robert Weiner Charitable Foundation, Inc. in Memory of Hermine Wiener; Israel Bonds; JCC Neshama Society; The Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies at the University of Miami; The Zelda and John Schwebel Family Foundation in Memory of John M. Schwebel and an Anonymous sponsor. The Jewish Book Festival and Cultural Arts programs are also made possible with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners. Sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

We would like to thank our Community Partners: Ahavat Olam; Beth David Congregation; Bet Shira Congregation; CAJE - Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education Florence Melton Adult Mini-School; Chabad of Kendall & Pinecrest; Consulate General of Israel; Jewish Community Services of South Florida; Miami-Dade County Public Schools Div. of Social Science; Sunset Corners Wine and Liquors; Temple Beth Am; Temple Beth Or; Temple Judea; Young Israel of Kendall. Many of the author appearances are arranged through the Jewish Book Council’s Jewish Book Network, of which the Alper JCC is a member.

The Dave and Mary Alper JCC thanks the co-sponsoring organizations for their participation in the 39th Alper JCC Berrin Family Jewish Book Festival. Co-sponsorship does not imply the endorsement of opinions expressed by the guest authors. All opinions and ideas expressed by the authors are solely their own and do not express the positions or opinions of the Dave and Mary Alper JCC leadership, Book Festival Committee, staff or the co-sponsoring agencies. The Dave and Mary Alper Jewish Community Center on The Jay Morton-Levinthal Campus is a beneficiary agency of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, United Way of MiamiDade County and a member agency of the JCC Association.

How to help support the Jewish Book Festival:

LITERARY CIRCLE FRIEND receives a Ticket to Women’s Day Luncheon and two General Admission tickets to ten requested Book Festival events (excluding Alice Hoffman and Naomi Nachman events). $200

LITERARY CIRCLE PATRON receives a Patron Ticket to Women’s Day Luncheon and 2 Reserved Seats to all requested Book Festival events and 1 ticket to Alice Hoffman with book. $360

NESHAMA – A Women’s Giving Circle that helps to perpetuate the richness of our Jewish heritage through art, music and literature. Neshama members receive a Patron Ticket to Women's Day Luncheon, 2 Reserved Seats to all requested Book Festival events, 1 Reserved ticket to Naomi Nachman with cooking demo, 1 ticket with book to Alice Hoffman, invitations to all Opening Receptions of the Futernick Family Art Gallery and the Lisa Ann Watson Children's Discovery Museum, two preferred tickets to Shesh Besh, JCC movies, and 1 ticket to Dance Now! Miami. Members’ names are inscribed on the Neshama Wall in the lobby of the Sablotsky Cultural Arts Center. $1000. For information about Neshama or to join, call Ann Horenstein at 305-271-9000 x 253.

Literary Circle Friend - $200  |  Literary Circle Patron - $360  |  Neshama - $1,000

For information on how you can support the Annual Berrin Family Jewish Book Festival, please call 305.271.9000 x268 or email



If you would like to volunteer at the book festival, please contact Marcy Levitt, or 305.271.9000 x269. 

Many of the author appearances are arranged through the Jewish Book Council’s Jewish Book Network, of which the Alper JCC is a member.

The Dave and Mary Alper Jewish Community Center on The Jay Morton-Levinthal Campus is a beneficiary agency of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, United Way of Miami-Dade County and a member agency of the JCC Association.


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