Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017
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TK Barger

Jewish Book Festival lineup focuses on people

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The Northwest Ohio Jewish Book Festival is under way, in its 11th year. I like the array that the organizers have in the books and authors, in that the religious element is people or subject matter, not focusing on a scripture or dogma.

The 2015 version began Wednesday with a presentation by Marcia Fine, author of Paris Lamb, at the Highland Meadows Golf Club. Three events for adults and a Sunday morning for children will happen Sunday through Thursday, with authors appearing under the auspices of the Jewish Book Council.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo has membership in the Jewish Book Council, and Janet Rogolsky, the volunteer chair of the festival, and Rene Rusgo, the federation’s director of senior services and the Senior Adult Center, travel to New York City annually to attend author presentations. Most of the books and authors for Toledo come from that meeting.

“It’s generally somewhere around 250 authors” in New York, said Ms. Rogolsky. “Hearing 250 authors, it seems unfathomable; it works. … We’ve listened to all these presentations and come back to our committee with some suggestions.”

When the list of authors, books, and times is narrowed down — the main criteria to be included are, Ms. Rogolsky said, that “either the author must be Jewish and write about any subject area, or does not necessarily need to be Jewish but must write about Jewish content” — adult and children’s events are arranged. “The committee tries really hard to look at all segments of the population,” from children to seniors, she said.

For the children’s books and authors morning, no registration is required, and books will be available for purchase. From 11 a.m. to noon Sunday at Temple Shomer Emunim, 6453 Sylvania Ave., Sylvania, children in prekindergarten through grade 2 will have a crafts activity with Dawn Wynne, author of The Miracle Mitzvah Moose. “The book is stunningly gorgeous,” Ms. Rogolsky said. “She will work with the younger kids and will talk about how transitions and traditions go together, how you can acclimatize to a new community through things you already know.”

Grades 3-5 will have author Catherine Lloyd Burns with The Good, the Bad, and the Beagle. “This book is a hoot,” Ms. Rogolsky said. “This particularly looks at the idea of values, and values is sometimes a loaded word.”

A nonfiction book is the feature for grades 6 and up. Author Cynthia Levinson will talk about Watch Out for Flying Kids, on building trust through circus activities. “When you're on one end of a trapeze and you're counting on somebody at the other end to catch you, I think you look at what's basic and what's important,” Ms. Rogolsky said.

The religious schools of all area synagogues will be together for the book festival children's morning, Ms. Rogolsky said, and the public is invited to join them. Parents are welcome too.

Though the registration deadline has passed for the adult events, spots might still be available. Call the registration hot line at 419-724-0354 or email registration@jewishtoledo.org with payment information.

At 7 p.m. Monday indoors at Fifth Third Field, author Justine Gubar, an ESPN producer, will discuss Fanaticus: Mischief and Madness in the Modern Sports Fan. Admission is $15 for an appetizer reception, or $35 to include a copy of the book. Enter by the first-base gate next to the Swamp Shop, at 406 Washington St., and go to the third floor.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday at Ice Restaurant and Bar, 405 Madison Ave., comedian Dani Klein Modisett will give her routine on Take My Spouse, Please: How to Keep Your Marriage Happy, Healthy, and Thriving by Following the Rules of Comedy. The $25 fee includes appetizers and the book.

At a noon Thursday luncheon at Congregation B'nai Israel, 6525 Sylvania Ave., Sylvania, stage entertainer Sally Fingerett will talk about her own inspirations compiled in The Mental Yentl: Stories from a Lifelong Student of Crazy. The charges are $10 for the luncheon, $25 for the meal and the book.

“The fact that we have the opportunity to offer a program of such wonderful authors, not just for the Jewish community but the community at large, is important,” Ms. Rogolsky said. “One of the tenets of Judaism is learning and education and knowledge, and this perpetuates that.”

Contact TK Barger @ tkbarger@theblade.com, 419-724-6278 or on Twitter @TK_Barger.

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