Jewish Book Festival to Begin Tomorrow

Article excerpt

The annual Jewish Book Festival, which opens at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Jewish Community Alliance, brings seven nationally recognized writers to Jacksonville as it presents a diverse series of lectures through Dec. 8.

First up is a conversation between Samuel Freedman, author of Jew vs Jew: The Struggle for the Soul of American Jewry, and Ari Goldman, author of Being Jewish: The Spiritual and Cultural Practice of Judaism..

Freedman's book documents the deep divisions within Judaism between fundamentalists and moderates, between religious Jews and secular Jews, between and within the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform branches of the faith.

Freedman sees conflict within the American Jewish community that amounts, almost, to civil war.

Goldman's Being Jewish looks at the infusion of fresh ideas that are creating a process of renewal within Judaism as many Jews return to their religious roots. Goldman talks about the traditions and rituals of the faith as they mark life events such as birth, marriage, death and as they influence everyday living.

Novelist Tova Mirvis will appear at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. She is the author of The Ladies Auxiliary, a look at what happens when an unconventional, newly widowed New York convert arrives in the tightly knit Orthodox community of Memphis. The widow is shockingly modern and flamboyantly spiritual and the story is a gentle exploration of guilt, passion, prejudice, loneliness and independence.

Financial intrigue in 18th century London is the subject of David Liss' novel, A Conspiracy of Paper. It's a suspense thriller about an alienated Jewish man, an ex-boxer making a haphazard living as a private eye tracking down thieves and dirty deals. Liss, a first-time author and doctoral candidate at Columbia University, will talk at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Daniel Asa Rose, author of Hiding Places: A Father and His Sons Retrace Their Family's Escape from the Holocaust, will be featured at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4. This powerful and sensitive memoir deals with the present and the future of the author's relationship with his sons as well as with his family's history in Europe.

Faye Moskowitz will be the speaker at the luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 5. She is a former National Public Radio commentator and director of the creative writing program at George Washington University. She is the editor of Her Face in the Mirror: Jewish Women on Mothers and Daughters, and the author of And the Bridge is Low and Whoever Finds This, I Love You. …