By Karen Kenyon
The San Diego Center for Jewish Culture will present the 20th Annual San Diego Jewish Book Fair from Monday, November 8th, to Sunday, November 16th at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center and at Temple Solel.
Besides authors talks, there will be panel discussions, local authors sitting at tables with their books, and a Family Day on November 16th from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. for kids 8 years and up.The headlining author this year will be Ari Shavit, author of My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel. Shavit is hailed as the most influential journalist writing today about Israel and the Middle East.
Drawing on personal interviews, private diaries, letters, and family histories (including his own) Shavit’s book is the culmination of his life’s work. A review of his book in the New York Times by Leon Wieseltier says, “He comes not to praise or to blame, though along the way he does both, with erudition and with eloquence; he comes instead to observe and to reflect”.
According to Ari Shlain in The Guardian, Shavit is an eloquent exponent of a liberal Zionism, and exemplifies its ambiguities, inner contradictions and yet, moral myopia. Mondoweiss, a news website devoted to covering American foreign policy in the Middle East, chiefly from a progressive Jewish perspective, is harsher in its criticism, and considers Shavit to be a “liberal apologist for Israel’s brutal policies.”
Shavit, who won the Natan Book Award (supports innovative approaches to addressing the challenges facing Jews around the world) and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in nonfiction will speak on Monday, November 10, at Temple Solel at 7:30pm.
Another headlining speaker, on an entirely different note, will be Carol Leifer, author of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying. Elaine, of Seinfeld, is said to be based on her. Leifer’s previous book, When You Lie About Your Age, the Terrorists Win, was a national best seller.
The Emmy nominated Leifer has been a frequent guest on David Letterman, and has written for Seinfeld and for Saturday Night Live.
She was once in a traditional marriage, but is now in a same-sex partnership. Of her personal life, she has said, “I recently became a vegan because I felt that as a Jewish lesbian I wasn’t part of a small enough minority. So now I’m a Jewish lesbian vegan.”
Leiber will appear at Temple Solel on Saturday, November 8th, at 7:30 p.m. Those interested in her talk are encouraged to purchase tickets ahead of time.
Tova Miris author of Visible City will speak on Monday, November 10th, at noon at Temple Solel.
Ayelet Waldman, author of Love and Other Possible Pursuits and Bad Mother will give a lunchtime discussion of her latest novel, Love and Treasures on Thursday, November 13th.
David Wolpe, author of David: The Divided Heart, and Rabbi Edward Feinstein, author of The Chutzpah Imperative: Empowering Today’s Jews for a Life That Matters, are also on the schedule.
For a complete list of programs and prices, visit www.sdjbf.org or call 855-362-1348.
Karen Kenyon has been published in The Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, British Heritage, Westways, and The Christian Science Monitor. She also has two books Sunshower (Putnam, NY) and The Bronte Family (Lerner Publications, Minnesota) She teaches at MiraCosta College and UCSD-X.