Jewish Book Festival

About the JCC Jewish Book Festival

The Cherie Smith JCC Jewish Book Festival is one of Vancouver’s leading cultural and literary events, attracting a large and varied audience of over 5,000 people of all ages. This highly popular community-wide event brings together prominent and emerging Jewish writers and non-Jewish writers with Jewish interest subject matter in literature, the arts, philosophy, theology, history and current events to speak during this week-long literary experience. Each year programs are selected from the following areas:

BIOGRAPHIES • BUSINESS • CHILDREN’S INTEREST • CELEBRITIES • CULINARY ARTS • EMERGING AUTHORS • FILM HISTORY • HOLOCAUST • ISRAEL • PARENTING • PHOTOGRAPHY • POETRY • POLITICS • POP CULTURE • SEPHARDIC HERITAGE • SPIRITUALITY • SPORTS • TEENS • YIDDISH CULTURE • YOUNG ADULT

Admission is charged for most events, many events are free. Season passes and tickets are available at the JCC or online during the months of October and November.

PAST FESTIVAL PROGRAMS – click to download  2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

Author Submissions

The JCC Jewish Book Festival’s mandate is to showcase Jewish writers (writing on any theme) or non-Jewish writers (with Jewish interest subject matter) from Canada and around the world. If you have written a book or other literary work that fits within these parameters, we would be interested in hearing from you. Read more…

Sponsorship Opportunities

The JCC Jewish Book Festival can help you maximize your message to a diverse demographic audience. Corporate and individual Sponsorships are available. Please phone 604-257-5156 or email jbf@jccgv.bc.ca

Click to download Sponsorship Form

Contact and join our mailing list

Dana Camil Hewitt, Director, 604-257-5156; jbf@jccgv.bc.ca

Featured Authors

Nathan Englander

OCTOBER PROLOGUE
NATHAN ENGLANDER / Dinner at the Centre of the Earth

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Pnina Granirer

PNINA GRANIRER / Light Within the Shadows, A Painter’s Memoir

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OPENING GALA

ALISON PICK / Strangers With the Same Dream

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DAN BAR-EL 

It’s Great Being a Dad

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DEBORAH KATZ

Rare Is Everywhere

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RAFI AARON

In the Days of the Cotton Wind and the Sparrow

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2017 Events

FOR CHILDREN ages 4-8

Sunday November 26  |  10:00-11:00am
DAN BAR-EL / It’s Great Being a Dad
Illustrated by GINA PERRY

FREE

 

A gang of mythical creatures is roaming around a magical land having a great time, until Bigfoot gets his foot stuck in a tree trunk, Unicorn gets her horn impaled on a table and Robot’s saw-arm gets rusted into position. But have no fear! Dad is there to fix things–even when a Sneaky Flying Alligator Pirate steals the Fairy Queen Ballerina Doctor’s wand. A hilarious story about imagination and the best parts about being a dad.

Vancouver’s DAN BAR-EL is an award-winning children’s author, educator, and storyteller. His writing includes chapter books, picture books, and, most recently, a graphic novel. He travels around the country visiting schools and libraries to tell stories and lead workshops.

The PJ Library supports families in their Jewish journey by sending them monthly, a free Jewish-content children’s book. The PJ library is a Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver sponsored program.

SPONSORED BY THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER VANCOUVER PJ LIBRARY

Also appearing at Richmond Public Library at 2:00pm and
Vancouver Talmud Torah School on Nov 28

 

FOR CHILDREN ages 6-10

Sunday November 26  |  11:00am-12:00pm
DEBORAH KATZ / Rare Is Everywhere

FREE

 

Join us for a fun-filled morning where families can create rare animal art prints while author and illustrator Deborah Katz shares her new book Rare Is Everywhere through playful rhyme and brilliant illustrations. Rare Is Everywhere takes readers on a journey through the animal kingdom, revealing that grasshoppers can be pink, tigers can be white, and lobsters can be blue. Showcasing eleven incredible animals through vibrant illustrations and sparkling poetry, the book blends science with art and encourages children to recognize and accept differences in themselves and in others.

“This strikingly illustrated picture book…carries a thoughtful message for young readers: to be rare is to be different in a special way.”

DEBORAH KATZ is a Vancouver nursing professor, as well as a writer and artist whose work has appeared in galleries and various publications. Before becoming a nurse, Deborah studied wildlife biology and diversity in animal species, and how genetic changes can make them stand out in ways that are beautiful and breathtaking.

 

HEBREW BOOK EXCHANGE

Sunday November 26,  12:00-2:00pm

WRITING WORKSHOP

Sunday November 26  |  12:00-2:00pm
RAFI AARON – CREATING WILD METAPHORS

CANCELLED

 

Metaphors figure prominently in Rafi Aaron’s writing. They are unusual, often steeped in surrealism and force the reader to consider what is being described in a new and original light. In this workshop Rafi introduces novice and experienced writers to techniques which create metaphors that will punctuate their writing.

The three pillars of the workshop are: creating without thinking; building and expanding metaphors; creating unusual word associations.

RAFI AARON has been described by the Toronto Star as a poet “who allows simple, fresh, vivid words to cut individual jewels out of the material of language.” He has read his poetry all over the world. Rafi is also committed to alleviating the suffering of the homeless, as founder and spokesperson of The Interfaith Coalition to Fight Homelessness.

 

BOOK LAUNCH

Sunday November 26  |  2:00-3:00pm
LILLIAN BORAKS-NEMETZ  / The Mouth Of Truth

In partnership with the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre

FREE

 

Based on the author’s personal experience as a child in the Warsaw Ghetto, The Mouth of Truth is a gripping tale of impossible choices, divided loyalties, unimaginable horrors. Batya, now a grown woman has been trying to live a normal Canadian life in oblivion of her terrible past. One day, a friend confronts her with a secret revelation about her father, which makes her question her family history and its legacy of guilt. As a wife and mother, unaware that she is suffering from a childhood trauma (post-traumatic stress disorder), Batya approaches a crisis brought on by series of events that trigger memories of her family’s dark past with which she must cope before she can feel love, find healing and peace.

LILLIAN BORAKS-NEMETZ was born in Warsaw, Poland, and is a child survivor of the Holocaust. She escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto and spent the remainder of the war in hiding under a false identity. Boraks-Nemetz is the author of the award-winning novel The Old Brown Suitcase as well as The Sunflower Diary and The Lenski File. She is a creative writing instructor at the UBC’s Writing Centre and often speaks to students about the consequences of racism, as a member of the Holocaust Centre’s Outreach Program.

 

OUTREACH

Sunday November 26  |  1:00-2:30pm 
White Rock South Surrey JCC
SHARON HART-GREEN / Come Back For Me
ENDRE FARKAS / Never, Again
By donation. Click for details…

 

OUTREACH

Sunday November 26
3:00-4:30pm    Burquest Jewish Community Association
    by donation
5:30-7:00pm    Congregation Har El, North Shore    by donation

 

MIRIAM LIBICKI / Toward a Hot Jew

WINNER of the 2017 VINE AWARD FOR CANADIAN JEWISH LITERATURE – NON-FICTION

In her first collection of graphic essays, Miriam Libicki investigates what it means globally and culturally to be Jewish, dating from her time in the Israeli military to her tenure as an art professor. Toward a Hot Jew is a new high watermark in autobiographical comics and shows Libicki as a powerful witness to history. From hot to awkward, Sephardi to Ashkenazi, Jewish comic artists to renowned Jewish philosophers and politicians, Libicki portrays an array of authentic Jewish people in several contexts of history.

MIRIAM LIBICKI is a graphic novelist whose memoir jobnik! has been a required text in university courses. She teaches cartooning and illustration at Emily Carr and is currently the writer-in residence for the Vancouver Public Library.

 

 

PAUL SHORE / Uncorked – My Year in Provence studying Pétanque, discovering Chagall, drinking Pastis, and mangling French

A young Jewish expat accidentally chooses to live in the French village of Marc Chagall – let the uncorking of realizations begin! The book celebrates the “uncorking” of a few tightly held traditions that are near and dear to the hearts of the locals in Cote d’Azur and Provence –  being taught to play pétanque under the clandestine cover of darkness; developing an appreciation for art; drinking pastis before noon; navigating narrow village roads at top driving speed. As he lives in the presence of the spirit of the great Marc Chagall, Shore uncorks personal realizations about his Jewish roots and the challenges that newcomers face to gain acceptance into a foreign land.

PAUL SHORE is a technology industry veteran who has worked for world-renowned organizations Broadcom and VANOC, and has volunteered within the physical disabilities world. He lives in Whistler with his family.

 

POETRY – AT THE CORE OF OUR BEING

Sunday November 26  |  4:00-5:30pm
RAFI AARON, LISA RICHTER, NAOMI WEST
Moderator: ABBY WENER HERLIN

FREE

 

RAFI AARON / In the Days of the Cotton Wind and the Sparrow

“Rafi’As poems bask in the ethos of a world of prophets on mountaintops…”  – Paul Hamann

Aaron’s In the Days of the Cotton Wind and the Sparrow is a mystical encounter with the allegorical inhabitants of a remote civilization. “I wrote my best words here”, says Aaron.

Rafi Aaron has been described by the Toronto Star as a poet “who allows simple, fresh, vivid words to cut individual jewels out of the material of language.” He has read his poetry all over the world including The Jewish National Museum Washington, The University of St. Petersburg, the Jewish Community Library Los Angeles and throughout Canada. Rafi is also committed to alleviating the suffering of the homeless, as founder and spokesperson of The Interfaith Coalition to Fight Homelessness.

 

LISA RICHTER / Closer to Where We Began

“Lisa Richter weaves time and place with grace and expertise throughout the poems in this her first collection.“

A diverse array of poetry that follows the speaker on a path of self-discovery, this collection navigates the tension between memory and imagination, between the personal and the political, and the primacy of sensual, sensory, lived experience. By following the rhythm of each poem’s unfolding we are led to a ‘deeper quiet.’

LISA RICHTER is a Toronto-based poet, writer, and English  teacher. Her poetry has appeared in The Malahat ReviewThe PuritanThe Literary Review of CanadaCanthius, as well as other journals and anthologies. She was longlisted for the 2015 CBC Poetry Prize.

 

NAOMI WEST / poetic perspectives of a body in motion

Naomi West’s book  is an illuminating collection of three-line poems about the graceful moving body, with easy-to-follow practices for body and mind. What better way to experience the beauty of dance than to be offered its poetic perspective? Naomi will be reading her absorbing poems, as well as her poetic prose and will present her nature-inspired poem paintings.

NAOMI WEST is a Vancouver poet, Certified Yoga Teacher and visual artist. poetic perspectives of a body in motion is her first book.

ABBY WENER HERLIN is an educator,  researcher, editor and poet teaching at the UBC Department of Language and Literacy Education.

 

OUT OF HUNGARY, AFTER THE HOLOCAUST

Sunday November 26
5:30-7:00pm
SHARON HART-GREEN / Come Back For Me
ENDRE FARKAS / 
Never, Again

Buy Tickets or by phone 604-257-5111   |   $18

 

SHARON HART-GREEN

“Sharon Hart-Green writes passionately and intelligently about trauma, history and the true meaning of home. This novel is poignant and compassionate, vividly evoked and deeply satisfying.” —Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans

Set in the aftermath of World War II, Come Back For Me is the story of Artur Mandelkorn, a young Hungarian Holocaust survivor desperately searching for his beloved sister, Manya. Seemingly light-years away in time and place, the tranquil life of teenager Suzy Kohn in 1968 Toronto is shattered by the sudden death of her beloved uncle Charles. In a panoramic tale bound by love and understanding, by loss and memory, and by secrets and silences, Artur and Suzy’s stories come together in Israel after the Six-Day War. With heartfelt humanity, Come Back For Me evocatively illustrates both the scars left by tragedy and the possibilities for healing.

SHARON HART-GREEN has taught Hebrew and Yiddish literature at the University of Toronto. Her debut novel Come Back For Me was chosen as the inaugural fiction offering of The New Jewish Press. The author of two earlier works of non-fiction, Hart-Green’s short stories, poems and translations appeared in a variety of publications.

 

ENDRE FARKAS

Set in post-war Communist Hungary,  Never, Again is the story of seven-year-old Tomi Wolfstein, the son of Holocaust survivors who never spoke about their past in the concentration camps.

Most of the narrative is told from Tomi’s perspective as he attempts to understand the events leading to the Hungarian uprising. Interwoven into the escape story are flashbacks of his parents’ World War II experiences—stories of labour and concentration camps, of survival and escape. The book is Tomi’s journey from innocence to experience.

Apparently, the phrase “Never Again” first appeared on handmade signs put up by inmates at Buchenwald in April 1945, shortly after the camp was liberated. “Never Again” became the call of remembrance, a declaration and defiance of survivors. Since then, however, the phrase has been used after each subsequent genocide, and “Never, Again” has become a declaration of the world’s failure to prevent the horror from being repeated.

The son of Holocaust survivors, ENDRE FARKAS was born in Hungary. He escaped with his parents during the 1956 Hungarian Uprising and settled in Montreal. A poet, playwright and novelist, Farkas has published nine books of poetry and has had two plays produced.

Also appearing at White Rock South Surrey JCC at 1:00pm

 

MAGICAL REALISM AND HISTORY

Sunday November 26
7:30-8:30pm
RUBY NAMDAR / The Ruined House
In conversation with Matthew Gindin
SPONSORED BY DANIELLA GIVON AND BERNARD PINSKY

Buy Tickets or by phone 604-257-5111   |   $18

 

WINNER OF THE SAPIR PRIZE, ISRAEL’S HIGHEST LITERARY AWARD

“An absolute masterpiece, one of the most monumental works written in Hebrew in the last century.”

“It is a fascinating novel about the overwhelming presence of myth and historical trauma in our lives. A cross between Saul Bellow’s disintegrating intellectuals and Bulgakov’s mystical revelations, this is a fiercely inventive novel.”  — Amos Oz

The Ruined House is set in Manhattan in the early 2000s and in the ancient Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Completely mesmerizing and utterly hypnotic, the book follows its main hero Andrew Cohen, professor of comparative culture at NYU, 52-year-old academic superstar ​for whom the term charisma is a “cheap inadequacy.” He has a 26-year-old girlfriend and a stunning apartment overlooking the river; he publishes in the New Yorker; he even has a good relationship with his ex-wife. During the featured year, his world unravels and he is forced to question everything he previously believed. Infused with biblical, Talmudic, and Kabbalistic imagery, this magical-realist novel is as beautiful as it is unsettling.

RUBY NAMDAR is a Hebrew author and translator who was born and raised in Jerusalem to a family of Iranian-Jewish heritage. His first book Haviv (a collection of short stories) won Israel’s Ministry of Culture award for the best first publication. He currently lives in New York and teaches Jewish and Israeli literature.

MATTHEW GINDIN is a journalist and educator who writes and lectures on Jewish spirituality, culture, and history.

WCJ Book Awards

Thursday, April 26,  7:30pm
JCC Zack Gallery

AND THE WINNERS ARE…

Join us as we celebrate our authors and announce the winners of the  2018 Western Canada Jewish Book Awards.

The winning authors will speak about their books and creative process.

HOST: Marsha Lederman

AWARD CATEGORIES:
Fiction – The Diamond Foundation Prize
Non-fiction – The Pinsky Givon Family Prize
Poetry – The Betty Averbach Foundation Prize
Children/Youth – The Jonathan &  Heather Berkowitz Prize
Holocaust

Presented by the Cherie Smith JCC Jewish Book Festival

Contact Us

FESTIVAL INFORMATION

Events take place at the JCC
950 W. 41st Ave., Vancouver

Dana Camil Hewitt
Director, Cherie Smith JCCGV Jewish Book Festival
Tel: 604-257-5156
Email: jbf@jccgv.bc.ca

PUBLICITY & MEDIA

Jodi Smith
JLS Entertainment
Tel: (604) 736 4939
Email: jls@jlsentertainment.ca

2017 Festival Supporters

Remembering Cherie Smith 
Cherie Smith founded the Jewish Book Festival in Vancouver in 1984. She passed away in July 1999. Cherie served as the Festival’s chairperson, literary inspiration and tireless worker for many years. Her lifelong love of books was evident in her career as an editor, publisher and author of her own family history, Mendel’s Children: A Family Chronicle. Cherie’s legacy lives on through the thousands of people who flock to the Festival each year.

FOUNDING PATRONS 
Julian (Buddy) Smith and family
Annette Rothstein (z’l) and family

EVENT SPONSORS
The Kirman Foundation for Yiddish Culture
National Council of Jewish Women
of Canada – Vancouver Section
The Lutsky Families
Nancy Brown Halpern
Esther Chetner
Daniella Givon & Bernard Pinsky
Beverley Kort & Ray Schachter
Helen Pinsky
Elie & Zev Shafran

PUBLISHERS
The Ben & Esther Dayson Charitable Foundation
Miri & Larry Garaway
Karen James
Andrea & Yossi Kowaz
Moshe Mastai

PUBLISHERS (continued)
Nancy Richler
Harley & Eleanore Rothstein
Barb Small & Leonard Schein
Judy & Isaac Thau

READERS
Anonymous
Alexander Hart and Kathryn Selby
Dana & David Hewitt
Bess Hirsch
Robert and Marilyn Krell
Janos & Noni Mate
Julie & Michael Seelig
Frieda Miller & Danny Shapiro

FRIENDS
Martha & Ron Burnett
Jane Cherry
Cathy Moss & Alvin Wasserman

FESTIVAL SPONSORS