Book lovers can help celebrate
the Jewish Book Fair's 36th
— double chai— anniversary
Volunteers helping Cultural Arts Director Adele Silver, back row, center, are, from left: Harriet Berlin, Nina
Schneyer, Donna Sklar and Gertrude Lahr; and seated, Joyce Burkoff.
Donna Sklar, left, and Nina help review books in order to choose authors to appear at the
Special to The Jewish News
f it's November it must be Jewish
Book Month, and this year the
Jewish Book Fair organizers at
the Jewish Community Center in
West Bloomfield have double
reason to celebrate.
This is the book fair's 36th year
— lucky double chai — made even
more significant since it falls during
Michigan's Sesquicentennial year.
The nine-day book fair, held at the
main Jewish Community Center
Saturday through Nov. 15, draws
some 25,000 book lovers each year
and offers nearly 2,000 selections of
recently published Judaica.
Thirty-one speakers and per-
formers will be on hand Saturday
through Nov. 15 with programs for
everyone from scholars to humor-
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seekers, from singles to mixed-
marrieds, from children to senior
citizens. Several programs will be
presented in Yiddish and Hebrew.
Robert St. John, author of the re-
cent biography Ben-Gurion, Builder
of Israel, opens the book fair tomor-
row at 8 p.m. in a special program
commemorating double chai. St.
John, the author of ten other books on
the Middle East and a former war cor-
respondent, was honored as a
"Righteous Gentile" by the U.S.
Holocaust Council and is the reci-
pient of Israel's highest award to a
non-Jew, the Medallion of Valor.
At least six of the scheduled
authors have Michigan ties; former
Free Press staffer John Weisman, now
TV Guide's Washington Bureau chief,
discuses his novel, Blood Ties, the
story of an American reporter whose
own Jewishness is tested as he is
caught in the shadowy world of Israeli ten and read — and especially to en-
courage new authors."
Native Detroiter Susan Dworkin
Silver says the organizers try to
has penned Miss America, 1945 - Bess balance topics and authors so that
Myerson's Own Story, a collaborative each fair is unique. Though fair
effort with Myerson, who, despite her guidelines state that showcased books
present New York Grand Jury woes, must have been published within the
is scheduled to appear with Dworkin.
last year and reflect Jewish content,
George Gershwin, America's there are always plenty of books to
musical genius, is the subject of choose from.
Saginaw native Edward Jablonski's
"Twenty-five people work all year
lively, meticulously researched long scouring magazines like
biography, Jablonski's friendships Publishers Weekly, reading reviews,
with Gershwin's family and friends — ordering review copies and reading
especially his late brother, Ira — gave them — doing anything they can to
the author access to personal cor- make the right selections," Silver
respondence, rare documents from the said, "and by the time they're finish-
Gershwin archives and photographs ed, we've got the cream of the crop!"
never before published.
Silver, a ten-year book fair
Other Michigan-linked Book Fair veteran, says this year is no exception,
authors include former Oak Parker, and though she's reluctant to
Rabbi Lawrence Kushner (Book of highlight any one author or book
Miracles), and native Detroiters Alan ("They're all special"), she takes a
Tigay The Jewish Traveler) and moment to talk about Holocaust sur-
Elaine Serling (Sing and Celebrate). vivor Henry Orenstein, author of the
Cultural Arts Director Adele just-published I Shall Live.
Silver says the book fair, the oldest Continued on Page 42
and largest in the nation, will add
something new this year. On Friday,
Nov. 13 (yes, a Friday opening. Silver
says they'll try it this year and see
how it goes) grandparents can buy a
book and read it aloud before video
"A lot of grandparents read to
their grandchildren on audio tapes
already," Silver said, "so we decided
to take it one step further. Most peo-
ple have VCRs, but not everyone has
a camera. So from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
on Friday we'll have a studio open for
Besides the price of the book, tap-
ing is $15 for a half-hour, by appoint-
ment only (616-1000, ext. 341)
Silver says that, despite the lack
of speaker fees or honoraria (transpor-
tation and lodging costs are picked up
by sponsors), the book fair has no
trouble drawing author-speakers.
"This is a showcase for them and
we're happy to provide it. Our aim is Adele Silver coordinates the authors and
to encourage Jewish books to be writ- sponsors and oversees the entire book fair.