JCC-Northern Virginia book festival underway

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Closing night of the eighth annual Northern Virginia Jewish Book Festival features Israeli Lihi Lapid, who tells a true-life story of women (and men) struggling to live up to expectations in her recently translated novel Woman of Valor.  Photo by Elinor Milchan
Closing night of the eighth annual Northern Virginia Jewish Book Festival features Israeli Lihi Lapid, who tells a true-life story of women (and men) struggling to live up to expectations in her recently translated novel Woman of Valor.
Photo by Elinor Milchan

Whether you’re a book enthusiast or not, you may want to check out the Northern Virginia Jewish Book Festival. Hosted by the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia, the annual festival kicked off its eighth year on Nov. 2 and will run until Nov. 13.

“Everyone’s promoting a book,” said Dan Kirsch, the director of the JCCNV’s Cultural Arts Department.


Ten featured authors from the U.S. and Israel have or will be making an appearance at the festival, presenting attendees with a diverse range of programs. Authors include T.K. Thorne, Ann Kirschner and Marion Grodin. Aside from author appearances, the festival will also feature an inventory of more than 800 books that are for sale.

Opening day featured a workshop by David Ebenbach, author of The Artist’s Torah, a Jewish guide to creativity. Kirsch said the group that attended was small, but were blown away and honored to have been a part of Ebenbach’s creative process.

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Opening night featured Slash Coleman promoting his memoir, The Bohemian Love Diaries, which highlights his upbringing by his eccentric family of artists.

“Slash gave a performance of a show he’s developing off Broadway, based on the book,” Kirsch said. “It was a treat for our audience.”


The festival also featured a program for children on Sunday, as children’s book character Sammy Spider, who’s now 20 years old, celebrated its birthday with crafts, music and stories.

High-profile appearances include Martin Fletcher, NBC’s Israel correspondent who will stop by the festival on Nov. 9 to promote his novel, Jacob’s Oath. Released last month, the book revolves around a Holocaust survivor looking to avenge his brother’s murder at the end of World War II.

The festival will also honor local authors. On Nov. 12, Alan Orloff will host a local author event in Arlington, where 10 authors will have three minutes to introduce themselves and their writer persona. Kirsch described it as speed dating for authors.

Lihi Lapid, Israeli journalist and wife of Israel’s finance minister, Yair Lapid, will close out the festival, promoting her novel Woman of Valor, which follows the struggles of two women in their early years of motherhood. One woman is fictitious while the other is based on Lapid herself.

“This program for us was crucial because it touches on women’s issues, the special-needs community [Lapid’s daughter is special needs], Israel and politics,” Kirsch said. “It will be a fantastic closing.”

Depending on the event, single ticket prices range from free to $19. An all-access pass is $33-$66. For more information about the festival and a full schedule, go to jccnvarts.org.

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