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Mayerson JCC Jewish Book Series

This spring, the Mayerson JCC Jewish Book Series will bring three talented authors to Cincinnati to speak about their inspiration, their process, and their recent releases. Learn about Jamie Bernstein’s acclaimed memoir “Famous Father Girl,” Naomi Nachman’s creative and informative cookbook “Perfect Flavors,” and Andrew Ridker’s tragicomic debut novel “The Altruists.” Join us at the JCC to hear these writers’ personal stories as we celebrate Jewish literary perspectives.

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Individual event and full-series tickets are available:
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Famous Father Girl: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein
Event Postponed TBD
Author: Jamie Bernstein

Featuring a panel discussion with the author, Louis Langrée (Music Director, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra), Janelle Gelfand (Arts Writer, Cincinnati Business Courier), and moderated by Paula Brehm-Heeger (Eva Jane Romaine Coombe Library Director, The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County).

This event is in partnership with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

Book Synopsis

The old­est daugh­ter of revered composer/​conductor Leonard Bern­stein offers a rare look at her father on the cen­ten­ni­al of his birth in a deeply inti­mate and broad­ly evoca­tive mem­oir. In Famous Father Girl, Bern­stein mines the emo­tion­al depths of her child­hood and invites us into her fam­i­ly’s pri­vate world. A fan­tas­tic set of char­ac­ters pop­u­lates the Bern­steins’ lives, includ­ing: the Kennedys, Mike Nichols, John Lennon, Richard Ave­don, Stephen Sond­heim, Jerome Rob­bins, and Bet­ty (Lau­ren) Bacall. An intox­i­cat­ing tale and an inti­mate med­i­ta­tion on a com­plex and some­times trou­bled man, the fam­i­ly he raised, and the music he com­posed that became the sound­track to their entwined lives. Deeply mov­ing and often hilar­i­ous, Bern­stein’s beau­ti­ful­ly writ­ten mem­oir is a great Amer­i­can sto­ry about one of the great­est Amer­i­cans of the mod­ern age. HarperCollins, 2019. 400 pages.

Author Bio

Jamie Bern­stein is an author, broad­cast­er, film­mak­er and con­cert nar­ra­tor. In addi­tion to writ­ing arti­cles and con­cert nar­ra­tions, Jamie trav­els exten­sive­ly, speak­ing about music as well as about her father, Leonard Bern­stein. Jamie’s film doc­u­men­tary, Crescen­do: the Pow­er of Music, is view­able on iTunes.

Perfect Flavors: Creative Easy-to-Prepare Recipes Inspired by My Family and Travels
May 14, 2020; 6pm
Author: Naomi Nachman

Enjoy a cooking demonstration by this round-the-world cooking teacher and taste some of her recipes.

Book Synopsis

Per­fect Fla­vors high­lights cre­ative kosher cook­ing, allow­ing kosher cooks to ele­vate their cui­sine while main­tain­ing the high­est stan­dards of kashrut. Many recipes are inspired by the author’s trav­els to Jew­ish her­itage sites around the world, bring­ing exot­ic world fla­vors to the kosher home.

Tra­di­tion­al and hol­i­day foods are giv­en a mod­ern twist, and lush pho­tographs for each recipe add eye appeal. The book includes freez­er tips and plan-ahead infor­ma­tion, and an ingre­di­ent guide high­lights the author’s depth of knowl­edge of ingredients. Artscroll, 2018. 288 pages.

Author Bio

Nao­mi Nach­man a native of Aus­tralia who now lives in Wood­mere, New York with her hus­band and chil­dren, is a renowned, round-the-world cook­ing teacher, food colum­nist, recipe devel­op­er, and per­son­al chef. The author of the best­selling Per­fect for Pesach and Per­fect Fla­vors cook­books shares her pas­sion and enthu­si­asm for cook­ing, serv­ing, eat­ing, and shar­ing amaz­ing food from around the world. Nao­mi has a radio show, Table for Two, on the Nach­man Segal Net­work, and has made numer­ous appear­ances on nation­al television.

The Altruists
May 27, 2020; 7pm
Author: Andrew Ridker

The author will be interviewed by Jennifer Glaser (Associate Professor of English, University of Cincinnati).

Book Synopsis

Arthur Alter is in trouble. A middling professor at a Midwestern college, he can’t afford his mortgage, he’s exasperated his much-younger girlfriend, and his kids won’t speak to him. And then there’s the money–the small fortune his late wife, Francine, kept secret, which she bequeathed directly to his children.

Those children are Ethan, an anxious recluse living off his mother’s money on a choice plot of Brooklyn real estate, and Maggie, a would-be do-gooder trying to fashion herself a noble life of self-imposed poverty. On the verge of losing the family home, Arthur invites his children back to St. Louis under the guise of reconciliation. But in doing so, he unwittingly unleashes a Pandora’s box of age-old resentments and long-buried memories–memories that orbit Francine, the matriarch whose life may hold the key to keeping them together.

Spanning New York, Paris, Boston, St. Louis, and a small desert outpost in Zimbabwe, The Altruists is a darkly funny (and ultimately tender) family saga that confronts the divide between baby boomers and their millennial offspring. It’s a novel about money, privilege, politics, campus culture, dating, talk therapy, rural sanitation, infidelity, kink, the American beer industry, and what it means to be a “good person.” Viking, 2019. 320 pages.

Author Bio

Andrew Rid­ker was born in 1991. His writ­ing has appeared in The New York Times Mag­a­zine, The Paris Review, Dai­ly Guer­ni­ca, Boston Review, The Believ­er, and St. Louis Mag­a­zine; and he is the edi­tor of Pri­va­cy Pol­i­cy: The Anthol­o­gy of Sur­veil­lance Poet­ics. He is the recip­i­ent of an Iowa Arts Fel­low­ship from the Iowa Writ­ers’ Work­shop. The Altru­ists is his first novel.

Series Pass: J Member: $32; public: $38
April 1:  Famous Father Girl: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein – J Member: $12; public: $15
May 14: Perfect Flavors: Creative Easy-to-Prepare Recipes Inspired by My Family and Travels – J Member: $15; public: $18
May 27: The Altruists – J Member: $12; public: $15

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This series is in partnership with the Jewish Book Council