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Welcome to the Literatour, a Community-wide Celebration of Jewish Books and Authors

This season brings an exciting lineup of 9 exceptional authors, celebrities, and cultural influencers, whose books represent a broad range of topics. Through Literatour, fellow book lovers come together to listen, meet and interact with their favorite authors in a variety of forums, including author meet-and-greets, book signings, panel discussions, concerts, and more. All of the featured books are available for purchase and signing at each author’s event.

Kirsten Fermaglich, "A Rosenberg by Any Other Name: A History of Jewish Name Changing in America"

Tuesday, December 10, 7:00 PM
Location: Springfield JCC

Our thinking about Jewish name changing tends to focus on clichés: ambitious movie stars who adopted glamorous new names or insensitive Ellis Island officials who changed immigrants’ names for them. But the real story is much more profound. Mining court documents, oral histories, archival records, and contemporary literature, this history of name changing in the U.S. offers a previously unexplored window into American Jewish life throughout the 20th century. Kirsten Fermaglich teaches History and Jewish Studies at Michigan State University and is the co-editor of American Jewish History. She has never changed her name.

“Fermaglich’s thorough research and bright insights produce a provocative account of a seldom-explored cultural phenomenon.” – Kirkus Reviews

Admission: Free for members of the J, the Yiddish Book Center, and the Western Massachusetts Jewish Genealogical Society; $7 general public

Co-sponsored by the Yiddish Book Center and the Western Massachusetts Jewish Genealogical Society

Jenna Blum, "The Lost Family"

Winter/Spring Kick-off Event!
Thursday, February 13, 7:00 PM
Location: Springfield JCC

Peter Rashkin, an Auschwitz survivor and the owner and head chef of a well-known Manhattan restaurant, falls for June Bouquet, an up-and-coming model that’s twenty years his junior. Up until this point, Peter had resigned himself to a solitary life consumed by his terrible guilt over surviving the atrocities of the Nazi death camp while his family perished. When June unexpectedly becomes pregnant, Peter proposes, believing that a new family with the woman he loves will allow him to let go of his past. But over the next two decades, it becomes clear that the horrors of his past will overshadow Peter, June, and their daughter Elsbeth, transforming them in shocking, heartbreaking, and unexpected ways. Jenna Blum is a New York Times and #1 international bestselling author.

“The Lost Family is an extraordinary read, the kind of book that makes you sob and smile, the kind that gives you hope…It is compassionate, masterful, and disturbingly contemporary.” – Tatiana de Rosnay, bestselling author of Sarah’s Key

Admission: Free for JCC members, $7 general public

Co-sponsored by Life Lessons: The William & Margery Sadowsky Center for Adult Learning

Alana Newhouse, "The 100 Most Jewish Foods: A Highly Debatable List"

Thursday, March 5, 7:00 PM
Location: Yiddish Book Center

To paraphrase an old cliché, put any two Jews together and you’ll have three opinions about Jewish food. Ask them to name the most Jewish food and the list turns highly debatable. Tablet‘s list of the 100 most Jewish foods is not about the most popular Jewish foods, or the tastiest, or even the most enduring. It’s a list of the most significant foods culturally and historically to the Jewish people, explored deeply with essays, recipes, stories, and context. Informative, unexpected, passionate, quirky, and rich with layers of tradition and history, this book celebrates the one unwavering constant of Jewish life: food. Alana Newhouse is the editor-in-chief and founder of Tablet, a daily online magazine of Jewish news, ideas, and culture.

“[A] love letter – to food, family, faith, and identity, and the deliciously tangled way they come together.” – NPR’s The Salt

Admission: Free for JCC and Yiddish Book Center members, $7 general public

Co-sponsored by the Yiddish Book Center

David R. Dow, "Confessions of an Innocent Man"

Thursday, April 30, 7:00 PM
Location: Springfield JCC

Rafael Zhettah, a bachelor who’s content with having few personal or material attachments that ground him, relishes the simplicity and freedom of his life. Then, lightning strikes. He falls in love with Tieresse, a billionaire, philanthropist, sophisticate bombshell. When she’s brutally murdered in their home, he is convicted of the crime and sentenced to death. But for Rafael, death row is not the end; it is only the beginning. Now with his recaptured freedom, he’ll stop at nothing to deliver justice to those who stole everything from him. David R. Dow is the Cullen Professor at the University of Houston Law Center and the Rorschach Visiting Professor of History at Rice University. He is also the founder and director of the Texas Innocent Network.

“A debut novel that’s a page-turner with a message…[Dow’s] criminal work is a clear influence on this novel, and his passion bleeds through on every page. The claustrophobic nature of prisons, the routine cruelty, the anonymous suffering, the decrepit conditions – they all come through in straight-forward, well-written prose…A solidly suspenseful novel.” – Kirkus Reviews

Admission: Free for JCC members, $7 general public

B. A. Shapiro, "The Collector's Apprentice"

Thursday, May 21, 2:00 PM
Location: Glenmeadow Retirement Community

Everyone in Belgium believes Paulien Mertens stole millions in a sophisticated con game perpetrated by her then-fiancé. To protect herself from the law, she creates a new identity – a Frenchwoman named Vivienne Gregsby – and sets out to recover her father’s art collection to prove her innocence. When the eccentric American art collector Edwin Bradley offers Vivienne the perfect job, she’s soon caught up in the Parisian world of post-Impressionists and expatriates. As she gets more involved, her life becomes even more complicated: her ex-fiancé returns with unclear motives and Vivienne is arrested for Edwin’s murder. B. A. Shapiro is the author of eight novels, including the award-winning New York Times bestseller The Art Forger and the bestseller The Muralist.

“B. A. Shapiro is back with a platinum potion of art, love, and scandal, set against the big backdrop of Paris between the wars. If you can put The Collector’s Apprentice down, you’re made of stronger stuff than I am. I read it in one sumptuous sitting. This is a big story, from a big talent.” – Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean

Admission: Free

Co-sponsored by Glenmeadow Retirement Community