Speaker Ayelet Waldman addresses the crowd at a past Jewish Book Fair.

Speaker Ayelet Waldman addresses the crowd at a past Jewish Book Fair.

Photo provided by the JCC


Jewish Book Fair is an open book at JCC

By: Sherri Kolade | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published October 26, 2018

 Attendees enjoy a past Jewish Book Fair at the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit.

Attendees enjoy a past Jewish Book Fair at the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit.

Photo provided by the JCC

 Jenn Abelson, an investigative reporter for the Boston Globe Spotlight Team and co-author of the memoir, “I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor’s Story of Sexual Assault,” will be featured at the book fair. She worked collaboratively with Chessy Prout, a high school sexual assault survivor.

Jenn Abelson, an investigative reporter for the Boston Globe Spotlight Team and co-author of the memoir, “I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor’s Story of Sexual Assault,” will be featured at the book fair. She worked collaboratively with Chessy Prout, a high school sexual assault survivor.

Photo provided by the JCC

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WEST BLOOMFIELD  — Judy Loebl remembers the annual Jewish Book Fair fondly from her youth.

“I actually have been at many, many of the book fairs going back many years and remembering even as a child as part of the Jewish Community Center’s history to have a Jewish Book Fair,” she said.

The Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit’s 67th annual Jewish Book Fair will be held Nov. 3-14.

Loebl, the assistant executive director of the JCC, can now appreciate the book fair in a different way.

The annual event is the oldest and largest Jewish book fair in the nation, Loebl said. It will feature over 40 authors writing on various topics, from jellyfish to healthy eating and beyond.

Literature, the arts, philosophy, theology, history and current events are all on offer.

The annual book fair is a communitywide event open to the public. In the past, it has had an audience of more than 20,000 people of all ages.

Event chairperson Terry Hollander is looking forward to it.

“We are so excited to host every year an extraordinary group of authors from around the country,” Hollander said in a press release.

One of the highlights includes a 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 “Opening Comedy Night with Sarge.”

Sarge, Born Steven Charles Pickman, is the author of “The Black Boychik: The hilarious journey of a fat, mixed-race Jew crack addict who somehow becomes a comedian. Go figure.”

His story is about overcoming drug and alcohol addiction, making it in show business, becoming a husband and a father, and being a son and a mentor to thousands, according to a press release.

At 8 p.m. Nov. 8, “The Faygo Book” author Joe Grimm will talk about his life and work as a journalist and beyond.

At 12:30 p.m. Nov. 12, “The Opposite of Hate” author Sally Kohn will talk about why people hate.

Jenn Abelson, an investigative reporter for the Boston Globe Spotlight Team and co-author of the memoir “I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor’s Story of Sexual Assault,” will be featured at the book fair.

She worked collaboratively with Chessy Prout, who is a high school sexual assault survivor.

“It’s her memoir of her story, and we collaborated on it together,” Abelson said.

Prout was sexually assaulted as a 15-year-old in high school in New Hampshire.

“She reported her perpetrator to police, testified against him in court, and she faced incredible backlash from her community,” Abelson said. “This is kind of her really difficult and inspiring journey she went on as a survivor.”

Abelson said that Prout — who has told her story on national television — wanted to give other young survivors hope “to let them know that they are not alone.”

“Time to Get Tough: How Cookies, Coffee and a Crash Led to Success in Business and Life” author Michael J. Coles said in an email that he tells the story of what he has learned in the past half-century “not to extol my accomplishments, but to show readers that they have the ability to overcome obstacles, face challenges and uncover strength that they may not even know they had,” he said.

He is looking forward to coming back to Michigan, “a state that played an important role in my early business career, to share these stories and inspire audiences at the Jewish Book Fair. This is a great event, and I’m pleased to be a featured speaker at the breakfast co-sponsored by the Greater West Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce.”

Loebl said November is Jewish Book Month, and the Jewish Book Fair features Jewish authors and Jewish-based subject matter.

“We want to make it clear that we are inclusive and open to anybody to attend,” she said. “What we try to do is give really a cross-section of areas that are of interest to people.”

All events will be held at the Jewish Community Center and the Berman Center for the Performing Arts, 6600 W. Maple Road in West Bloomfield. Most events are free; for ticketed events, call the box office at (248) 661-1900. For a complete schedule of the book fair, visit jccdet.org/bookfair.

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