(901) 761-0810

Jewish Literary and Cultural Arts Festival


Questions about the Festival? Contact Jeremy Weiser, Assistant Director and Senior Vice President for Programs, at (901) 259-9235 or jweiser@jccmemphis.org.



Keron Psillas
Loss and Beauty: Creating Solace in a Land of Infinite Sorrow
Shainberg Gallery exhibit opening and conversation with artist Keron Psillas
Thu, Oct 15 • 7:30pm • Free!

Photographer and essayist Keron Psillas will be sharing her insights and the process behind her exhibit. She will speak about the power behind the images, as well as the profound concept that creative acts can sustain individuals through the darkest of times.
This project, inspired by Hannelore Brenner’s book The Girls of Room 28, tells the story of fourteen survivors who found healing power through writing, drawing, singing, or performing, creative acts that helped them survive through a truly horrendous time. Through this inspiration, Psillas took photos memorializing the Holocaust and layered them with her contrasting images of the surrounding beautiful natural environment.
Keron Psillas is a photographer, writer, instructor, and mentor, with an extensive background in the print and publishing industry. She has spent considerable time in Eastern Europe, traveling from her home in Portugal to complete her work on Loss and Beauty.
Exhibit in the Shainberg Gallery Oct 15–Nov 6

Faye and Jonathan Kellerman
The Theory of Death by Faye Kellerman
The Murderer’s Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman
A conversation with the Kellermans
Sat, Oct 17 • 7:45pm • $10

Join us as we welcome the Kellermans to Memphis! New York Times bestselling authors Faye and Jonathan Kellerman will speak about their new books, The Theory of Death and The Murderer’s Daughter.
The Kellermans are the only married couple ever to appear on the New York Times bestseller list simultaneously. In 1985, Jonathan’s first novel, When the Bough Breaks, was published to enormous critical and commercial success. Since then, Jonathan has published at least one best-selling crime novel every year. Faye’s first novel, The Ritual Bath, was published in 1986 to wide critical and commercial acclaim, and there are now well over twenty million copies of her novels in print internationally.
In Partnership with 100NewFamilies.com Move To Memphis
Dessert Reception sponsored by RVW Investing, LLC

Alan Lightman
Screening Room: Family Pictures
Author Alan Lightman in conversation with Jimmy Ogle
Mon, Oct 19 • 7:30pm • $15/ $12m

*The Alan Lightman event will take place at Malco Ridgeway Cinema Grill, at 5853 Ridgeway Center Parkway. All other events will be held at the MJCC.
Alan Lightman will speak about his latest book, a partially fictionalized memoir about his grandfather, family patriarch M.A. Lightman. Extending from 1880 to the present, Screening Room is set against the changing backdrop of Memphis—rhythm and blues, barbecue and pecan pie, segregated society. Lightman chronicles his return to Memphis in an attempt to understand the origins he so eagerly left behind forty years earlier.
Alan Lightman is a writer, physicist, and social entrepreneur from Memphis, who was educated at Princeton and at the California Institute of Technology. He has served on the faculty at Harvard, and is currently professor of the practice of the humanities at MIT. He is also the author of 6 novels, several collections of essays, and a book-length narrative poem, as well as several books on science. Lightman is the founding director of the Harpswell Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower a new generation of women leaders in Cambodia.
Moderator Jimmy Ogle is the Chairman of the Shelby County Historical Commission and the official Shelby County Historian.


Shirel Horovitz
Israeli Art as a Window to Israeli Society
A conversation with artist Shirel Horovitz
Wed, Oct 21 • 7:30pm • Free!

Zionism, religion, the conflict, gender, socio-economic divides, and other issues often come into play in the images and forms of Israeli art. In this lecture, a dynamic exploration of the historical and contemporary Israeli art scenes, Shirel Horovitz will share a fresh look and an insider’s point of view on central issues in Israeli society. During her residency, Horovitz will create an installation, inspired by workshops and classes with members of the Memphis Jewish community, to be shown in the Shainberg Gallery beginning Nov 11.
Using video, sound, sculpting and texts, Tel Aviv based artist Shirel Horovitz, creates performances and installations exploring cities and communities. In her works she creates unique formats of collaboration and research to explore the meeting points and gaps between her own point of view and the one the community has of itself. Horovitz earned her BFA from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem and her MA from The Interdisciplinary Art program in Tel Aviv University. Her works and projects have been exhibited in Israel and in the US.
MJCC Israeli Artist In Residence Oct 19–Nov 19.  Click here to learn more about Shirel's visit.  We would like to thank the Lemsky Endowment Fund at the Memphis Jewish Federation for their support of the Israeli in Residence series.
Shainberg Gallery Exhibit Opening Nov 11 at 7:30pm


Dani Klein Modisett
Take My Spouse, Please
Featuring the stand-up comedy of author Dani Klein Modisett
Thu, Oct 29 • 7:30pm • $15/ $12m

Join us for an evening of laughter and love. With humor and grace, Dani Klein Modisett shares a map for navigating your marriage through rough patches, bad jokes, and even nights when you bomb.
Take My Spouse, Please shows how thirteen tried-and- true rules of comedy, when applied to marriage, keep you and your spouse connected, enjoying each other, and getting through tough times. Along with anecdotes from well-known comedians, comedy writers, marriage counselors, and long-term spouses, she delivers the core premise: humor matters.
Comedian-turned-author Dani Klein Modisett has written two books and is a frequent contributor to LA Parent Magazine, Huffington Post, and Parents Magazine. She has worked as a comedian at clubs and colleges across the country. Dani taught stand-up comedy at UCLA for nearly a decade and now teaches a workshop called “Writing For Performance.” She is a graduate of Dartmouth College and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons.

Sherre Hirsch Celebrating Empowered Women Luncheon
Thresholds: How to Thrive Through Life’s Transitions to Live Fearlessly and Regret-Free
Author Sherre Hirsch in conversation with Leanne Kleinmann
Wed, Nov 4 • 11:30am
General Admission $36 for members/$45 for community • Includes luncheon and raffle ticket
Gold $118 for members/$148 for community • Includes luncheon, raffle ticket, author meet and greet, VIP seating
Diamond $180 • Includes luncheon, raffle ticket, author meet and greet, VIP seating, autographed books
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Gather with women from across the community and learn from Rabbi Sherre Hirsch, interviewed by Leanne Kleinmann. Rabbi Hirsch speaks of thresholds as times of transition when we are moving away from the way we were accustomed to living and toward a new way of thinking, feeling, and being.
Rabbi Sherre Hirsch, one of JW Magazine’s Top 10 Women to Watch, is driven to empower women to create their own dreams and find the doorway they need to move forward with their lives.
Leanne Kleinmann was the first female editor of Memphis Magazine. She has also been an editor and blogger at The Commercial Appeal. She is currently the Director of Advancement at St. Mary’s Episcopal School


Ambassador Dennis Ross

Private Pre-Reception
Tue, Nov 10 • 5:45pm • $250 per couple/ $125 per person • LIMITED AVAILABILITY
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Includes VIP seating for the keynote talk at 7:30pm, an intimate setting for interaction with Ambassador Ross, a signed copy of Doomed to Succeed, heavy appetizers, and wine.
Tue, Nov 10 • 7:30pm • $15/$12m
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Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama
Author Dennis Ross in conversation with Rachel Shankman
Mr. Ross will speak about U.S.-Israel relations, beginning with Israel’s inception and chronicling the tension between our two countries over nearly three-quarters of a century.
Dennis Ross is the Counselor and Davidson Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at Georgetown. He has held diplomatic positions under several U.S. presidents, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Regan.
Moderator Rachel Shankman is a longtime member of the Memphis community and recently retired from her position as Senior Director of Facing History and Ourselves.
Dennis Ross Community Partners
Anshei Sphard Beth El Emeth CongregationBaron Hirsch CongregationBeth Sholom Synagogue of MemphisChabad Center for Jewish LifeMorris S. Fogelman Jewish Student Center at Hillel of MemphisTemple IsraelYoung Israel of Memphis


Nicole Dweck
The Debt of Tamar
Author Nicole Dweck in conversation with Professor Stephen E. Tabachnick
Thu, Nov 12 • 7:30pm • $15/ $12m
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Join us as we learn about the stunning true story of Dona Gracia Nasi, who inspired Dweck’s novel The Debt of Tamar. Born into one of the world’s wealthiest families during the time of the Inquisition, secret Jewess Dona Gracia Nasi was destined to become one of the most sought after heiresses in all of Catholic Europe—that is, until she became one of the most hunted. Having secretly funded an underground movement that rescued Jews from the flames of the Inquisition, she eventually had to embark on the harrowing journey that would take her and her family from the hells of persecution to an unlikely sanctuary in the Middle East: the Ottoman Empire.
Nicole Dweck holds a BA in Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Global Affairs from NYU. The Debt of Tamar was a USA Today bestseller and received honorable mention in Writer’s Digest’s Self-Published Book Awards.
Dr. Stephen E. Tabachnick is a Professor in the English Department at the University of Memphis, specializing in late Victorian and modern English literature, particularly Anglo-Arabian travel writing.>


Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Single Jewish Male Seeking Soul Mate
A conversation with author Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Wed, Nov 18 • 7:30pm • $15/ $12m
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Letty Cottin Pogrebin will speak to us about the impact of inherited trauma (like the Holocaust or slavery) on past and future generations, the tension between romantic love and responsibility to one’s people, and the changing relationship between Blacks and Jews in America.
Pogrebin’s novel introduces us to Zach Levy, the son of Holocaust survivors, who promises his mother that he’ll marry within the tribe. But when Zach falls for Cleo, an African-American activist who grew up in Memphis during the time of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, he must reconcile the family he loves with the woman who might be his soul mate.
A founding editor and writer for Ms. Magazine, Letty Cottin Pogrebin has written eleven books and was consulting editor on Free to Be, You and Me, Marlo Thomas’ ground-breaking children’s book. Her devotion to advancing inter-group harmony inspired her participation in a longstanding Black-Jewish dialogue group. She currently serves on the boards of the Ms. Foundation for Education & Communication, The Free to Be Foundation, the Harvard Divinity School Women Studies in Religion Program, the Brandeis University Women’s and Gender Studies Program, and others.



Thanks to all our sponsors




Funded by an Arts Build Communities grant—a program funded by the Tennessee General Assembly and administered in cooperation with the Tennessee Arts Commission and ArtsMemphis.

Passport to Discovery Patrons
Sharon and Michael GoldsteinMimi GrossmanJohn PregulmanLaurie and Elkan ScheidtJill and Ken SteinbergCathy and Craig Weiss

Special Thanks to Jewish Community Partners and United Way of the Mid-South.

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