(901) 761-0810

Jewish Literary and Cultural Arts Festival


Questions about the Festival? Please contact:

Marcy Stagner
Program Director for Cultural Arts & Adult Services

(901) 259-9230


Jeremy Weiser
Assistant Director & Senior Vice President for Programs
(901) 259-9235


Jonathan Safran Foer
A conversation with Jonathan Safran Foer, author of "Here I Am"

Jonathan Safran Foer is the author of two bestselling, award-winning novels, Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredible Close, and the bestselling work of nonfiction, Eating Animals. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Unfolding over three tumultuous weeks in present-day Washington, DC, Here I Am is the story of a fracturing family in a moment of crisis. As Jacob and Julia and their three sons are forced to confront the distances between the lives they think they want and the lives they are living, a catastrophic earthquake sets in motion a pan-Arab invasion of Israel. At stake is the very meaning of home—and the fundamental question of how much life one can bear.

Book is recommended for mature audiences.

Susan Silverman Celebrating Empowered Women Luncheon
Presentation by Susan Silverman, author of "Casting Lots"

Susan Silverman is a writer, activist, speaker, and rabbi. She has written for and been featured in The Boston Globe, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post, among other publications. She and her spouse, Yosef Abramowitz, have five children—biological and adopted—and live in Jerusalem.

Casting Lots is a new and enchanting memoir by writer, activist, reform rabbi, and mother Susan Silverman about discovering her own inner strength and indomitable will to give shape to her random world, to weave a solid construct of her and her family’s lives where there might have been none.

Bryan Schwartz "Jews of Color: A Renaissance" presented by Scattered Among the Nations
Artist talk with Bryan Schwartz, founder of Scattered Among the Nations

Writer/photographer Bryan Schwartz, photographer Sandy Carter and journalist Jay Sand have visited dozens of the most isolated Jewish communities in the world in recent years. Their unique photographs and interviews document populations that remain on the geographic and cultural fringes of the Jewish Diaspora. From the Benei Menashe tribes in the hills of northeastern India to the Abayudaya of Mbale, Uganda, from the Inca Jews of the Peruvian Andes to the Jewish community of Rusape, Zimbabwe (with its own Jewish gospel choir), each of these communities maintains its traditions apart from the mainstream Jewish community, struggling to preserve Jewish practice, rituals and culture amidst often harsh surroundings.

"Jews of Color: a Renaissance” is the latest project by Scattered Among the Nations to educate about Jewish diversity, profiling some of the world’s most isolated and dynamic Jewish communities.

Christopher Noxon
A conversation with Christopher Noxon, author of "Plus One"

Christopher Noxon is an author, journalist, and illustrator. He’s the author of the novel Plus One and Rejuvenile: Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes, and the Reinvention of the American Grown Up. He has written for The New Yorker, Details, The New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, and Salon; his illustrations have been featured on The Undo List and in Unscrolled: Writers and Artists Wrestle with the Torah. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, television writer/producer Jenji Kohan, and their three children.

Plus One is a funny novel about an interfaith family set in contemporary Los Angeles. Alex Sherman–Zicklin is a midlevel marketing executive raised in the hippie mountain hamlet of Ojai, whose wife Figgy's fourteenth TV pilot becomes a huge Emmy–winning hit. Overnight, he's sucked into a mad show business vortex, quitting his job to become the family's "domestic first responder." Along the way, Alex must negotiate the demands of his Jewish in–laws and his own mystic–folksinging mother. Plus One tells the story of a caretaking support goy, his breadwinning Jewish wife, and the fast–changing roles of parents and partners.

Chanan Tigay
A conversation with Chanan Tigay, author of "The Lost Book of Moses: The Hunt for the World’s Oldest Bible"

Chanan Tigay is an award-winning journalist who has covered the Middle East, 9/11, and the United Nations for numerous magazines, newspapers, and wires. Born in Jerusalem, Tigay holds degrees from Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania and was a recent Investigative Reporting Fellow at UC Berkeley. He is a professor of Creative Writing at San Francisco State University.

The Lost Book of Moses: The Hunt for the World's Oldest Bible tells the story of Moses Wilhelm Shapira. In the summer of 1883, Shapira claimed to have discovered the world's oldest bible scroll. When news of the discovery leaked to the excited English press, Shapira became a household name. But before the British Museum could acquire them, Shapira's nemesis, Charles Clermont-Ganneau, denounced his find as a fraud. Humiliated, Shapira fled the country. Six months later he was dead. The globetrotting hunt that follows vibrates with the suspense of a classic detective tale.

Alicia Ybarbo and Mary Ann Zoellner
A mom's night out with Alicia Ybarbo and Mary Ann Zoellner, authors of "Sh*tty Mom for All Seasons: Half @ssing It All Year Long"

The Emmy Award-winning Today show producers and self-proclaimed sh*tty moms Alicia Ybarbo and Mary Ann Zoellner bring you the perfect book for mothers who don’t take themselves too seriously.

They are back with a hilarious guide presenting common parenting scenarios with advice for getting through the year—the sh*tty mom way. Told in the same tongue-in-cheek voice as the original, this sequel is full of funny parenting tips and relatable stories for contemporary moms. Sh*tty Mom for All Seasons explores the occasions throughout the year that test every mother's patience and inspire self-deprecating humor and that second glass of wine. With chapters organized by season, the book will teach you how to navigate the bumpy roads of motherhood, learn to laugh at the occasional parenting fail, and maybe even appreciate your own mother. Or not.



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 PregulmanAlex and Debra Saharovich • Laurie 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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