Sun Feb 10

Literary Quickie

Sunday February 10 |  10:00–11:00am

Which author will you curl up with tonight?

By donation – includes a light brunch

Modeled on the prestigious NYC Jewish Book Council author pitches, but adapted to the relaxed Vancouver pace, this event gives each author exactly 5 minutes to make the audience fall in love with their book and bring it home to meet mother.

DR. MARILYN BELOFF / Moving Forward

Following many years in practice as a psychotherapist working with families going through separation and divorce, Dr. Beloff, for her doctoral research, mined the GET, for its wisdom in healing the wounds of divorce in the secular world. Like so many of her personal friends and clients, she found the journey from one phase of life to the next to be solitary and immeasurably painful. Returning to her own tradition, she found profound healing as a result of going through the ancient, archetypal Jewish ritual of divorce, the GET.

DR. MARILYN BELOFF, PhD, is a psychotherapist who has been working with families of separation and divorce for over thirty years as a family mediator, Collaborative divorce coach, and child specialist.

LEO BURSTYN & WILF HURD / Testaments from Kiev: A Family in the Shadow of the Iron Curtain

The story of one’s family will to survive and build a better tomorrow for their future generations.In the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor meltdown, Leo Burstyn embarked on writing about his family history. It started with a series of taped interviews about life in Kiev and expanded to include letters, journals, photographs and artifacts from the entire Burstyn family history in the 20th Century.

LEO BURSTYN is a semi-retired computer scientist living in Vancouver.

WILF HURD is an author, blog-writer and government affairs specialist. Testaments from Kiev is his second collaborative book project.


clavirMIRIAM CLAVIR / Fate Accompli: Murder in Quebec City

A murder mystery about archaeology and preservation, a vibrant city at the heart of clues from the past and unspeakable crime in the present. Fate Accompli is a literary mystery where the development of complex characters and a storyline going beyond the plot puzzle combine with the pleasure of words and style. It is largely concerned with the concept of justice when emotion demands personal revenge and is set in the real streets, buildings and history of Quebec City.

MIRIAM CLAVIR is the Vancouver-based author of Insinuendo: Murder in the Museum (2012), and mystery short stories in anthologies: The Whole She-Bang 2 and 3.



It is 1944. There is hope that the war will soon come to a victorious end for America and its allies. Adam Saperstein, an idealistic thirteen-year-old from a small New Jersey town, has a particular stake in the war. A band of school bullies has convinced him the conflict in Europe is his fault. Why? Because he is a Jew. Were it not for his kind, he is told, there would be no Hitler to menace the world and “kill our boys over there.” He eventually embarks on an incredible journey that takes him to Normandy on D-Day, where he learns the true horrors of war and becomes an accidental hero in the process.

ARNOLD GROSSMAN is the author of several fiction and non-fiction books, feature pieces in magazines and screenwriting. He lives in Denver, Colorado.


DAVID KIRKPATRICK / Neither Married Nor Single: When Your Partner Has Alzheimer’s or Other Dementia

When Dr. David Kirkpatrick’s wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, their lives—and their marriage—would change forever. In an honest, uplifting, and sometimes heartbreaking account of loving a partner with dementia, he creates a clear guide for others in similar circumstances. He shares his perspective both as a loving and grief-stricken husband as well as a geriatric psychiatrist doing everything he can for his wife while learning throughout that experience.

Dr. DAVID KIRKPATRICK worked for 40 years as a psychologist, psychiatrist and psychotherapist. Born and raised in Yellow Springs, Ohio, he now lives in West Vancouver.


JANET WEES / When We Were Shadows

Walter is a young child when his parents decide to leave their home in Germany and start a new life in the Netherlands.
As Jews, they know they are not safe under the Nazi regime. From one day to the next, Walter’s world goes from safe and predictable to full of uncertainty. The book—based on a true story—shines a light on this part of WWII history and the heroes of the Dutch resistance, particularly those involved in the
hidden village.

JANET WEES has been writing since she was 9 years old. A retired teacher, she spends her time writing, reading, walking, cycling, and traveling. She lives in Calgary.


HELEN WILKES / The Aging of Aquarius

Live your passion and purpose and change the world as an empowered elder. In your youth, you cared about people and planet earth, and you had grand visions of changing the world. At some point, those passions and that sense of purpose got buried under diapers and the 9-5. Still, that old you remains alive. Now, your career has wound down, the kids have moved, and your schedule is clear…for the next 30 years. With the rest of your life ahead, you can be the change and make this next stage of your life the most powerful yet. The Aging of Aquarius takes readers on a journey to find passion and purpose in retirement.

HELEN WALDSTEIN WILKES, PhD is an energized octogenarian who hopes to continue living a rewarding life for years to come. She spent 30 years teaching and researching cross-cultural understanding, language acquisition, and neurolinguistics.


FOR CHILDREN ages 10-13

Sunday February 10 |  11:00am-12:00pm   FREE
Also at Burquest Jewish Community Centre at 5:00pm  FREE
ANNE DUBLIN / A Cage Without Bars

Joseph, a Jewish slave boy, survives by a combination of luck, quick wits, and the hope of freedom.

In 1492, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain signed the Edict of Expulsion, giving all Jews three months to leave the country. In the aftermath, twelve-year-old Joseph escapes to Lisbon, Portugal with his parents and younger sister, Gracia. After only eight months of safety, Joseph and Gracia, along with hundreds of other Jewish children, are kidnapped from the port in Lisbon and put on a ship. They then make a dangerous journey to the island of São Tomé, off the coast of West Africa. Now slaves, they are forced to work on a sugarcane plantation. Joseph must work in the fields, his life repeatedly saved by a combination of luck, strength, and quick wits. While Gracia tries to accept their circumstances, Joseph holds on to the hope that, one day, they will be free.

ANNE DUBLIN is a former teacher-librarian and award-winning author living in Toronto. She is the author of several books for young people, including June Callwood: A Life of Action, Bobbie Rosenfeld: The Olympian Who Could Do Everything, Dynamic Women Dancers, The Orphan Rescue and 44 Hours or Strike!.



Sunday February 10 |  11:00am-12:30pm  FREE
MARJORIE INGALL / Mamaleh Knows Best: What Jewish Mothers Do To Raise Successful, Creative, Empathetic, Independent Children


IngallMarjorie Ingall is such a winning writer that as you tear through her laugh-out-loud, warm-hearted book, you might not notice the deep wisdom it delivers — not just on how to raise a mensch, but how to be one.” -Gayle Forman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of If I Stay

We all know the stereotype of the Jewish mother: hectoring, guilt-inducing, clingy as a limpet. In Mamaleh Knows Best, Tablet Magazine columnist Marjorie Ingall smashes this tired trope with a hammer. Blending personal anecdotes, humour, historical texts, and scientific research, Ingall shares Jewish secrets for raising self-sufficient, ethical, and accomplished children. She offers abundant examples showing how Jewish mothers have nurtured their children’s independence, fostered discipline, urged a healthy distrust of authority, consciously cultivated geekiness and kindness, stressed education, and maintained a sense of humour. Ingall will make you think, she will make you laugh, and she will make you a better parent. You might not produce a Nobel Prize winner (or hey, you might!), but you’ll definitely get a great human being.

MARJORIE INGALL is a columnist for Tablet magazine, the National Magazine Award-winning journal of Jewish culture and ideas, and a regular contributor to The New York Times Book Review. For seven biblical years she wrote the “East Village Mamele” column for The Jewish Daily Forward. She lives in New York City.

There will be parallel JCC and PJ Library children’s activities during this event. As well, child minding will be available for $10.



Sunday February 10 |  12:00-2:00pm


Sunday February 10

11:00am -12:00pm Richmond Public Library (youth)  FREE
ELLEN SCHWARTZ / The Princess Dolls

2:00–3:00pm Congregation Har El, North Shore (adults) by donation
4:30–5:30pm White Rock South Surrey JCC(adults) by donation
TILAR J. MAZZEO / Irena’s Children – The Extraordinary Story of the Woman Who Saved 2,500 Children from the Warsaw Ghetto
Winner of the 2018 Western Canada Jewish Book Award for Non-Fiction (the Pinsky Givon Family Prize)

5:00–6:00pm Burquest Jewish Community
ANNE DUBLIN / A Cage Without Bars   (youth)   FREE
GABRIELLA GOLIGER / Eva Salomon’s War  (adults)   FREE



Sunday, February 10 | 2:00–3:30pm 

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SingerMARGOT SINGER / Underground Fugue

Esther has left New York for London, partly to escape her buckling marriage, and partly to care for her dying mother; Lonia, Esther’s mother, is haunted by memories of fleeing Czechoslovakia on the eve of WW II; Javad, their next-door neighbour and an Iranian neuro-scientist, struggles to connect with his college-aged son; and Amir, Javad’s son, is seeking both identity and escape in his illicit exploration of the city’s forbidden spaces.

But when terrorists attack the London transit system in July 2005, someone goes missing, and the chaos that follows both fractures the possibilities for the future and reveals the deep fault lines of the past. With nuanced clarity and breathtaking grandeur, Margot Singer’s Underground Fugue is an elegant, suspenseful, and deeply powerful debut.

MARGOT SINGER is winner of the Edward Lewis Wallant Award for American Jewish fiction; her collection of short stories, The Pale of Settlement won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. She is a professor of English at Dennison University.



A captivating novel about aging fathers and their grown daughters, childhood scars, and rewriting the script with a little help from Shakespeare, from the acclaimed author of My October.

During a sweltering, stormy Montreal summer, Bea Rose finds herself about to turn forty having lost her lover, her business, and her bearings. When the opportunity to work for an outdoor production of King Lear arises, she grabs it despite her utter lack of theatre experience. As Bea learns the ropes of her new role, her beloved but demanding father begins behaving erratically and losing himself in forgetfulness and her younger sister Cara reveals cracks in the foundation of her apparently perfect life. Tender, vivid, and powerful, Lear’s Shadow is a richly satisfying exploration of how the ties of love can both bind and liberate us, and of how, even in the face of grief, we can embrace life.

CLAIRE HOLDEN ROTHMAN’s My October was longlisted for the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize and also shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for English-language fiction. She lives in Montreal.

HELEN PINSKY is the librarian of the Isaac Waldman Library at the JCC and a former lawyer.




Sunday, February 10 |  3:30–4:30pm
DAVID BERGELSON / Judgment A Novel, translated from the Yiddish by Harriet Murav and Sasha Senderovich

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Never before available in English, Judgment is a work of startling power by the most celebrated Yiddish prose writer of his era. Set in 1920 during the Russian Civil War, Judgment (titled Mides-hadin in Yiddish) traces the death of the shtetl and the birth of the “new, harsher world” created by the 1917 Russian Revolution. Ordinary people, depicted in a grotesque, aphoristic style—comparable to Isaac Babel’s Red Cavalry—confront the overwhelming, mysterious forces of history. Murav and Senderovich’s new translation expertly captures Bergelson’s inimitable modernist style.

DAVID BERGELSON (1884–1952), a Jewish novelist, short-story writer, and literary editor, was born in Ukraine. He moved throughout Europe and the US until Hitler came to power in Germany, then returned to the Soviet Union where he was eventually executed under Stalin’s orders.

SASHA SENDEROVICH is an Assistant Professor of Russian, Jewish, and International Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. He is currently writing his first monograph, How the Soviet Jew Was Made: Mobility and Culture after the Revolution.


Sunday, February 10 |  5:00–6:00pm
MICHÈLE SMOLKIN / Silence, je tombe – un roman

Manhattan, Kansas. Tania et Paul, fraîchement débarqués du Canada, se déchirent. Ils s’appliquent pourtant à réussir leur intégration au pays des évangélistes et des carnivores assumés. Tout pourrait encore suivre son cours normal quand, sans rime ni raison, à la faveur de l’ennui et de la géographie des parkings, le drame se produit.

MICHÈLE SMOLKIN, architecte née à Paris, vit depuis 1983 à Vancouver, où pendant une trentaine d’années elle a été réalisatrice à Radio-Canada. Aujourd’hui, elle écrit et réalise des documentaires. Ceci est son deuxième roman.

Manhattan, Kansas. Tania. Paul.
Two Canadians travel through the heart of middle America, at once lulled by the boredom of highways and the stagnation of parking lots. They are unprepared for the drama that hits them between the eyes. Suddenly, the land of carnivores and evangelists threatens to tear them apart.

MICHÈLE SMOLKIN, a Parisian-born architect, has lived in Vancouver since 1983 and has worked at Radio-Canada for over 30 years. This is her second novel.



Sunday, February 10 |  7:30pm
MOSHE SAKAL /The Diamond Setter (translated by Jessica Cohen)

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“Lush, imaginative, and seductive, Moshe Sakal’s book offers a perfect combination of passion, suspense, insight, and beauty. Jessica Cohen’s brilliant translation only further enhances the reading experience, making it into a true literary treat.” —Ruby Namdar, author of The Ruined House

Inspired by true events, this best-selling Israeli novel traces a complex web of love triangles, homoerotic tensions, and family secrets across generations and borders, illuminating diverse facets of life in the Middle East.

Sakal employs a nested folktale device for this semi-autobiographical tale of the uneventful life of a jeweler from Tel Aviv that changes abruptly after Fareed, a handsome young man from Damascus crosses illegally into Israel making his way to the ancient port city of Jaffa in search of his roots and carrying a legendary blue diamond named “Sabakh”. We learn the story of his family’s past — a tale of forbidden love beginning in the 1930s — and its entanglement with the Israelis he connects with on his journey.

Following Sabakh’s winding path, The Diamond Setter ties present-day events to a forgotten time before the establishment of the State of Israel divided the region. Moshe Sakal’s poignant mosaic of characters, locales, and cultures encourages us to see the Middle East beyond its violent conflicts.

MOSHE SAKAL was born in Tel Aviv into a Syrian-Egyptian Jewish family. He is the author of five Hebrew novels, including the best-selling Yolanda, which was shortlisted for the Sapir Prize. He was awarded the title of Honorary Fellow in Writing by the University of Iowa, the Eshkol prize for his work and a Fulbright grant.



Sunday, February 10 | 11:00am -12:00pm Richmond Public Library  FREE
Wednesday, February 13 | 8:45am -09:45am
Vancouver Talmud Torah  FREE

ELLEN SCHWARTZ / The Princess Dolls
Illustrated by: MARIKO ANDO


The Princess Dolls is a gentle story about friendship, set against the backdrop of 1942 Vancouver. The faraway war in Europe casts deep shadows into the lives of two best friends, Esther and Michiko, whose favourite game to play is royal princesses. One day, two magnificent dolls appear in the local toy-shop window: Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. Not surprisingly, Esther and Michiko long for these dolls.

But in wartime Vancouver there’s not much money for such luxuries. Bad things are happening: Esther’s grandmother is worried about the fate of her Jewish relatives in Germany, and Japanese families in the girls’ neighbourhood are being sent to internment camps. So when Esther receives the doll and Michiko doesn’t, their friendship starts to unravel. With enormous historical and political barriers between them, Esther and Michiko are left to their own devices as to how to mend their friendship.

ELLEN SCHWARTZ was born in Washington, DC, and now lives with her family near Vancouver. She is the author of 17 children’s books, including Abby’s Birds and Mr. Belinsky’s Bagels.

MARIKO ANDO was born and raised in Osaka, Japan. She is an artist and illustrator and has exhibited widely in Japan and Canada, to wide critical acclaim. She has lived in Vancouver for many years.