FOR YOUR KIDS: DREIDEL MAKING WITH KADIMAH JCAMP
Stephen Mills is the co-author with Roger Fouts of Next of Kin: My Conversations with Chimpanzees, a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. He has worked with the Natural Resources Defense Council since 1983, building campaigns that have mobilized millions of Americans in support of environmental protection. He lives in California with his wife, Susan.
At thirteen years old, Stephen Mills is chosen for special attention by the director of his Jewish summer camp, a charismatic social worker intent on becoming his friend. Stephen places his trust in this authority figure, who first grooms and then molests him for two years.
The aftershocks rip through his adult life: self-loathing, drug abuse, petty crime, and horrific nightmares, all made worse by the discovery that his abuser is molesting other boys. Only physical and mental collapse bring Stephen to confront the truth of his boyhood and begin the painful process of recovery — as well as a decades-long crusade to stop a serial predator, find justice, and hold to account those who failed the children in their care.
The trauma of sexual abuse is shared by one out of every six men, yet very few have broken their silence. Chosen eloquently speaks for those countless others and their families. It is the indelible story of a man who faces his torment and his tormentor and, in the process, is made whole.
Sunday, December 4 | 11am
Dear Mr. Dickens
SPECIAL PROGRAM FOR YOUNG FAMILIES AND CHILDREN
Nancy Churnin writes about inspiring people that encourage kids to heal the world. Dear Mr. Dickens, the true story of a woman who spoke up to Charles Dickens, won the 2021 National Jewish Book Award; A Queen to the Rescue, about Hadassah founder Henrietta Szold, who saved 11,000 children from the Holocaust, won a 2022 Sydney Taylor Notable.
Readers today are well aware of age-old controversies surrounding insensitive portrayals of racial or ethnic groups in books. In Dear Mr. Dickens, Nancy Churnin and Bethany Stancliffe tell the story of one Jewish reader, Eliza Davis, who was a fan of novelist Charles Dickens but not of his antisemitic caricature in Oliver Twist. Davis felt that the character of Fagin represented a dangerously misleading portrayal of her people, so she wrote to Dickens in hopes of a response. The small drama of this interaction between a famous author and a woman seeking change makes for an inspiring story.
Many children might not be familiar with Dickens, but Churnin introduces the basic facts of his career with sensitivity and accuracy. He is “the most famous writer of Eliza’s time,” and readers eagerly await installments of his stories in popular magazines. Selective facts about the era and about Dickens’ work, including his commitment to exposing social evils, set the stage for Eliza’s decision. The implicit hypocrisy of the novelist’s compassion for Oliver Twist, a poor orphan, angers Davis; young readers will easily understand the idea that adults may fail to live up to their own ideals. Churnin carefully explains the difference between a character and a stereotype through Davis’s reasoning. Fagin is repeatedly identified as “the Jew,”suggesting that his horrible traits are endemic to the Jewish people.
FOR YOUR KIDS: CHANUKAH CARDS WITH KADIMAH JCAMP
Simon Constam is a poet and an aphorist. His poems have been published in various magazines, among them The Jewish Literary Journal, Poetica, and the Dark Poetry Club. He has published a new, original aphorism under the moniker Daily Ferocity on Instagram, daily for almost three years.
Characterized by the admission of doubt in God’s desire for a better world, and willing to see Jewish tradition as indispensable, Brought Down struggles with daily life as a firm believer and continuing pride in Jewish identity.
In the great Jewish tradition of holding God to account, and not relenting in anger towards Him, the themes in this book are universal: faith, religious practice, forgiveness, history, and the relevance of belief.
Saturday, December 10 | 7pm
The End of Her
FOR YOUR KIDS: CHANUKAH BINGO WITH KADIMAH JCAMP
Wayne Hoffman is a veteran journalist, published in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Hadassah Magazine, The Forward, Out, The Advocate, and elsewhere; he is executive editor of the online Jewish magazine Tablet. He has published three novels, including Sweet Like Sugar, which won the American Library Association’s Stonewall Book Award. He lives in New York City and the Catskills.
Part memoir and part mystery is how to best describe Wayne Hoffman’s new book, The End of Her: Racing Against Alzheimer’s to Solve a Murder. Utilizing his skills as both a journalist and a novelist, Hoffman recounts his quest to solve the murder of his great-grandmother, killed in her sleep in Winnipeg in 1913, and to share his findings with his mother before her mind is ravaged by Alzheimer’s Disease. In the process, the author’s search for truth explores issues of Jewish identity, the immigrant experience, familial obligation, love, and loss.
The author’s search begins after he tells the improbable story of his grandmother’s death to a room full of journalists. Skeptical himself, but encouraged by his colleagues, Hoffman begins to unpack the story by requesting his great-grandmother’s death certificate. When it arrives in the mail and reads “’bullet wound through the brain — homicidal,’” the author is hooked, and the quest begins.
As The End of Her continues, Hoffman weaves chapters about his mother’s decline and his family history into a single narrative. He includes family trees, photos, and newspaper clippings, both in English and Yiddish, to add to the reader’s interest and understanding. During his investigation, he unravels additional family mysteries and paints a vivid picture of life in Winnipeg’s thriving Jewish community in the periods before and after World War One and the influenza outbreak of 1918. He also explores the relationship between the immigrant communities of Winnipeg and the distrust, antisemitism, and biases that persisted among the groups that settled in Canada.
While The End of Her does not offer the satisfaction of a neatly resolved murder mystery, it does offer the reader a fascinating and well-written story that keeps one’s interest to the very last page. While unproven, the author’s final analysis of the unlikely events of 1913 is compelling. Equally compelling are Hoffman’s motivations for writing this story: to share his family’s rich and unexplored history, to honor his mother and capture her heartbreaking decline, and to understand himself a little better. He is successful in each of these goals and readers are enriched by it.
Like a Drop of Ink in a Downpour
FOR YOUR KIDS: CHANUKAH SONGS WITH KADIMAH JCAMP
Yelena Lembersky grew up in Leningrad, the USSR, two places no longer on the map. The feeling of floating without precise coordinates, like a boat without mooring, is a propelling creative force for her imagination. After earning a double Bachelors’ from the University of Michigan and a Masters’ from MIT, she worked as an architect, organized art exhibitions, and finally turned to writing, publishing stories, essays, and the catalogue “Felix Lembersky: Paintings and Drawings”. This new memoir, co-authored with her mother, Galina, is her first book-length work of creative non-fiction. She lives with her family near Boston, Massachusetts.
Like a Drop of Ink in a Downpour: Memories of Soviet Russia traces Yelena Lembersky’s childhood in Leningrad (Saint Petersburg) in the 1970s and ‘80s. Her life is upended when her family decides to emigrate to America, but instead her mother is charged with a crime and unjustly incarcerated.
Told in the dual points of view, this memoir is a clear-eyed look at the reality of life in the Soviet Union during the Cold War, giving us an insider’s perspective on the roots of contemporary Russia. It is also a coming-of age story, heartfelt and funny, a testament to the unbreakable bond between mothers and daughters, and the healing power of art.
Daughters of the Occupation
FOR YOUR KIDS: CHANUKIAH MAKING WITH KADIMAH JCAMP
Shelly Sanders Greer is an established journalist with articles in national publications including the Toronto Star, National Post, Maclean’s, Canadian Living, and Reader’s Digest.
Shelly Sanders’ first novel, Rachel’s Secret (Second Story Press, 2012), received a Starred Review in Booklist: "In an artful way throughout this absorbing, chilling tale, characters wonder what can stop the tragedy of hatred from overcoming community, a question that will prompt readers to wonder the same."
Rachel’s Secret was also an iTunes Book of the Week, and was named a Notable Book for Teens for the 2013 Sydney Taylor Book Awards, from the Association of Jewish Libraries. Two more award-winning novels followed, Rachel’s Promise (2013) and Rachel’s Hope (2014) completing The Rachel Trilogy.
Sanders was chosen as a TD Canada Book Week Author in 2015; she toured schools and libraries in Manitoba, talking about the history behind her books and the writing process. Rachel’s Hope was a Notable Book for Teens for the 2015 Sydney Taylor Book Awards, and was shortlisted for the prestigious Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature in 2016.
She lives in Toronto with her husband and two dogs, and has a revolving front door for her three children who keep returning to their nest.
On one extraordinary day in 1940, Miriam Talan’s сomfortable life is shattered. While she gives birth to her second child, a son she and her husband, Max, name Monya, the Soviets invade the Baltic state of Latvia an occupy the capital city of Riga, her home. Because the Talans are wealthy Jews, the Soviets confiscate Max’s business and the family’s house and bank accounts, leaving them with nothing.
Then, the Nazis arrive. They kill Max and begin to round up Jews. Fearing for her newborn son and her young daughter, Ilana, Miriam asks her loyal housekeeper to hide them and conceal their Jewish roots to keep them safe until the savagery ends.
Three decades later in Chicago, twenty-four-year-old Sarah Byrne is mourning the untimely death of her mother, Ilana. Sarah’s estranged grandmother, Miriam, attends the funeral, opening the door to shocking family secrets. Sarah probes Miriam for information about the past, but it is only when Miriam is in the hospital, delirious with fever, that she begs Sarah to find the son she left behind in Latvia.
Traveling to the Soviet satellite state, Sarah begins her search with the help of Roger, charismatic Russian-speaking professor. But as they come closer to the truth, she realizes her quest may have disastrous consequences.
A magnificent, emotionally powerful story of family and the lingering devastation of war, Daughters of the Occupation explores how trauma is passed down in families, and illuminates the strength and grace that can be shared by generations.