Hevreh of Southern Berkshire Announces The Third Annual Berkshires’ Jewish Festival of Books

The Berkshires’ third annual Jewish Festival of Books will take place at Hevreh of Southern Berkshire in Great Barrington, Massachusetts from Thursday, July 18th through Sunday, July 21st.

Co-presented by Hevreh and Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, in partnership with the Jewish Book Council, and with the generous support of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and Devonshire Estates Independent Retirement Living in Lenox, the festival will feature free and fee-based author talks, teachings and readings by nationally and internationally acclaimed writers in genres ranging from adult fiction to children’s literature to cookbooks.

The opening night author on Thursday, July 18th at 7 p.m. is Barry Joseph, presenting Seltzertopia: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary Drink, the definitive biography of seltzer.  Attendees will not only be treated to Joseph’s presentation, but also to a real siphon bottle seltzer, milk and Fox’s U-Bet egg cream reception and book signing afterwards.

This Egg Cream Eggstravaganza will be the culmination of a two month egg cream special at The Great Barrington Bagel Company & Deli in Great Barrington, MA from Memorial Day weekend through July 21st, sponsored by Great Barrington Bagel, Brooklyn Seltzer Boys and Concepts of Art, a Judaica shop in Lenox, Mass, which will be offering artistic seltzer themed prints at Barrington Bagel and at the Barry Joseph event.  A portion of all egg cream and poster proceeds goes to benefit the book festival.

On Friday, July 19th, following the 5:45 p.m. Shabbat evening service, Angela Himsel will discuss her memoir A River Could Be A Tree, which traces her journey from one of eleven children, growing up in rural Indiana as part of an apocalyptic, doomsday Christian sect led by a white supremacist to a Modern Orthodox Jewish woman living on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.  The Jewish Women’s Archive is sponsoring this event.

On Saturday, July 20th at noon, following Shabbat morning services at 10 a.m, best-selling novelist Tova Mirvis discusses her memoir, The Book of Separation, tracing her journey away from her Modern Orthodox upbringing, as she leaves both a marriage and the religious community of which she was a part, and struggles to find her footing in an unfamiliar secular world.  The Jewish Women’s Archive is sponsoring this event.  

On Saturday, July 20th, during Shabbat morning services, Tova Mirvis and Angela Himsel will be in conversation with each other, moderated by Judith Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Jewish Women’s Archive.  Among other topics, they will recount their two journeys to and from Modern Orthodoxy, and explore the power and complexity of community, family, tradition and finding one’s own path and meaning.  The Jewish Women’s Archive is sponsoring this event.

On Saturday, July 20th at 4 p.m., Rabbi Leah Rachel Berkowitz will read from her children’s book, The World Needs Beautiful Things, a Biblically inspired exploration of creativity and the arts.Children and their adults will go on a found object nature walk in Hevreh’s backyard followed by creative crafting, a hands-on Havdalah and some sweet Shabbat treats.  

The festival ends on Sunday, July 21st at 10 a.m., with Chef Rossi presenting her raucous memoir The Raging Skillet,recounting her revolution against Orthodoxy and the microwave, and evolution into one of the most sought after caterers in New York City. Thisevent will include lunch featuring some of the recipes from the book.  All of the other festival events will also offer refreshments.  All festival books will be available for

advance purchase at Hevreh, and the authors will be happy to sign them at the festival.

For more information, or to make reservations, visit hevreh.org/books or call Hevreh at 413-528-6378.

Hevreh is a center for Jewish Life, Learning, and Community in the southern Berkshires. The Hebrew word “Hevreh” means friendship – a word that states its purpose – to be a community of friends in a Jewish context.