Nashville Jewish Book Series




Aims to Foster Connection and Conversation with its 2022-2023 Lineup





The Nashville Jewish Book Series (NJBS) aims to connect the local community with authors from around the globe, fostering conversations that could not happen anywhere else in the world. The 2022-2023 lineup continues this work, connecting the community with authors and helping us better understand our world. The seven-month-long series features works by Jewish authors, some secular, and others featuring Jewish themes and topics.

In its seventh year, the series will host 13 conversations on difficult, entertaining, delicious, and complex topics across the city. This year’s series offers a mix of in-person events–at locations ranging from the Gordon JCC to the Parthenon to a secret location to be announced later–and free virtual events. An accomplished group of Nashvillians–renowned journalists, novelists, teachers, and others–will lead these discussions with a lens only available in Music City.

A volunteer committee, aided by Gordon JCC staff, evaluates books and authors to select the lineup to create the Nashville-specific perspective on headlines and themes in the world. Many authors participate in Jewish Book Council programming, while others come to us through committee connections and research. The committee looked at survey results and previous NJBS participants' feedback to inform this year's selection process.

Seven in-person, ticketed events offer the opportunity to meet authors, buy autographed copies of books and meet fellow book lovers. The lineup for 2022-2023 includes:

● November 13, 2022: Author Nancy Churnin, whose book Dear Mr. Dickens tells the story of a brave young woman who spoke up to the revered Charles Dickens about anti-Semitism in his books, will offer programming for both children and adults. She will be joined by Committee Co-Chair Margaret Littman, author of It’s Her Story: Irena Sendler, and they’ll discuss the complexities of writing about difficult issues for children.

● December 8, 2022: Next, the series continues in full swing at a secret location in East Nashville with local author Marissa R. Moss. The best-selling author will be in conversation with NPR’s Ann Powers to talk about Her Country, exploring the roles and perceptions of women in country music. The evening will include a performance by singer-songwriter Katie Schecter, too.

● January 31, 2023: Food memoirist and travel writer Sylvie Bigar weaves memories of the south of France and unforgettable French cuisine in her book, Cassoulet Confessions. The conversation with Committee Member Miriam Leibowitz will take place at Overlord, Nashville’s authentic French cocktail bar, owned by Melvil Arnt, a member of the Nashville Jewish community. Yes, there will be some tasty sampling.

● February 16, 2023: Former member of Congress from Pennsylvania, journalist, women’s rights advocate, and mother, Marjorie Margolies talks about her book And How Are the Children? Timeless Lessons from the Frontlines of Motherhood at the Gordon JCC.

● February 23, 2023: Journalist Rina Raphael, author of The Gospel of Wellness: Gyms, Gurus, Goop, and the False Promise of Self-Care, will be in conversation with Congregation Micah’s Rabbi (and yoga teacher) Laurie Rice and WPLN’s Emily Siner to talk about the wellness industry and the myth of self-care culture in today's society.

● April 3, 2023: Local scholar and author of Women Writing Jewish Modernity, 1919–1939, Allison Schachter will join Committee Member and acclaimed fiction writer Nancy Reisman to discuss Rewriting the Yiddish World: Translating Women’s Voices, amplifying women’s voices in Yiddish literature.

● May 2, 2023: Journalist Micheline Maynard will join Nashville’s hottest entrepreneurs, including Max and Ben Goldberg of Strategic Hospitality, to discuss Satisfaction Guaranteed, How Zingermans Built a Corner Deli into a Global Food Community, about how to create workplaces that are supportive of employees and customers…And, the topic should get you excited for the deli-themed Food Fest which is just five days later!

In addition to the in-person events, the NJBS is building on the strength of its virtual events during the pandemic with six additional remote conversations. These are free discussions open to the community; advance registration is required. There will be opportunities for Q&A after the presentations.

● January 11, 2023: Committee Co-Chair Freya Sachs will lead a discussion with Jai Chakrabarti, author of the novel A Play for the End of the World, which won the National Jewish Book Award for debut fiction.

● February 7, 2023: Award-winning newspaper columnist Bill Haltom, Sears Crosstown in Memphis, will talk about the story of Julius Rosenwald and his life as a philanthropist and educator.

● March 2, 2023: Stephen Mills will discuss Chosen, his powerful memoir of childhood trauma and sexual abuse at Jewish summer camp, with Committee Member Natasha Senjanovic, an award-winning international journalist based in Nashville who focuses on issues of sexual assault

● March 23, 2023: Benedetta Jasmine Guetta will share recipes from her Jewish Italian cookbook Cooking Alla Giudia with Committee Member and Italian speaker Senjanovic

● April 20, 2023: New Yorker cartoonist David Sipress will talk about humor and what makes us laugh, complete with visual aids from his memoir, What’s So Funny.

● May 10, 2023: Closing out this year’s series, we end on a note of how music inspires love and redemption in Japanese-occupied Shanghai. Weina Dai Randel, author of The Last Rose of Shanghai will be in conversation with Susannah Felts, co-founder of Nashville’s The Porch.

Sponsors for this year’s series include PJ Library of Nashville and Middle TN, The Porch, Vanderbilt University’s Department of Jewish Studies, and 3Sirens. Many locally owned bookshops–who are essential for making Nashville the literary-loving town it is–are supporting our events. Among those bringing books to our in-person events are Parnassus Books,

TheBookshop, and The Getalong. Curious Capybara Bookshop, the Nashville Public Library, and others will have the books in stock.

The 2022-2023 NJBS committee members include: Co-Chair Margaret Littman; Co-Chair Freya Sachs; Past Co-Chair Amy Goldstein; Shayna Abrams; Ben Cohen; Lindsay Stillman Cohen; Nancy Reisman; Natasha Senjanovic; Miriam Leibowitz; Amy Kammerman; and Lauren Bufferd. None of their volunteer contributions would be possible without the work of Gordon JCC staff members Sharon Benus and Rachel Clark.

The NJBS runs from November 2022 to May 2023. Find the full schedule, with registration and ticketing information, visit Special events and add-on meet-and-greets with the authors will be available only to members of Chai Y’All, the series’ book supporters society. Become a Chai Y’All member online.

For more information, please visit, or contact Adult and Community-Wide Programs Director, Sharon Benus at or 615/354-1697


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