Come Join Us
Meet and interact with your favorite authors from the comfort of your couch – with no need to brave the weather or find parking! Experience all the author events live via a secure Zoom link.  While this year’s festival may look different … it is bigger and better than ever! More books! More topics! Take a break during the day or settle in for the evening and come join us as we connect with authors from around the world.

All featured author books will be available for sale at Barnes & Noble Booksellers on Monroe Street.

Registering for our Virtual Book Festival is easy!
Registration is required for all book festival events by Friday, October 30
1. Pick the event or events YOU want to attend!
2. Register by the registration deadline listed!
3. Options for registering:
a. Email  to receive the Zoom link for the events you want to attend.
b. Use the JewishToledo App – under Events 
To learn more about an author or an event, call 419- 531-2119 
All programs are subject to change or cancellation without prior notification due to schedules and commitments of our authors.  
The views and opinions expressed during this program are those of the persons appearing on the program and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo or its affiliated agencies.

Thursday, November 5

Thursday, November 5 / 7 p.m.

The Apple and The Shady Tree – The Mafia, My Family and Me

Lisa Novick Goldberg

This captivating book chronicles her most unusual childhood as both a Jewish and Mafia princess, given her father’s role as a money man connected to the notorious Genovese mob family. The characters fictionalized in The Godfather, Goodfellas, Casino and, of course, The Sopranos were all part of her real world. She knew them as aunts and uncles - in essence, her extended family sharing vacations, birthdays and social gatherings, etc.

Sunday, November 8

Our programming on Sunday, November 8, the Global Day of Jewish Learning, represents an effort to connect Jews around the world in mutual appreciation of Jewish wisdom. The Global Day of Jewish Learning is inspired by the vision and leadership of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz z”l. Our Sunday morning programming is in partnership with Temple Shomer Emunim Religious School and the David S. Stone Religious School and is open to all who would like to participate. The presentation of a documentary through Project Witness: a Holocaust Resource Center, is Jewish Toledo’s commemoration of Kristallnach and is in partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council. Watch your email or go to for more information.

Sunday, November 8/10 a.m. (Grades 2 and below)

Asteroid Goldberg -Passover in Outer Space

Brianna Caplan Sayres

An out-of-this-world Passover fantasy!

​When Asteroid and her parents get stuck in outer space for Passover, Asteroid plans a Passover seder for herself and her family that is truly out-of-this-world. 

With Jupiter's moons for matzoh balls, the Big Dipper for a ladle and horseradish from Jupiter's red spot, you've never seen a Passover seder like this one!


Sunday, November 8/10 a.m. (Grades 3 – 4)

Going Rogue (At Hebrew School)

Casey Breton

Ten-year-old Avery Green loves science. He loves football. He is crazy about Star Wars. But Hebrew school? No, thank you. Avery would rather have his arms sliced off with a lightsaber than sit through one more day of Hebrew School. He’s only asked about a million times why he must go, but no one in his family has managed to convince him. 

And then one day, Rabbi Bob shows up. He is strange, but how strange? And strange how? Piecing together some unusual clues, Avery begins to suspect that this new rabbi might be a Jedi master. 

Armed with something more powerful than a lightsaber, he sets out to reveal the surprising truth.

Sunday, November 8/10 a.m. (Grades 5 -7)

Letters From Cuba

Ruth Behar

The situation is getting dire for Jews in Poland on the eve of World War II. Esther's father has fled to Cuba, and she is the first one to join him. It's heartbreaking to be separated from her beloved sister, so Esther promises to write down everything that happens until they're reunited. And she does, recording both the good--the kindness of the Cuban people and her discovery of a valuable hidden talent--and the bad: the fact that Nazism has found a foothold even in Cuba. Esther's evocative letters are full of her appreciation for life and reveal a resourceful, determined girl with a rare ability to bring people together, all the while striving to get the rest of their family out of Poland before it's too late.

Based on Ruth Behar's family history, this compelling story celebrates the resilience of the human spirit in the most challenging times.


Sunday, November 8/10 a.m. (Grades 8 and above)

The Way Back

Gavriel Savit

Perfect for readers of Neil Gaiman and Philip Pullman, and drawing inspiration from Jewish folk tradition, The Way Back is a sweeping historical fantasy that follows two teens on a journey through the Far Country, a Jewish land of spirits and demons.

For the Jews of Eastern Europe, demons are everywhere: dancing on the rooftops in the darkness of midnight, congregating in the trees, harrowing the dead, even reaching out to try and steal away the living.

But the demons have a land of their own: a Far Country peopled with the souls of the transient dead, governed by demonic dukes, barons, and earls. When the Angel of Death comes strolling through the little shtetl of Tupik one night, two young people will be sent spinning off on a journey through the Far Country. There they will make pacts with ancient demons, declare war on Death himself, and maybe-- just maybe--find a way to make it back alive.

Sunday, November 8/2 p.m.

All Stirred Up - Suffrage Cookbooks, Food, and the Battle for Women’s Right to Vote

Laura Kumin

Live Demonstration

In honor of the centenary of the 19th amendment, a delectable new book that reveals a new side to the history of the suffrage movement.


Ever courageous and creative, suffragists also carried their radical message into America’s homes wrapped in food wisdom, through cookbooks, which packaged political strategy into already existent social communities. These cookbooks gave suffragists a chance to reach out to women on their own terms, in nonthreatening and accessible ways. Cooking together, feeding people, and using social situations to put people at ease were pioneering grassroots tactics that leveraged the domestic knowledge these women already had, feeding spoonsful of suffrage to communities through unexpected and unassuming channels.


Sunday, November 8/7:30 p.m. (PG 13+)

Mothers & Murderers – A True Story of Love, Lies, Obsession…And Second Chances

Katherine Ellison

Mothers & Murderers takes readers on a wild tragicomic ride from the criminal courtrooms of California’s Silicon Valley to the Himalayan mountains of Pakistan to the deserts of Ethiopia. In delightful, insightful prose, Ellison reflects on her mistakes and her triumphs as she weaves together the stories of how her Pulitzer Prize-winning career almost ended before it began, how she nearly missed marrying the love of her life, and how she unwittingly got drawn into a stranger-than-fiction murder case.

Monday, November 9

Monday, November 9/Noon (Bring Your Own Lunch)

The Gaming Mind – A New Psychology of Videogames and the Power of Play

Alexander Kriss, Ph.D.

Drawing us into his therapy office, clinical psychologist Alexander Kriss explores the positive impact of playing videogames and how they connect us with our humanity. Kriss knows well the power games have to illuminate the mind of a player, and he weaves together patient anecdotes, professional insight, and his personal history in a gripping narrative that challenges our assumptions about the role of videogames in our lives.


Monday, November 9/7 p.m.

The Newish Jewish Encyclopedia – From Abraham to Zabar’s and Everything in Between

Stephanie Butnick & Liel Leibovitz presenting (Mark Oppenheimer)

Presented in partnership with Jewish Community Center of Dayton, OH, Jewish Community Alliance of Jacksonville, FL & Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties, FL

Deeply knowing, highly entertaining, and just a little bit irreverent, this unputdownable encyclopedia of all things Jewish and Jew-ish covers culture, religion, history, habits, language, and more. Readers will refresh their knowledge of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, the artistry of Barbra Streisand, the significance of the Oslo Accords, the meaning of words like balaboosta, balaganbashert, and bageling. Understand all the major and minor holidays. Learn how the Jews invented Hollywood. Remind themselves why they need to read Hannah Arendt, watch Seinfeld, listen to Leonard Cohen. Even discover the secret of happiness (see “Latkes”). Includes hundreds of photos, charts, infographics, and illustrations. It’s a lot.

Tuesday, November 10

Tuesday, November 10/10 a.m.

My Year of Kaddish: Mourning, Memory and Meaning

Naomi L. Baum Ph.D.

In this profoundly honest and revealing memoir, psychologist Dr. Naomi L. Baum, invites us to journey with her as she says Kaddish, the traditional Jewish mourner’s prayer, in the year following her mother’s death. When experiencing loss, we are often without words to describe how we are feeling. Finding a place to rest the pain, this book travels through the seasons of grief and will resonate with anyone who has lost someone dear. In this book, Dr. Baum draws on both her personal and professional experience as an expert in trauma and resilience building, to navigate this uncharted territory, as she takes a new look at tradition and discovers both emotional and spiritual sources of comfort in unexpected places.


Tuesday, November 10/2 p.m.

When the World Feels Like a Scary Place -Essential Conversations for Anxious Parents & Worried Kids

Dr. Abigail Gewirtz

In a complicated world, big issues make both parents and children anxious—from disturbingly routine active shooter drills at school, to frightening news about climate change, pandemics, social justice issues, and violence. It’s all too easy for parents to feel at a loss for how to equip their child to deal with it all in a healthy way.

Dr. Abigail Gewirtz, an award-winning child psychologist and leading expert on families under stress, offers parents a clear and practical guide to discussing these sensitive topics in a calm, reassuring, and productive way that will help kids comprehend and process the world around them.


Tuesday, November 10/7 p.m.

As Needed for Pain – a memoir of addiction

Dan Peres

Dan Peres wasn’t born to be a media insider. As an awkward, magic-obsessed adolescent, nothing was further from his reality than the catwalks of Paris or the hallways of glossy magazine publishers. A gifted writer and shrewd cultural observer, Peres eventually took the leap—even when it meant he had to fake a sense of belonging in a new world of famed fashion designers, celebrities, and some of media’s biggest names. But he had a secret: opiates.

Peres’s career as an editor at W magazine and Details is well known, but little is known about his private life as a high-functioning drug addict. In As Needed for Pain, Peres lays bare for the first time the extent of his drug use—at one point a 60-pill-a-day habit.

By turns humorous and gripping, Peres’s story is a cautionary coming-of-age tale filled with unforgettable characters and breathtaking brushes with disaster. But the heart of the book is his journey from outsider to insecure insider, what it took to get him there, and how he found his way back from a killing addiction.

Wednesday, November 11

Wednesday, November 11/11 a.m.

The What To Eat When Cookbook: 135+ Deliciously Timed Recipes

Dr. Michael Roizen presenting (Dr. Michael Crupain & Jim Perko)


Gives you the key to making intermittent fasting healthy and easy. Food should be a relationship—so you only chose to eat foods that both taste great and love your body back.  Readers will learn to embrace the power of eating dinner for breakfast and “cold carbs,” a quirky but effective idea that puts grains back on the table. The book also features tools, tricks, and tips to make cooking fast and fun. Alongside tantalizing color photographs, this comprehensive cookbook contains recipes for every part of the day.


Wednesday, November 11/6 p.m.

Red Sea Spies – The True Story of Mossad’s Fake Diving Resort

Raffi Berg

In the early 1980s on a remote part of the Sudanese coast, a new luxury resort opened for business. Catering to divers, it attracted guests from around the world. Little did the guests know that the staff were undercover spies, working for the Mossad—the Israeli secret service.


Providing a front for covert nighttime activities, the resort village allowed the agents to carry out an operation unlike any seen before. What began with one cryptic message pleading for help, turned into the secret evacuation of thousands of Ethiopian Jews who had been languishing in refugee camps, and the spiriting of them to Israel.

Written in collaboration with operatives involved in the mission, endorsed as the definitive account and including an afterword from the commander who went on to become the head of the Mossad, this is

the complete, never-before-heard, gripping tale of a top-secret and often hazardous operation.

Thursday, November 12

Thursday, November 12/Noon – Luncheon - Kosher Style

The Misadventures of Rabbi Kibbitz and Mrs. Chaipul

Mark Binder

Zoom Presentation with Q & A

The book follows wise old Rabbi Kibbitz and elderly Mrs. Chaipul, the caterer, over several years, through weddings and celebrations. Chapters include stories of Rosh Hashanah, Chanukah and Passover, as well as looks into the importance of exercise for seniors, maintaining your identity and the challenge of work and relationships.


Thursday, November 12/7 p.m.

The Genius Of Women – From Overlooked to Changing the World

Janice Kaplan

Presented in partnership with Jewish Community Center of Dayton, OH, Jewish Community Alliance of Jacksonville, FL & Worcester JCC, MA

We tell girls that they can be anything, so why do 90 percent of Americans believe that geniuses are typically men?  New York Times bestselling journalist Janice Kaplan explores the powerful forces that have rigged the system—and celebrates the women geniuses past and present who have triumphed anyway.

Kaplan provides a fresh and original perspective on women’s talents. Across generations, women have created brilliant work, even as they had to (then and now) battle against male-dominated power structures. Kaplan realizes early on that genius is not just about possessing spectacular talent—it is about having that talent recognized.

2020 Jewish Book Festival Committee

Rene’ Rusgo, Director, Jewish Living Center
Stephanie Hinamon, Program Associate, Jewish Living Center

Cynthia Bramson, Lynda Dolgin Duda, Helen Grubb, Lois Levison, Andy Richards, Sue Richards, Ann Rosenberg, Lauren Sachs, Judy Weinberg