Scott Turow will kick off Jewish Book Festival

Author Scott Turow

More than 30 programs and 35 authors will highlight the 38th annual St. Louis Jewish Book Festival, which runs from Nov. 6-20. 

The festival’s range of author topics is vast and includes business, cooking, economics, family, fiction, history, music, religion, sports and more. 

“What I’m so excited about is that there’s a lot of Jewish content built into these two weeks,” said Scott Berzon, director of the festival. “We have everything from a memoir of a gay Jewish child, to the debate about how opinions on Israel have changed, to new takes on Jewish cooking, to Jews on Broadway, to what it means to be a mensch, to Jewish humor. The program is Jewish in the most diverse sense.”

Premier passes for the festival are available at the box office in the Arts and Education Building, 2 Millstone Campus Drive, or by calling 314-442-3299. Each pass costs $95 and allows access to all festival events year-round. Tickets to individual events range from $18 to $45. 

Several fall, book-related events will precede the festival. One of them, featuring TV weatherman extraordinaire Al Roker and his wife, broadcast journalist Deborah Roberts (“Been There, Done That: Family Wisdom for Modern Times”), is being rescheduled to a yet undetermined date in September from October.  Two other October events are:

Advertisement: The Grande at Chesterfield

• 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6: Geraldine Brooks (“The Secret Chord,” a novel) 

• 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19: Jennifer Weiner (“Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love and Writing”)

The festival gets underway at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6, with a keynote conversation with best-selling author and lawyer Scott Turow, who will take on a number of topics and talk about many of his 11 books. RSVPS are required to attend the sponsor reception that follows. Other festival events planned include:


Monday, Nov. 7

• 10:30 a.m. — Steven Gaines (“One of These Things First,” a memoir)

• 1 p.m. — Ronald H. Balson (“Karolina’s Twins,” a novel)

• 7:30 p.m.—Kristallnacht event with Robert P. Watson (“The Nazi Titanic”)


Wednesday, Nov. 9

• 10:30 a.m. — Ina Pinkney (“Ina’s Kitchen: Memories and Recipes from the Breakfast Queen”)

• 1 p.m. — Victoria Kelly (“Mrs. Houdini,” a novel)

• 6:30 p.m. — Sponsor Dinner (no author program), RSVP required.


Thursday, Nov. 10

• 10:30 a.m. — Neil Abramson (“Just Life,” a novel)

• 1 p.m. —Greg Milner (“Pinpoint: How GPS is Changing Technology, Culture and Our Minds”)

• 7:30 p.m. — Kenneth S. Rogoff (“The Curse of Cash”)


Friday, Nov. 11

• 10:30 a.m. — Chef Mike Solomonov and Steven Cook (“Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking”)

• 1 p.m. — Lloyd Handwerker (“Famous Nathan: A Family Saga of Coney Island, the American Dream and the Search for the Perfect Hot Dog”)


Saturday, Nov. 12

• 7:30 p.m. —  William Novak (“Die Laughing: Killer Jokes for Newly Old Folks”)


Sunday, Nov. 13

• 3 p.m. — St. Louis Symphony and Leonard Slatkin perform “Porgy and Bess,” “Billy the Kid Suite” and more.  All attendees must purchase a ticket (prices vary); premier pass holders may receive a 20 percent discount on their purchased seats. A reception featuring light food and drink and then an intimate Q&A with Leonard Slatkin will follow the performance. 

• 7:30 p.m. — Keynote Conversation with Rabbi Harold S. Kushner (“Nine Essential Things I’ve Learned About Life”)


Monday, Nov. 14

• 10:30 a.m. — Rabbi Ben Kamin (“I Don’t Know What to Believe: Making Spiritual Peace With Your Religion”)

• 1 p.m. — Missouri’s Own panel with Gary Belsky (“On the Origins of Sports”), Diane Everman (“Jewish Community of St. Louis: 1890-1929”) and Henry Schvey (“The Poison Tree,” a memoir)

• 7:30 p.m. — Cardinals Sports Night with Howard Megdal (“The Cardinals Way: How One Team Embraced Tradition and Moneyball at the Same Time”) and Gary Kodner (“St. Louis Cardinals Uniforms and Logos: An Illustrated History”), with an introduction by Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III.


Tuesday, Nov. 15

• 10:30 a.m. — Dr. Romy Block and Dr. Arielle Levitan (“The Vitamin Solution: Two Doctors Clear the Confusion About Vitamins and Your Health”)

• 1 p.m. — Kim Friedman and Kate Siegel (“Mother, Can You Not?”)

• 7:30 p.m. — Dov Waxman (“Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict Over Israel”)


Wednesday, Nov. 16

• 10:30 a.m. — Kenneth L. Marcus (“The Definition of Anti-Semitism”)

• 1 p.m. — Lauren Belfer (“And After the Fire,” a novel)

• 6:45 p.m. — Women’s Event Reception followed by author, chef and comedian Robert Rosenthal (“Short Order Dad: One Guy’s Guide to Making Food Fun and Hassle-Free”). RSVP required.


Thursday, Nov.17

• 10:30 a.m. — Claudia Kalb (“Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History’s Great Personalities”)

• 1 p.m. — Alyson Richman (“The Velvet Hours,” a novel)

7:30 p.m. — Michael Riedel (“Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway”)


Friday, Nov. 18

• 10:30 a.m. : Game Day with Karen Gooen (“Small World: A Mah Jongg Table Talk Tale”). Lunch and game time will follow the author talk and book signings. RSVP  required


Saturday, Nov. 19

• 7:30 p.m. — Shep Gordon (“They Call Me Supermensch: My Amazing Adventures in Rock ’n’ Roll, Hollywood and Haute Cuisine”)


Sunday, Nov. 20

• 3 p.m. — The Carole C. Levin Ballet Program at the Touhill Performing Arts Center (program to be announced)

For more information, visit