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Getting Right to the Point About Jewish Books

November 6, 2013 By:
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Cathy Fiebach will host a book talk with Yossi Klein Halevi, author of LIke Dreamers.

Part of Cathy Fiebach’s formula for success at her new, independent bookstore in Bryn Mawr is holding regular programming, such as book talks, and making the business “a sort of neighborhood community hub.”

As such, the owner of Main Point Books, which opened this past summer, will host two well-regarded authors during this year’s Jewish Book Month.

The Jewish-focused events at the book store on the Main Line are one of just a few happening in the Philadelphia area, in contrast to previous years when Jewish Book Month had a more prominent local presence. The Katz JCC in Cherry Hill, N.J., is one of the venues that continues to host an annual festival, this year bringing in a slew of big names during its Nov. 10-17 event.

Fiebach, 46, a member of Main Line Reform Temple who worked in brand management and fundraising before opening the store, said celebrating Jewish books provides an opportunity to “talk about great literature and maybe introduce people to some new books they don’t know.”

As a new business owner — Fiebach spent two years deciding whether and where to open her store — the month provides an opportunity to tap into an important customer base: “the people of the book.”

“My grandparents gave me a gift certificate to the bookstore for my birthday every year growing up, and that sent a very clear message about what was important to them,” said Fiebach, a mother of two sons.

The store also fills a void in an area, surrounded by college campuses, that has seen the closure of a Barnes & Noble and two Borders bookstores in recent years. Fiebach said a steady demand for books among the resident professors and students — on marketing her store she says, “I’m preaching to the choir” — coupled with a resurgence in small independent book stores around the country and plans to sell e-books on her website, give her confidence that her brick and mortar store will not be overcome by the tide of Amazon.com.  

The Jewish events at her store include:

Dan Torday, a professor at Bryn Mawr College, will deliver a reading from his book, The Sensualist, which won the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for Outstanding Debut, on Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. The novel tells the story of a 17-year-old boy grappling with the trials of late adolescence in a tightly knit Jewish community in Baltimore.

Israeli journalist Yossi Klein Halevi will visit the store on Nov. 24 at noon,and talk about his critically acclaimed book, Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Israel and Divided a Nation, which follows seven soldiers who fought together during the 1967 Six-Day War but had entirely different ideas about the country’s future course.

IF YOU GO

In Cherry Hill, legal scholar Alan Dershowitz will open the Festival of Arts, Books and Culture on Nov. 10 with a talk on his recently published autobiography, Taking the Stand, which recounts some of his significant cases that helped define American jurisprudence over the past 50 years.

Other festival highlights include:

Comedian and writer Paul Reiser, the star of the former sitcom, Mad About You,
7 p.m. Nov. 10

Philadelphia news anchor Larry Kane presents the final book of his trilogy on The Beatles, When They Were Boys, 9:30 a.m. Nov. 11

Lynn Povich, the award-winning journalist who successfully sued Newsweek magazine for sexual discrimination and authored The Good Girls Revolt, 8 p.m. Nov. 11

Fred Stoller, actor and author of, Maybe We’ll Have You Back, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12

Laraine Newman, an original Saturday Night Live cast member, and original SNL writers discuss life backstage 8 p.m. on Nov. 16

For a complete listing, visit katzjcc.org/abcfest or jewish­exponent.com.
 

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