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Jewish Maryland Book Festival

December 14, 2014 @ 11:00 am - 4:00 pm


Sunday, December 14th, 11am to 4pm


Included with museum admission



Still looking for the perfect Chanukah gift? You are certain to find something here as we invite some of the region’s best Jewish authors to talk about and sign their books. We have something for the whole family, including children book author Deborah da Costa, a PJ Library story time and crafts for the younger members of the family. Plus – get a 25% off discount on all things Chanukah in the shop, from candles to menorahs!


Book signings will immediately follow author presentations and we ask that you purchase copies of the publications in the store prior to signing.




11:00am: Wicked Baltimore: Charm City Sin and Scandel with author Lauren Silberman 

12:00pm: Interview on Measure of a Life with author LeRoy Hoffberger

1:00pm: To Save a Life: Jewish Humanitarian Resistance in France during the Shoah with author Nancy Lefenfeld

1:00 p.m.  PJ Library Story Time

2:00pm Hanukah Moon with author Deborah da Costa (children’s book)

3:00pm 500 Years in the Jewish Caribbean: The Spanish & Portuguese Jews in the West Indies with author Harry A. Ezratty


See below for details!



Book talk: Wicked Baltimore: Charm City Sin and Scandal

Author Lauren Silberman

11 a.m.


As home to Edgar Allan Poe’s body, the acerbic wit of H.L. Mencken and Fells Point’s nest of pirates, Baltimore revels in the deliciously dark side of its history. From the incensed citizens of 1808 who torched a cargo of Geneva gin on Hampstead Hill to the Gilded Age socialite who allegedly poisoned four family members, the city’s early history is littered with tales of raucous violence and sordid misdeeds. Local author Lauren R. Silberman leads readers through the horrors of slave pens, the chaos of the Pratt Street Riots and the backroom speakeasies of Prohibition to reveal the sinister and scintillating face of Charm City.


About the Author

Lauren R. Silberman is a program coordinator with the American Association of Museums and served as the education coordinator for the Jewish Museum of Maryland in Baltimore. She has also given local tours with Baltimore Tours, LLC. A graduate of George Washington University, she previously authored The Jewish Community of Baltimore (Arcadia Publishing, 2008). She lives with her husband and dog. In her free time, she loves to paint and write.


Interview on Measure of a Life

Author LeRoy Hoffberger

12 p.m.


Writing “Measure of a Life” started out as a test of the author’s long term memory. Once Hoffberger was successful in stimulating his recall of events, he then sought to find out if his professional, community and personal lives have a common thread that support his religious belief that each person is on Earth for a purpose. Making the world a better place for people has been a life-long drive and shaped much of this leader’s use of his resources on all levels.


From serving on boards of more than 20 nonprofit organizations, to fundraising and creating new foundations where he saw a need, Hoffberger has had a significant impact not only in the Baltimore community, but worldwide. He has tremendously influenced the arts field as co-founder of American Visionary Art Museum and MICA’s LeRoy E. Hoffberger School of Painting, on the most selective graduate fine art programs in the nation. His efforts, through a Johns Hopkins scientific community based study program have helped make possible huge strides in Alzheimer’s and Dementia care. He established the Hoffberger Foundation for Torah Studies, which has advanced the understanding of Hebrew scripture around the world. Hoffberger has shaped the events of his life into a resonant and inspiring narrative.


About the Author

Roy Hoffberger grew up in Baltimore in a closely knit Jewish Family. During WWII, he served in a Naval Officers training program and was commissioned an Ensign after attending Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania. Upon discharge, he pursued his education at the prestigious Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University from which he graduated with honors and then attended law school at the University of Maryland. He went on to work in his uncle’s law firm and participated as legal counsel and a board member of a conglomerate of family businesses. Community service became his avocation and he served on more than 20 non-profit boards. Aside from co-founding The American Visionary Art Museum and MICA’s LeRoy E. Hoffberger’s School of Painting, Hoffberger became a avid art collector of Austrian Secessionist and German Expressionist works on paper. He lives in Baltimore with his wife photographer Paula Gately Tillman Hoffberger.



Book Talk: To Save a Life: Jewish Humanitarian Resistance in France during the Shoah

Author Nancy Lefenfeld

1:00 p.m.


Jewish resistance during the Shoah. Until recently, the subject has received little attention. Even now, images in popular culture focus almost exclusively on armed resisters – ghetto fighters and partisans living in the woods. Unarmed Jewish resisters thwarted the objectives of Nazi oppressors and their collaborators not by striking back at them physically but by saving Jews targeted for arrest, deportation, and death. Less easily recognizable than their armed counterparts, these humanitarian resisters worked illegally, clandestinely, and at the risk of their own lives. Many lost their lives because of the work they did and had no opportunity to tell their stories after the end of the war.


This brief presentation introduces the concept of Jewish humanitarian resistance and presents faces of resistance in France. It begins by touching on key aspects of the German Occupation and the persecution of Jews living in that country. Jewish humanitarian resistance emerged early in the Occupation but was greatly expanded after the tragic summer of 1942. The creation of secret networks to hide children, the manufacture and distribution of expertly-crafted false papers, and smuggling of children into Switzerland are three key aspects of humanitarian resistance discussed. The presentation features archival black and white photos preserved in the collection of the Mémorial de la Shoah, the country’s most prominent center of contemporary Jewish research, education, and memory, located in Paris.


The presenter’s book, The Fate of Others, is the story of the work carried out by a small group of young Jewish men and women who smuggled children from France into Switzerland in the fall of 1943. Members of Mouvement de jeunesse sioniste (Zionist Youth Movement), based in Annecy, a town in the French Alps, the group managed to smuggle 24 convoys of Jewish children across the Swiss border, to safety, in vicinity of Geneva.


About the Author

Nancy Lefenfeld is an independent scholar living in Maryland. Since 1998, she has conducted research on the subject of Jewish humanitarian resistance in France. Her particular area of interest is the smuggling of Jewish children from France into Switzerland in the fall of 1943. She has conducted archival research in Geneva, Paris, New York, Vienna, and elsewhere. She has also interviewed child survivors smuggled to Switzerland as well as Jewish and Christian rescuers. Her book, The Fate of Others: Rescuing Jewish Children on the French-Swiss Border, was published by Timbrel Press in 2013. Nan also authored the chapter on Jewish humanitarian resistance in France that appears in Jewish Resistance Against the Nazis, edited by Dr. Patrick Henry and published by Catholic University of America Press in May 2014.


Nan and her husband, Bob, are residents of Howard County and members of Bet Aviv Congregation. Since 2009, Nan has served as the administrator of the Jewish Emergency Network (JEN), and she is currently a board member of the Jewish Federation of Howard County. A Baltimore native, her roots in this city run deep: her great-great grandfather, Jonas Fuld and his wife, Bettie, immigrated to the city prior to 1850 and family members have lived here since that time.



PJ Library Story Time

1 p.m.


PJ library will be joining us for a specially themed Chanukah story time plus great crafts suitable for any age before and after.



Author Reading: Hanukah Moon

Deborah da Costa: Children’s author

2 p.m.


When Isobel is invited to Aunt Luisa’s for Hanukkah, she is not sure what to expect. Aunt Luisa has recently arrived from Mexico. At Aunt Luisa s you’ll get to celebrate the Hanukkah Moon, Isobel’s father promises. Isobel’s days at Aunt Luisa’s are filled with fun and surprises a new camera, a dreidel piñata filled with sweets, and a mysterious late night visit to welcome the luna nueva, the new moon that appears on Hanukkah. An unusual Hanukkah story with a multi-cultural focus, this title celebrates a little-known custom of the Latin-Jewish community.


About the Author

Deborah da Costa has taught all grades of public school from kindergarten to seniors in high school.  She has two published children’s books still circulating and being sold Snow in Jerusalem and Hanukah Moon. Most of her writing for children is about either children or animals, both tame and wild!

She holds a B.A. in International Studies, an M.A. in Anthropology (from Ohio State), an M.A. in Reading and a doctorate in Psychology from Columbia University’s Teachers College. She has a loving husband, two adult children and 3  wonderful grandsons.


Book Talk: 500 Years in the Jewish Caribbean: The Spanish & Portuguese Jews in the West Indies

Author: Harry A. Ezratty

3 p.m.


Long before the Jewish settlements in North America, Sephardic Jews came to the Caribbean, first as crew members on Columbus’s ships. By the 1600s, they had commercialized the sugar, rum and tobacco industries and won civil liberties that became the standards aspired to by colonial North American Jewry. This is their story, island by island, in Volume I of the author’s trilogy, The Jews in the New World.


About the Author

Harry A. Ezratty is an attorney, historian, writer, lecturer and Sephardic Jew who, for more than 30 years, researched the history of the Sephardim in the Caribbean. He followed this book with Vol. II in the Jews of the New World Series, “They Led the Way: the Creators of Jewish America.” He is currently preparing Vol.III, “The Builders: Jews Who Shaped Modern America.”


December 14, 2014
11:00 am - 4:00 pm