by Leonard Gill
It's been a successful fall so far and all signs point to continued success for the first-ever (but by all accounts annual) Jewish Literary and Cultural Arts Festival at the Memphis Jewish Community Center at 6560 Poplar.
As Amy Israel, the center's cultural arts director, recently reported in an update by email, close to 200 attended the luncheon in October with guests Rachelle Bergstein and Jane Weitzman. Later in the month, Moshe and Goldie Monzon drew collectors from the MJCC and larger Memphis community to the sale of their artwork and jewelry. (The couple, according to Israel, will be returning to Memphis "for sure.") And a stormy night didn't deter a good-size crowd to hear reporter Geoff Calkins put the questions to former prosecutor and author Marcia Clark.
There will no charge for the festival's closing event, which asks the literary question "What is gained and lost by fictionalizing the Holocaust?" On the panel to discuss the issue are native Memphians and writers Anna Olswanger (Greenhorn) and Daniel Friedman (Don't Ever Get Old) and Stephen Haynes (The Last Segregated Hour: The Memphis Kneel-ins and the Campaign for Southern Church Desegregation) of Rhodes College. The moderator will be community leader Ellen Klyce. The program is free and open to all on Tuesday, November 19th, at 7 p.m. The Memphis office of Facing History and Ourselves — the international organization that uses the lessons of the Holocaust to combat present-day bigotry and mass violence — is co-sponsoring the evening.
For more information on the Jewish Literary and Cultural Arts Festival, go to the Memphis Jewish Community Center's website or call 761-0810. And take it from Amy Israel, who said of the festival back in September, "This will be a great beginning to an ongoing annual event!" Israel's proving right.