Upcoming events


FREE EVENT

Tuesday, May 21

USA 12:00 pm PT / 3:00 pm ET

UK 8:00 pm / France 09:00 pm / Israel 10:00 pm

The talk will last approximately 60 minutes

Qesher Book Club: "Caravan of Hope: A Bukharan Woman's Journey to Freedom"

Dahlia Abraham-Klein: This book is a historical non-fiction based on her mother's life, Zina Abraham who was born in a Soviet Uzbek prison in 1933. Ultimately released from prison and strapped to her mother's chest, Zina and her mother, traveled by horseback undetected to Afghanistan. But as a woman in Afghanistan, she was still essentially in prison, concealed from the outside world with no access to education or medical care. Abraham's story takes us on sweeps and swirls through Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Her quest toward religious freedom and education transports us to India, to Israel, and then finally to the United States. Central to each chapter of her life is a story of survival and deep faith and commitment to build and nurture a Jewish life for herself and her community. Read more and sign up for free

FREE EVENT

Tuesday, June 18

USA 12:00 pm PT / 3:00 pm ET

UK 8:00 pm / France 9:00 pm / Israel 10:00 pm

The talk will last approximately 60 minutes

Qesher Book Club: "Family Declassified"

Katherine Fennelly - In Family Declassified social scientist Katherine Fennelly delves into the rationale and consequences of family secrets by studying her grandfather, Francis Kalnay, a high-level spy for the Allied Forces in Europe. In 1954 Francis abandoned his family and fled to Mexico for two decades where he reinvented himself as a children's book author, an architect, and a gourmand. Until his death at age 93, he never spoke of his Jewish ancestry, his work as a spy, or of the murder of his sister and nephew at the hands of Hungarian Fascists. Read more and sign up for free

FREE EVENT

Tuesday, July 9

USA 12:00 pm PT / 3:00 pm ET

UK 8:00 pm / France 9:00 pm / Israel 10:00 pm

The talk will last approximately 60 minutes

Qesher Book Club: "The Sweet Fragrance of Life & Other Horror Stories"

Renowned Jewish vocalist and writer Elizabeth Schwartz's first book of fiction, "The Sweet Fragrance of Life & Other Stories" is a meditation on historic European Jewish Culture seen through the lens of a woman's point of view. She will read excerpts from her stories and talk about the religious, cultural and historic factors that shaped them and her approach to traditional Jewish art. The author weaves in rich historical particulars, from the political climate of decades past to an account of a real-life incident that inspired one of the tales herein. Smooth, descriptive prose makes these short stories fly by. This exceptional collection's brevity is sure to leave readers wanting more. Read more and sign up for free

Past events

The Marriage Box

May 14, 2024

Corie Adjmi - Casey Cohen, a Middle Eastern Jew, is a sixteen-year-old in New Orleans in the 1970s when she starts hanging out with the wrong crowd. Then she gets in trouble and her parents turn her whole world upside down by deciding to return to their roots, the Orthodox Syrian Jewish community in Brooklyn. In this new and foreign world the Marriage Box is a real place designated for teenage girls to put themselves on display for potential husbands. Casey is at first shocked by this unfamiliar culture, but after she meets Michael, she marries him at eighteen, believing she can adjust to Syrian ways. But she begins to question her decision when she discovers that Michael doesn't want her to go to college; he wants her to have a baby instead. Can Casey integrate these two opposing worlds, or will she have to leave one behind in order to find her way?


Finding Home (Hungary, 1945)

May 7, 2024

Dean Cycon - For nine months in Auschwitz, eighteen-year-old Eva Fleiss clung to sanity by playing piano on imaginary keyboards. After liberation, Eva and the five remaining Jews of Laszlo, Hungary, journey home, seeking to restart their lives. Yet the town that deported them is not ready to embrace their return. Longing for connection to her old life, Eva agrees to clean her former home, now the mayor's home, in return for practice time on her piano. As her profound experiences allow her to access music at a depth she didn't know existed, Eva's performances begin to affect those around her, with unexpected consequences.


 A Unique Jewish Trip to Poland and Germany 

April 16, 2024

Ira Wesley Kitmacher and Daniel Gurevich - Join us to learn about the special trip which will be based on Ira Wesley Kitmacher's book: "Monsters and Miracles: Horror, Heroes, and the Holocaust" (2022). In this unique talk, you will have the opportunity to meet Ira, who will share about his book, in the form of a Qesher Book Club. In the second half of the event, you will meet Daniel Gurevich, leader of Jerulita and this one-of-a-kind trip, based on this novel, and which will take place between August 2-September 4, 2024.

Across So Many Seas

March 26, 2024

Ruth Behar - Spanning over 500 years, Pura Belpré Award winner Ruth Behar's epic novel tells the stories of four girls from different generations of a Jewish family, many of them forced to leave their country and start a new life. In 1492, during the Spanish Inquisition, Benvenida and her family are banished from Spain. Four centuries later, in 1923, shortly after the Turkish War of Independence, Reina's father ships her away to Cuba. In 1961, Reina's daughter, Alegra, teaches literacy in the Cuban countryside. But Fidel Castro's crackdowns force her to flee to Miami. Finally, in 2003, Alegra's daughter, Paloma, is thrilled by the opportunity to learn more about her heritage on a family trip to Spain, where she makes a momentous discovery. Though many years and many seas separate these girls, each is lucky to stand on the shoulders of their courageous ancestors

Stranger in the Desert - A Family Story

March 12, 2024

Jordan Salama - Inspired by family lore, a young writer embarks on an epic quest through the Argentine Andes in search of a heritage spanning hemispheres and centuries, from the Jewish Levant to turn-of-the-century trade routes in South America. Combining travelog, history, memoir, and reportage, Stranger in the Desert transports readers from the lonely plains of Patagonia to the breathtaking altiplano of the high Andes; from the old Jewish quarter of Damascus to today's vibrant neighborhoods of Buenos Aires. It is also a fervent journey of self-discovery as Jordan Salama grapples with his own Jewish, Arab, and Latin American identities, interrogating the stories families tell themselves, and to what end.


A Sephardi Turkish Patriot

February 20, 2024

Anthony Gad Bigio - A Sephardi Turkish Patriot explores the life of Gad Franco (1881-1954), a prominent journalist who worked relentlessly for the Jewish community's acceptance as part of the national Turkish polity. This historical biography, written by his grandson, takes the reader from Izmir to Istanbul and beyond, tracing his footsteps, including his opposition to Zionism which he considered a threat to assimilation. Inflamed by ethno-nationalism, cleavages between the Muslim majority and Turkey's ethnic minorities deepened in the 1930s, leading to their harassment during World War II. By then, Gad Franco was expropriated of all his assets and deported to a labor camp. As its belonging to the nation had been so dramatically denied, half of the Turkish Jewish community migrated to Israel in the 1950s, putting an end to Gad Franco's hopes of its integration and acceptance.

We Are Not Strangers

January 23, 2024

Josh Tuininga - The new Graphic Novel, 'We Are Not Strangers' is based on the true story of a Sephardic Jewish immigrant who helped his Japanese-American neighbors when they were incarcerated during WWII. In this talk, author Josh Tuininga traces his family's Sephardic roots as they flee their home in Turkey, discover opportunities in America, and forge a new community in the diverse, migrant neighborhood of the Seattle Central District. Through a visually engaging presentation, Tuininga shares the intricacies of his research and creative process, unraveling the profound lessons embedded in these tales of allyship and unity amidst the turbulence of wartime. 

Kantika

January 09, 2024

Elizabeth Graver - Kantika ("song" in Ladino) was inspired by Elizabeth's grandmother Rebecca, who was born into a Sephardic Jewish family in Istanbul and whose tumultuous and shape-shifting life journey took her to Spain, Cuba, and New York. For Elizabeth, the process of writing Kantika was also a journey. She interviewed relatives and strangers, traveled to Turkey, Spain and Cuba, and read deeply to better understand the worlds of the novel. In this talk, she will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the writing of Kantika and discuss some of its central themes, among them music and language crossings, ideas of home, resilience and joy, and the rich, vanishing culture of Turkish Sephardic Jews.


"Wounds into Wisdom: Healing Intergenerational Jewish Trauma" November 21, 2023

Rabbi Tirzah Firestone - We are living in heartbreaking times, when so many around the world are enduring war, displacement, and profound fear. These and other traumas have roots in history, in the collective and intergenerational wounds of our ancestors. Science now demonstrates what many of us may have intuited — that the past can leave imprints upon future generations, affecting the minds, hearts, behaviors, and resilience of those who come next. Drawing from her award-winning book, Wounds into Wisdom, Rabbi Dr. Tirzah Firestone will share research, stories, and principles of trauma healing that speak directly to the moment we are in, and how we can stay healthy, helpful, and humane.

"Anything But Yes": A Novel of Anna del Monte, Jewish Citizen of Rome, 1749 October 17, 2023

Joie Davidow - Anything But Yes is the true story of a young woman's struggle to defend her identity in the face of relentless attempts to destroy it. In 1749, eighteen-year-old Anna del Monte was seized at gunpoint from her home in the Jewish ghetto of Rome and thrown into a convent cell at the "House of Converts". Very few people know the story of the Ghetto, or the abduction of Jews to convert them to Catholicism. Young girls and small children were the primary targets. But Anna del Monte was strong, brilliant, educated, and wrote a diary of her experiences. The document was lost for more than 200 hundred years, then rediscovered in 1989. Anything but Yes is also based on Davidow's extensive research on life in the eighteenth-century Roman ghetto, its traditions, food, personalities, and dialect.

"Worlds Apart": Journeys of a Jewish family in 20th century Europe            May 2, 2023 

Nadia Ragozhina - Two brothers grow up on the Jewish streets of Warsaw. At the turn of the twentieth century, Adolphe leaves to seek work and start a family in Switzerland. Marcus moves east, inspired by his Communist beliefs. In Moscow, he is arrested and exiled. They would never see each other again. A hundred years later, Marcus' great-granddaughter, Nadia Ragozhina, rediscovers the missing part of her broken family. Join us to find out how Nadia pieced together the stories hidden for generations and what she learned about the lives of her relatives amid some of the most tumultuous events of twentieth-century Europe.