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Books of the week: 2020 Jewish Community Center Book Fest showcases eight authors

for the Journal

Red Seas Spies

Eight authors are participating in the 2020 Jewish Community Center of Greater Albuquerque’s Book Fest. The authors will be appear through a virtual Zoom link. To purchase series or individual event tickets, go to

The first event is at noon Sunday, Oct. 18 featuring Raffi Berg’s book “Red Sea Spies: The True Story of the Mossad’s Fake Diving Resort.”

Joining Berg will be Dani, the Mossad commander at the heart of the daring operation. Berg wrote that the Mossad, Israel’s spy agency, was in an unusual role – smuggler of more than 28,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel.

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“Florence Adler Swims Forever”

The second festival event, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, will have Rachel Beanland discussing her debut novel “Florence Adler Swims Forever.”

The story opens with the drowning of a young girl off Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1934. The center of this heart-felt novel is how family members hide the death from Florence’s sister, Fannie, who is pregnant and on bed rest. The fictional Florence is based on the author’s great-great-aunt. Beanland said in an email, she’s known since she was a little girl that “…when I got serious about writing a novel, in my mid-30s, this was the story I knew I’d tell.”

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“The Words of My Father”

The next event is with Yousef Bashir, author of “The Words of My Father: Love and Pain in Palestine,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22. When he was 15, during the Second Intifada, Bashir was outside his family home in Gaza when an Israeli soldier shot him in the spine. Israeli doctors saved his life.

Witnessing his father’s ardent belief in promoting peace, the son becomes an advocate for peace.

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At noon on Sunday, Oct. 25 author Meg Waite Clayton talks about her book “The Last Train to London: A Novel.” Based on a true story, the book tells of a fearless, childless woman who helps 10,000 Jewish children escape Nazi-occupied Europe before World War II as part of a secretive Kindertransport operation. The woman, a member of the Dutch resistance, is Truus Wijsmuller. A San Francisco Examiner review said: “Clayton brings Tante Truus to life at a timely moment when cruelty is once again on the march.”

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A Bend in the Stars

Rachel Barenbaum will discuss her novel “A Bend in the Stars” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27. The book, set during World War I, has several dramatic themes – a love triangle, a family saga, and the plight of Russian Jews.

Central to the story is a young Jewish woman on the verge of becoming a surgeon in Russia and her brother, a scientist close to solving Einstein’s theory of relativity.

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White Hot Grief Parade

Author-actress-singer Alexandra Silber talks about her new memoir, “White Hot Grief Parade” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29. It explores the author’s enduring feelings for her father who died of cancer when she was a teenager, and the healing power of family and friends. Silber’s first book was the novel “After Anatevka.” In it Silber takes the reader into the imagined coming-of-age story of Hodel, a character she portrayed in the musical “Fiddler on the Roof,” after leaving the fictional town of Anatevka.

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The Book of V

At noon Sunday, Nov. 1, Anna Solomon will chat about “The Book of V.” Solomon’s novel probes the political power, desires and sexual lives of three women. Lily – a mother, a daughter, a second wife – tries to manage her life in a rented apartment in 2016 Brooklyn. Vivian is dedicated to helping her ambitious husband in Watergate-era Washington … until she refuses a humiliating favor.

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I Want You to Know We’re Still Here

Esther Safran Foer talks about her memoir “I Want You to Know We’re Still Here” at noon Wednesday, Nov. 4. Born in a post-World War II displaced persons camp, Foer later in life goes on a quest to find any information about a sister murdered in the Holocaust and to track down the people who safeguarded her father during the war. Foer is the mother of best-selling novelist Jonathan Safran Foer and two other journalist-writer sons.