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Festival of Books & Arts

Oct 23-Nov 13, 2019

The JCC’s 21st annual Ann Katz Festival of Books & Arts, presented by the Herbert Simon Family Foundation, is made possible in part by generous ongoing support from the Irwin and Ann Katz Cultural Arts and Education Endowment Fund.

See more, save more of the three-week festival featuring local, national and international authors, films and filmmakers, performing artists and fine artists, with the Festival Pass. Just $60 and good for general admission to all events.*

Buy a Festival Pass

*Festival Pass does not include Tiny House events, Fiddler on the Roof jazz concert or VIP programs.

Taste of Ann Katz: Wiesenthal (Nazi Hunter) | Sun, Sep 22 at 2 pm | $30

Taste of Ann Katz: Wiesenthal (Nazi Hunter) | Sun, Sep 22 at 2 pm | $30

In this one-person Off-Broadway touring play featuring award-winning actor Tom Dugan, he reprises his role as Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal, known as “the Jewish James Bond” for bringing more than 1,100 Nazi war criminals to justice, including aiding in the capture of Adolph Eichmann.

Following the performance, Tom Dugan will be available for Q&A.


In partnership with


Wed, Oct 23  |  7 pm
$15 (students with valid ID FREE)
J.J. Goldberg and Jonathan Tobin “Left vs. Right: The Battle for the Soul of American Jewry”

Moderated by Jeff Smulyan (Chairman, CEO and Founder, Emmis Communications)

How and why has the discussion around antisemitism in the U.S. become both polarized and politicized? Can a diverse Jewish community speak with one voice on immigration, efforts to boycott Israel and the struggle against antisemitism from both the right and the left? How should people view the Trump administration’s policies, particularly toward Israel? Is a two-state solution for Israeli-Palestinian peace still achievable?

Jonathan S. Tobin, editor-in-chief of the Jewish News Syndicate and columnist for the National Review, New York Post, Federalist and Haaretz, and J.J. Goldberg, editor-at-large of The Forward and former U.S. bureau chief of the Israeli news magazine The Jerusalem Report, will debate these and other critical issues concerning American Jewry and Israel.


Sponsored by Jeff, Jenni z”l and Philip Berebitsky
Presented by the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council

“To us, the value of this program was not only that it helped us learn about the issues but also that we saw J.J. and Jonathan model civil, heartfelt and passionate debate about Israel.”
– Hannah Rosenthal, Past Chief Executive Officer – Milwaukee Jewish Federation

“There are so many issues that we are engaged in dealing with right now – but we filled our shul for an important and intense but highly civil exchange between the right and left on Israel – a well-organized and cogent debate.”
– Rabbi Morris Allen/Beth Jacob Congregation/Mendota Heights, MN

Thu, Oct 24  |  5  pm Happy Hour; 6 pm Speaker
Melissa Rappaport Schifman, Building a Sustainable Home: Practical Green Choices for Your Health, Wealth and Soul

Schifman is the founder of Green Intention LLC and a LEED Accredited Professional. She presents an accessible, simplified approach to creating a sustainable home.

Tickets to Speaker Only

Thu, Oct 24  |  5–9:30 pm
$75 Individual, $125 Couple, $225 for Four
Tiny House VIP Preview Party

Enjoy an exclusive evening preview of the Tiny House Roadshow. Roam house to house, enjoying a “progressive dinner” of hearty appetizers, bourbon tasting, cigar bar, games, prizes, a silent auction, wine pull and more!

Includes admission to presentation by Melissa Rappaport Schifman, author of Building a Sustainable Home: Practical Green Choices for Your Health, Wealth and Soul

Tickets to VIP Preview Party

Sponsored by JP Morgan

Fri, Oct 25–Sun, Oct 27
Tiny House Roadshow II: Home is Where the Harvest Is

Join us for “Home is Where the Harvest Is” to tour a dozen tiny houses and see why leaving a smaller footprint and living with less doesn’t mean you have to give up on comfort or style! Most of the houses in our tour are first-timers at the J, courtesy of Try It Tiny, LLC, which provides people with opportunities to rent a tiny house or share their land with tiny house enthusiasts.

Tickets for Tiny House Roadshow

Media sponsor: WTTS


Sun, Oct 27  |  2 pm
$22.50 (early bird, includes admission to Tiny House Roadshow)  |  $25 (at the door)  |  $10 speaker only

Kristyn Ivey, of For the Love of Tidy, LLC, Chicago’s first Platinum professional organizing consultancy specializing in the KonMari Method™.  KonMari is the organization founded by Marie Kondo of Netflix’s Tidying Up, a show inspiring people to choose joy in the life-changing magic of tidying up.


Mon, Oct 28  |  7 pm  |  $10
Edward Berenson The Accusation

Professor of History at NYU, Edward Berenson, will discuss the only case of blood libel in the United States as well as current issues surrounding antisemitism. His book, The Accusation: Blood Libel in an American Town, discusses the 1928 case. “The Accusation is a shocking and perceptive cross-cultural exploration of American and European responses to antisemitism.”


Wed, Oct 30  |  5:30 pm  |  FREE
Forrest Formsma Laundered Symbol art gallery reception

Laundered Symbol is an exploration of the dynamic interplay between written communication and visual form. From Forrest: “I am an artist living and working in Indianapolis, Indiana. I have exhibited as well as won best of show in multiple state and national art competitions. I work in an impressionist style that often pushes to abstraction. My paintings are poetic expressions that transcend what I see and feel. I create a visual representation of the moment and subject that is as much about the paint and process as the subject itself.”


Wed, Oct 30  |  7 pm  |  $10
Screening / panel discussion of Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People

Welcome filmmaker Oren Rudavsky along with members of the Indiana Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for a screening of Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People, followed by a panel discussion about the history of print news, the beginning of fake news, and the lasting impact of Pulitzer on today’s news media.


Sponsored by the Indiana Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists

Sat, Nov 2  |  8 pm  |  $20
Fiddler on the Roof jazz concert

Renowned saxophone player Rob Dixon leads a group of musicians in a jazz concert featuring music from the well-loved musical Fiddler on the Roof. A Jazz at the J Unity Project* program, in partnership with Indy Jazz Fest and the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation. Sponsored by the Efroymson Family Fund and JCC Friends of the Arts. Cash bar. (Photo: Denis Ryan Kelly Jr.)


*The mission of the Unity Project is to build respect and understanding between various communities, with a particular focus on the Black and Jewish communities, through the arts and intentional dialogue. Partners include the JCC, the Efroymson Family Fund, The Indianapolis Urban League and the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council.




Sun, Nov 3  |  11 am  |  FREE
Celebrating with Curious George (for families)

Hosted in the Domont Auditorium at the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis (JFGI)’s Center for Jewish Engagement and Learning alongside the visiting exhibit The True Wartime Escape: Margaret and H.A. Rey’s Journey from France. Learn about winter holidays through hands-on STEM activities, grab a bite from food trucks parked outside and enjoy a visit from the Man in the Yellow Hat and Curious George himself!

At 2:30 pm, bring a blanket, grab some popcorn and stick around for a picnic-style viewing of the family-friendly documentary Monkey Business: The Adventures of Curious George’s Creators in the JCC’s Laikin Auditorium.

In partnership with JFGI, CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center and WFYI.

Wed, Nov 6  |  7 pm  |  $10
Rabbi Sandy Sasso “Through the Looking Glass: Writing for Kids on Spiritual Matters”

In conversation with Jackie Nytes, CEO of Indianapolis Public Library.

Sandy Sasso is the author of several nationally acclaimed children’s books, including God’s Paintbrush, Adam and Eve’s First Sunset and In God’s Name. Publishers Weekly selected two of her books, But God Remembered and Noah’s Wife: The Story of Na’amah, as Best Books of the Year. Rabbi Sandy Sasso served as Rabbi of Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, Indianapolis from 1977- 2013.  She currently is the director of the Religion, Spirituality and the Arts Initiative.


Sponsored by Congregation Beth-El Zedeck.

Thu, Nov 7  |  7 pm
$65 VIP reception, $15 general admission
Dennis Ross Be Strong and of Good Courage

Dennis Ross is an American diplomat and author. He has served under President George H.W. Bush, President Bill Clinton, and President Barack Obama and is a world-renowned expert on Middle East politics. His newest book, Be Strong and of Good Courage: How Israel’s Most Important Leaders Shaped Its Destiny, came out September 3, 2019.

Please note that the location for this event is at Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation (6501 N Meridian St)


Sponsored by Diane and John Abrams (Abrams EyeCare Associates), Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation and the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council.

Sat, Nov 9  |  8 pm  |  $10
Heartland Film Award Winning Shorts

Heartland Film Festival presents a selection of award-winning shorts.


Sun, Nov 10  |  2 pm
FREE (RSVPs encouraged by Nov 9)
Spirit & Place Festival performance The World We Live(d) In

Explore the evolution of this community’s ideas, values and revolutionary thoughts via a juxtaposition of yesterday’s and today’s social justice climate interpreted through poetry and dance. How have our views on issues like race, inequality, climate change, gender and immigration changed through the course of history? The Indiana Writers Center will present an anthology of historic poetry from their literary journal Flying Island and contemporary writing submitted by Central Indiana residents, which Dance Kaleidoscope dancers will visually compare through original choreography. Performance attendees will also have the opportunity to create their own “blackout” or “book” poems in a guided art-making experience with Indianapolis Art Center teaching artists.

RSVP by Nov 9

Presented by JCC Indianapolis, Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, Dance Kaleidoscope, Indiana Writers Center and Indianapolis Art Center. Sponsored by Penrod Society, Ltd. and PEN America.


Mon, Nov 11  |  7 pm
$17 (includes book), $10 (general admission)
Ronald Balson The Girl from Berlin

This year’s “Community Reads” New York Times best-selling author Ronald Balson will talk about his historical mystery novel, The Girl from Berlin, winner of the 2018 National Jewish Book Award for the Book Club category. Balson is a trial attorney, educator and writer whose work and travels have taken him across the globe.


Tue, Nov 12  |  7 pm  |  FREE
Celebrating Eva Kor

A celebration of the life and memory of Eva Kor. Join the community in sharing her impact on the world following a screening of Eva A-7063. In partnership with Ted Green Films, WFYI and CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center. Donations to CANDLES and the WFYI-Ted Green Films Eva Education Program accepted.



Wed, Nov 13  |  7 pm  |  $15
Alan Zweibel A Field Guide to the Jewish People

A very funny guy asks – and answers: “Why do random Jewish holidays keep springing up unexpectedly? Who was the first Jewish Comedian?” These baffling questions and many more are answered by Alan Zweibel, one of the authors of A Field Guide to the Jewish People. Zweibel is an original Saturday Night Live writer (he helped create iconic Gilda Radner characters like Roseanne Roseannadanna and Emily Litella) and has won five Emmy awards for his work in television for The Late Show with David Letterman and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Cash bar.


Sponsored by Congregation Beth Shalom.