Jean Hoffman Lewanda: Witness to History – From Vietnam to Shanghai
This is a memoir of an 18-year-old Austrian Jew who escaped to Shanghai, China by himself in 1938. Upon arriving in China, not only does Paul support himself, but also helps his parents, sister, aunt and uncle leave Europe and survive World War II in Shanghai. Paul relates how the Sephardic Jewish community came to the aid of the Jews fleeing Central Europe. He provides a detailed description of the two years that the family was confined to the Hongkew Ghetto. While many in the Jewish community elected to leave China as soon as possible after WWII, Paul and his young wife, Shirley, elected to stay on after the Communist takeover. This decision led to a sequence of events that rivaled the perils of the war years.
About the Author: Jean Hoffmann Lewanda was born in April of 1954 in New York City, one year after Paul and Shulamis Hoffmann arrived in America. She received an undergraduate degree from the University at Albany, her masters degree from New York University, and a Sixth Year Certificate from the University of Connecticut. Jean was a Special Educator for forty years in both private and public schools across all grade levels in the Greater Hartford area in Connecticut. Now retired, Jean lives in Yardley, Pennsylvania near her children and grandchildren. She now shares her family story by participating in Holocaust Education programs.
Ambassador Martin Indyk: Master of the Game: Henry Kissinger and the Art of Middle East Diplomacy
More than twenty years have elapsed since the United States last brokered a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians. In that time, three presidents have tried and failed. Martin Indyk — a former United States ambassador to Israel and special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in 2013 — has experienced these political frustrations and disappointments firsthand. Now, in an attempt to understand the arc of American diplomatic influence in the Middle East, he returns to the origins of American-led peace efforts and to the man who created the Middle East peace process — Henry Kissinger. Based on newly available documents from American and Israeli archives, extensive interviews with Kissinger, and Indyk’s own interactions with some of the main players, the author takes readers inside the negotiations. Indyk’s account is that of a historian poring over the records of these events, as well as an inside player seeking to glean lessons for Middle East peacemaking. He makes clear that understanding Kissinger’s design for Middle East peacemaking is key to comprehending how — and how not— to make peace.
Join us on Zoom 15 December 2022 at 7:30pm
About the Author: Martin Indyk is a distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, assistant secretary of state for Near East Affairs, and special assistant to President Clinton. Previously, Indyk was executive vice president of the Brookings Institution, where he had also served as vice president and director of the Foreign Policy program and the founding director of its Center for Middle East Policy. He served as President Obama’s special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations from July 2013 to June 2014. He lives in New York.
Shaunna Edwards and Alyson Richman: The Thread Collectors
1863: In a small Creole cottage in New Orleans, an ingenious young Black woman named Stella embroiders intricate maps on repurposed cloth to help enslaved men flee and join the Union Army. Bound to a man who would kill her if he knew of her clandestine activities, Stella has to hide not only her efforts but her love for William, a Black soldier and a brilliant musician.
Meanwhile, in New York City, a Jewish woman stitches a quilt for her husband, who is stationed in Louisiana with the Union Army. Between abolitionist meetings, Lily rolls bandages and crafts quilts with her sewing circle for other soldiers, too, hoping for their safe return home. But when months go by without word from her husband, Lily resolves to make the perilous journey South to search for him.
As these two women risk everything for love and freedom during the brutal Civil War, their paths converge in New Orleans, where an unexpected encounter leads them to discover that even the most delicate threads have the capacity to save us. Loosely inspired by the authors’ family histories, this stunning novel will stay with readers for a long time.
Join us on Zoom 23 Feburary 2023 at 7:30pm
About the Authors:
Alyson Richman is the USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of several historical novels, including The Velvet Hours, The Garden of Letters, and The Lost Wife, which is currently in development for a major motion picture. Alyson graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in art history and Japanese studies. She is an accomplished painter and her novels combine her deep love of art, historical research, and travel. Alyson’s novels have been published in twenty-five languages and have reached bestseller lists both in the United States and abroad. She lives on Long Island with her husband and two children, where she is currently at work on her next novel. Find her on Instagram, @alysonrichman.
Shauna J. Edwards has a BA in literature from Harvard College and a JD from NYU School of Law. A former corporate lawyer, she now works in diversity, equity and inclusion. She is a native Louisianian, raised in New Orleans, and currently lives in Harlem with her husband. The Thread Collectors is her first novel. Find her on Instagram, @shaunnajedwards.
Ira Rosen: Ticking Clock: Behind the Scenes at 60 Minutes
When producer Ira Rosen walked into the 60 Minutes offices in June 1980, he knew he was about to enter television history. His career catapulted him to the heights of broadcast journalism, breaking some of the most important stories in TV news. But behind the scenes was a war room of clashing producers, anchors, and the most formidable 60 Minutes figure: legendary correspondent Mike Wallace.
Based on decades of access and experience, Rosen takes readers behind closed doors to offer an incisive look at the show that invented TV investigative journalism. With surprising humor, charm, and an eye for colorful detail, he delivers an authoritative account of the unforgettable personalities that battled for prestige, credit, and the desire to scoop everyone else in the game. As one of Wallace’s top producers, Rosen reveals the interview secrets that made his work legendary and the flaring temper that made him infamous. Later, as senior producer of ABC News’ Primetime Live and 20/20, Rosen exposes the competitive environment among famous colleagues, including Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters, and the power plays among correspondents Chris Wallace, Anderson Cooper, and Chris Cuomo.
A master class in how TV news is made, Ticking Clock shows readers how 60 Minutes puts together a story when sources are explosive, unreliable, and even dangerous. From unearthing shocking revelations from inside the Trump White House, to an outrageous proposition from Ghislaine Maxwell, to interviewing gangsters Joe Bonanno and John Gotti Jr., Ira Rosen was behindthe scenes of some of the most sensational stories that 60 Minutes broadcast.
Highly entertaining, dishy, and unforgettable, Ticking Clock is a never-before-told account of the most successful news show in American history.
Join us on Zoom 27 April 2023 at 7:30pm
About the Author: For nearly twenty-five years, Ira Rosen has produced some of the most memorable, important, and groundbreaking stories for 60 Minutes. A former Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, Rosen was a senior producer of Primetime Live with Diane Sawyer. Rosen has won 24 National Emmys, four duPont Awards, two RFK Awards, and two Peabodys for his work. He is the co-author of The Warning: Accident at Three Mile Island.
Debby Applegate: Madam: The Biography of Polly Adler, Icon of the Jazz Age
Madam is the biography of Polly Adler (1900−1962), the most infamous and influential madam in Jazz Age New York. Her 1953 memoir, A House is Not A Home, sold 2 million books and became a 1963 movie starring Shelley Winters. More than a biography, this is a colorful and unusual history of Jewish life told through the perspective of a “good Jewish girl” from a Russian shtetl who immigrated to Brooklyn, and rose to become “the Female Al Capone” and one of the most renowned Jewish-American women in the 20th century. Her brothels were underworld salons that catered to everyone from the Vanderbilts and the Rockfellers to Walter Winchell, Frank Sinatra, Desi Arnaz, the Algonquin Roundtable, Dutch Schultz and Meyer Lansky, and, it was rumored, Franklin D. Roosevelt. The New York Times Book Review praised Madam as a “fast-paced tale of radical, willful transformation,” and “a breathless tale told through extraordinary research.” Debby Applegate’s first book won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for biography and she spent the next 13 years working on Madam.
Join us on Zoom 8 June 2023 at 7:30pm
About the Author: Debby Applegate is a historian whose first book, The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher, won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Book Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. She holds a Ph.D. from Yale University and lives in Connecticut with her husband Bruce Tulgan.