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.
Joel Burcat: Strange Fire
Fracking for natural gas has turned deadly in Bradford County, Pa. Not only is the water contaminated, but people are dying. A prime suspect: Yukon Oil and Gas whose round-the-clock operations may have poisoned a residential well and a town’s water supply. Who is contaminating the water wells and why are contractors disappearing? Mike Jacobs, a 29-year-old Jewish environmental lawyer with Pennsylvania’s environmental agency is back in this romantically-charged environmental legal thriller about the real outcomes and dangers of fracking and drilling for natural gas.
Mike fulfills the mandate of protecting the Earth, and does not shy away from his roots and the antisemitic challenges he must face. Mike is a Jewish everyman who never conceals his Jewishness, embracing it in all of his actions. He’s willing to stand up for what is right at all turns. While Mike doesn’t loudly proclaim his Jewishness, he represents it. It’s fair to say Strange Fire is complex and intelligent, deftly plotted and character rich. It is also like a college course in fracking and being a mensch.
Link to view recording — Coming Soon
About the Author: Joel Burcat is a novelist, environmental lawyer, and a recipient of a 2020 PennWriters Annual Writing Award. His previous novels, Drink to Every Beast and Amid Rage are award-winning environmental legal thrillers. His newest novel, Strange Fire, was selected by Kirkus Reviews as a Critic’s Pick. His writing has been praised by best-selling authors Frank Bruni, William Landay, John Lescroart, Lisa Garner, Steve Berry, and others.
Purchase Strange Fire from Amazon
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.