Staff Picks: Federation/JCC Pros Share Their Favorite Reads

Staff Picks: Federation/JCC Share Their Favorite Reads

In honor of Jewish Book Month, we asked some of the staff at the Federation/JCC to fill us in on what they have been reading this year. Read below to hear from our team and find your next great read!

Sandy Bretz, Front Desk Team

Where the Crawdads Sing
Delia Owens

I enjoyed a book loaned to me by Susan Leviton, titled Where The Crawdads Sing. It was written beautifully by Delia Owens. What I liked most about this book was the suspense that surrounds the entirety of the character Kya. Kya is a very strange character in the sense that she is very untidy and has committed a really bad crime. That’s all I will say regarding that. Overall the book is great. I could actually relate to some of Kya’s experiences. It is almost like an eye opening adventure into her life.

I would also like to recommend a book that I never quite finished, titled Eli’s Promise by Ron Balson. I started reading the book and finishing it is on my to-do list for the New Year!


MarkJoseph Kasian, Aquatics Manager

Is This Anything
Jerry Seinfeld

In these times of unknown and unfamiliar territory it is very important to have a laugh. In reading this book it provided me with humor and joy.

Jerry Seinfeld has always been a favorite comedian of mine so when I saw that he had a new book out this year I knew I had to read it. Lucky for me my mom and dad bought it for me! I read it in two days, and felt like I laughed for five days.


Sophie Kasian


The DoveKeepers
Alice Hoffman


One of my favorite authors of all time is Alice Hoffman.  What I love about Hoffman is that she always puts a bit of herself into her books. “All the characters in my books are imagined, but all have a bit of who I am in them - much like the characters in your dreams are all formed by who you are,” she says. 


I have read a handful of her books from “Aquamarine” to “Practical Magic” but one that always stuck with me is The DoveKeepers. This is an historical novel that is set during and after the fall of Jerusalem that follows the lives of four extraordinary women.

Alice created this book after doing copious amounts of research from the historian Josephus and her own experience visiting Masada.  Historically, we know the fate of what happened at Masada- but Hoffman creates a book that will have you on the edge of your seat, totally invested in the lives of these strong complex female characters. 


Jenn Ross, President/CEO

Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family
Author: Mitch Albom

My favorite recent book was Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family by Mitch Albom.  Although it was painful knowing from the beginning that Chika had already passed away, Albom recounted most of the story through her voice as a recurring imagined visitor allowing her to live on through him and the book. I cried multiple times throughout my reading and also during his amazing talk at a fundraiser for JFS, yet my spirit was also uplifted by the boundless love of Mitch and his wife and by Chika’s incredible joy and resilience.


Lori Rubin, Associate Executive Director

My Wife Said You May Want to Marry Me: A Memoir
Author: Jason B. Rosenthal


One fun book I read over quarantine was My Wife Said You May Want to Marry Me: A Memoir by Jason B. Rosenthal.  The memoir was written after his wife, children's author Amy Krouse Rosenthal penned a note entitled "You May Want to Marry My Husband" in the New York Times Modern Love column.  During the pandemic, I have found myself to be very reflective and this book reminded me to enjoy today.  As we navigate the unknown, practicing gratitude and appreciation are an integral part of my daily life.  I hope this continues way into the future.  


Cheryl Yablon, Senior Adult Director                                                                                           

Inside the Jewish Bakery
Stanley Ginsberg and Norman Berg

I read Cookbooks like novels.  One of my favorite baking books is Inside The Jewish Bakery by Stanley Ginsberg and Norman Berg.  I love this book because it brought back memories of going to Jewish bakeries as a child, and all the wonderful “from scratch” delectable delights that one could get at the local bakery shop. 

My husband got me this book for Chanukah in 2011 in the hopes that I would make his father’s favorite Russian Coffee Cake.  This was the ultimate indulgence to many that grew up in postwar Jewish neighborhoods.  The recipe took a lot of time, but it was absolutely worth every second!