Devorah Heitner, Author of Screenwise, at Max and Benny’s on May 22

In this modern age of ours, we are constantly dealing with the issue of digital device obsession with children. This is why Devorah Heitner’s book “Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive)in Their Digital World” is timely,  informative and helpful. Devorah, who has her doctorate in Media/Technology and Society from Northwestern University, stresses in her book that our kids need strong mentorship in this connected world we live in. Developing these mentorship strategies as parents, grandparents and teachers is key in helping young people to succeed and become engaged in families and society. Devorah is the featured speaker at Max and Benny’s on Monday evening, May 22. Her presentation begins at 7:00 pm. Her book is being sold by our friends from the Book Bin that evening. The event is free and open to the public.

Richard Cahan Next Featured Author at Max and Benny’s


Richard Cahan is the featured speaker at the Jewish Authors Series at Max and Benny’s on Monday evening, June 20. The program starts at 7:00 pm. Cahan will discuss his latest book, Richard Nickel: Dangerous Years—What He Saw and What He Wrote, which he co-authored with Michael Williams. The book relates the amazing story of Richard Nickel, the architectural photographer who many consider to be the founder of Chicago’s historic preservation movement. Max and Benny’s is located at 461 Waukegan Road in Northbrook. Please email me at if you plan on attending.

Author Libby Fischer Hellmann at Max and Benny’s on November 23rd.

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The Incidental Spy is another fascinating historical thriller by Libby Fischer Hellmann who is the next  featured speaker on the evening of November 23rd at the Chicago Jewish Authors Literary Series at Max and Benny’s. The event is free and the presentation starts at 7:00 pm. The Incidental Spy tells the story of young Lena Bentheim who flees Nazi Germany for Chicago in 1935, leaving her family and boyfriend behind. After learning English, she eventually meets and marries another German refugee scientist and has a child. Then tragedy strikes, and Lens is forced to spy on the nuclear fission experiments at the University of Chicago. Libby Fischer Hellmann left a career in broadcast news in Washington D.C. and moved to Chicago thirty-five years ago. She now has written twelve novels and twenty short stories, and has established herself as one of Chicago’s premier crime/mystery/espionage authors. Please contact me at if you need more information or if you wish to rsvp for the event.

Chicago Jewish Authors Series at Max and Benny’s

The lineup is now set for the next five presenters at the Chicago Jewish Authors Series at Max and Benny’s. And an amazingly talented and diverse group of authors it is. The authors and the featured books are:
October 19-Dina Elenbogen, author of Drawn from Water: An American Poet, an Ethiopian Family, an Israeli Story
November 23-Libby Fischer Hellmann, author of The Incidental Spy
January 25-Ronald Balson, author of Saving Sophie
February 22-Karen Kaplan, author of Rajgrod: Learning to Forgive
March 28-Ina Pinkney, author of Ina’s Kitchen: Memories and Recipes from the Breakfast Queen

We anticipate big turnouts for all authors. Preregistration for all events is required. An email announcing the event will be sent out through a Max and Benny’s email. If you are not on the Max and Benny’s email list, please contact me at and I will add you to the list.

Lisa Barr To Discuss “Fugitive Colors” on April 20


Lisa Barr will be speaking at the Chicago Jewish Authors Series at Max and Benny’s on Monday evening, April 20th, at 7 pm.  Lisa’s amazing novel, Fugitive Colors, relates the unlikely journey of a young Orthodox Jewish man from Chicago’s West Side to the art salons of Paris and Berlin in the turbulent days leading up to the Second World War.  Booklist calls Fugitive Colors “masterfully conceived and crafted. Barr’s dazzling debut novel has it all: passion and jealousy, intrigue and danger.” Lisa Barr has been a journalist for more than 20 years. She has served as an editor for the Jerusalem Post and later became managing editor of Moment magazine and a staff reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times. Please rsvp for the event by contacting me by email at or by phone 847-542-4624.

Chicago Jewish Authors Series Lineup Set From March Through June

The lineup is all set for the next four presentations at the Chicago Jewish Authors Literary Series at Max and Benny’s Restaurant and Deli . Now in its fourth year, the Series has been well received in the community. I hope that you will be able attend at least one of these. The lineup is:

March 23—I will be presenting on the life and work of Saul Bellow. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Bellow’s birth.

April 20—Lisa Barr will discuss her thriller of a novel, Fugitive Colors, set in the art world of France and Germany during the dark years preceding the Second World War.

May 18—Charlene Wexler will be discussing her novel Lori, an emotional journey of a woman, which spans thirty years and two continents.

June 22—Jami Attenberg, of The Middlesteins fame, will be returning to the Chicago area to introduce us to her new novel, Saint Mazie.

If anybody has any questions on these events, or wishes to rsvp for any of them, please contact me at

Ellen Blum Barish

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We are thrilled and honored to have Ellen Blum Barish as the next featured speaker at the Max and Benny’s Jewish authors’ event on Monday evening, February 23; starting at 7:00 pm. Ellen is a maven in the craft of writing of the personal essay. She will share with us some of her essays from her book Views from the Home Office Window: On Motherhood, Family and Life (which is available for sale at the event). She has recently launched a marvelous online publication devoted to the personal essay: Thread

Ellen has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University where she now teaches writing. She has facilitated writing workshops at Story Studio Chicago, New Trier Extension, Off Campus Writers Workshop and Ragdale.  Ellen also works privately with people on varying writing projects.

She has presented a number of fascinating workshops on writing the Jewish journey and the ethical will at local synagogues, and she helped launch a blog at Beth Emet: the Free Synagogue titled, Torat Chayeinu: Our Stories, Our Journeys


Thread: A Literary Magazine

We want to congratulate our friend and neighbor Ellen Blum Barish on the launch of her online brainchild, “Thread: A Literary Magazine.” It can be found at The launch was held at a packed Curt’s Cafe in Evanston last Wednesday evening, where nine writers read their personal essays to the assembled. I was so happy to be there and personally witness the magic that a good story by the reader sparks with an attentive audience. Ellen, a highly talented author, writing coach and teacher, sincerely hopes that both new and seasoned writers participate in this new and exciting online forum. I know at some point I will be. I’m also pleased to announce that Ellen will be the featured author at the Chicago Jewish Authors Literary Series at Max and Benny’s on the evening of February 23 starting at 7:00.

Roberta Dietzen Featured at Chicago Jewish Authors Series on May 5th

Roberta Dietzen, a North Shore author, will be the next featured speaker at the Chicago Jewish Authors Literary Series. She will present at Max and Benny’s Restaurant on Monday evening, May 5, starting at 7:00 pm. Come early and have dinner before the event. Ms. Dietzen’s new book, “Gypsy Music Street,” is a memoir; a family history about love, loss and the endless ramifications of the Holocaust through the generations that followed. The story delves into what it means to be a child of immigrants, a caregiver for an aged parent, and the occasionally exasperating mother/daughter relationship that will resonate with many readers. After her mother’s death, the author embraced her mother’s dream of seeing the town of her birth and youth just one more time. She made an extraordinary journey to Hungary and Ukraine to explore her family history. “Gypsy Music Street” is available in print or as an ebook on Amazon. If you plan to attend, contact me, the event coordinator, at   

Author Ronald Balson at Max and Benny’s on January 13

Ronald Balson, the author of the novel “Once We Were Brothers,” is the next featured speaker at the Max and Benny’s Chicago Jewish Authors Literary Series on Monday evening, January 13 at 7:00 pm. Max and Benny’s is located at 461 Waukegan Road in Northbrook. This amazing novel’s narrative interweaves between contemporary Chicago and Holocaust-era Poland. It’a a remarkable tale of one man’s courage and perseverance, and the ultimate triumph of good over evil. I am the organizer of this event, so email me at or comment on the blog if you are planning to attend.