The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan’s Books That Changed My Life Festival Returns January 2024

Tickets on sale now for a two-month celebration of the power and impact of books.

Books That Changed My Life Festival, an innovative celebration honoring the transformative influence of literature, is set to captivate audiences in a vibrant two-month festival from January 4–February 29, 2024. The initiative, presented by the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan’s Lambert Center for Arts + Ideas, offers a rich tapestry of events and activities inspired by beloved literary works, including author conversations, workshops, storytime, a gallery exhibition, musical performances, theater, film, and more. 

The 2024 festival begins on the evening of January 4 with a reception honoring the return of the Festival’s popular interactive pop-up library hosted by The Laurie M. Tisch Gallery. The festival continues through February 29 with a dynamic collection of events:

  • Author conversations featuring Ruth Reichl and Nancy Silverton in honor of Silverton’s book The Cookie That Changed My Life, and the JCC’s CEO, Rabbi Joanna Samuels in conversation with prolific author Nicole Krauss. Krauss’ book To Be A Man was named one of Oprah Magazine‘s “20 Best Books of 2020” and Time’s “100 Must-Read Books of 2020,” among other accolades. Author Lauren Grodstein will also join us to speak with powerhouse literary agent Julie Barer about her new book, We Must Not Think Of Ourselves, which is the December 2023 Read with Jenna Book Club Pick.
  • Storytime in the JCC’s lobby with Wonderspark Puppets, a live performance in Hebrew of the beloved Israeli children’s book Room For Rent with MusicTalks.
  • Preview of The Jewish Food Society’s new cookbook in the form of a cooking class and discussion.
  • Renowned comedian Judy Gold will lead a discussion on the Jewish “secrets” of our favorite comic book superheroes in an evening entitled How Heroes Schmooze: Unveiling the Superhero Jewish Secrets.
  • Broadway actor and music director David Loud hosts an open house focused on his book Facing the Music: A Broadway Memoir, with performances centered around his time working with legendary composer Stephen Sondheim in the original production of Merrily We Roll Along

Performances by Sunset Circus, Parallel Exit’s circus troupe consisting of Cirque de Soleil and Big Apple Circus alums, who will present two literary-themed showcases suitable for ages one to 100.

Books That Changed My Life Festival is presented in partnership with The Strand Book Store and The Jewish Book Council, and is generously sponsored by The Harold Anfang Foundation, the Upper West Side Shlichut of The Jewish Agency for Israel, and UJA Federation of New York. Gallery exhibits and programs are made possible with the generous support of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. Additional support is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the generosity of individual donors.

For tickets and to explore the Books That Changed My Life Festival lineup of events, please visit

For Group Rates or VIP Access, please contact Liel Ben David, Program and Art Studios Manager, at

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