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Jewish Book Month 2016

Jewish Book Month 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — November 18, 2016

For more information contact:

Betsy Gomberg | 312.322.1756

Fast-paced, fearless new novel by Irina Reyn chosen as
Jewish Community ONE BOOK selection

To mark Jewish Book Month, the author will make
two area appearances on Sunday, December 11

(Chicago) Chicago’s Jewish community marks Jewish Book Month with One Book | One Community, in which a single book is selected as the focus for a series of activities. This year’s selection is The Imperial Wife by Irina Reyn. As in previous years, the One Book initiative is spearheaded by Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership.

The Imperial Wife, Irina Reyn’s second novel, intertwines the stories of two ambitious immigrants. One is a rising Jewish/Russian art specialist at an international auction house in present-day New York. The other is the future Catherine the Great as she maneuvers through the 18th-century Russian court. It is notable and relevant that both are capable women grappling with positions of power, a topic that hasn’t lost its relevancy in the more than three centuries since Catherine lived.

This fast-paced book unpacks a trove of topics that will resonate with readers:  the impact of success on marriage, the privileges and obligations of great wealth, and the advantages and disadvantages of being outside the mainstream in terms of faith, gender, nationality, identity, community, and career.

The Imperial Wife — released earlier this year — is available in hardcover and ebook.

Reyn’s first novel, What Happened to Anna K., won the Goldberg Prize for Jewish Fiction by Emerging Writers. Like Tanya, one of the characters in The Imperial Wife, Reyn immigrated to the United States from Moscow when she was seven years old. She has been writing about the experience — in one way or another — ever since.

Irina Reyn will make two area appearances, both on Sunday, December 11. She will be speaking, taking questions from the audience, and signing books at both locations.

The first of Irina Reyn’s appearances takes place at the Bernard Weinger JCC in Northbrook at 10 am. The second takes place at Spertus Institute at 4 pm. At the Spertus event, Reyn’s presentation will be proceeded by tea from Russian Tea Time and a performance of Russian music by pianist Yana Reznik. Tickets to the author events are $5. Advance tickets, which recommended, can be purchased online at or by phone at 312.322.1773.

Opportunities for readers to participate in book discussions take place in locations across the greater Chicago area. A listing is available at, along with discussion questions and a free excerpt of The Imperial Wife. Discussions are led by Rachel Kamin, director of the Director of the Joseph and Mae Gray Cultural & Learning Center at North Suburban Synagogue Beth El and the Spertus One Book I One Community Book Discussion Facilitator.

The Bernard Weinger JCC is located at 300 Revere Drive in Northbrook.

Spertus Institute is located at 610 S. Michigan Avenue. Discount parking is available for $8 at Grant Park South Garage, entrance on Michigan between Van Buren and Adams, with Spertus validation.


Jewish Book Month is an annual event on the American Jewish calendar dedicated to the celebration of Jewish books. It is observed during the month preceding Hanukkah, which this year begins at sundown on Saturday, December 24. 

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Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership offers dynamic learning opportunities, rooted in
Jewish wisdom and culture and open to all. Graduate programs and workshops train future leaders and
engage individuals in exploration of Jewish life. Public programs—including films, speakers, seminars, and concerts—take place at the Institute's Michigan Avenue facility, in the Chicago suburbs, and online.

Spertus Institute is a partner with the Jewish United Fund in serving our community.

The Russian Jewish Division of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago is a community partner for this initiative. JUF News is the media sponsor.

The Imperial WifeThe Imperial Wife

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Irina ReynAuthor Irina Reyn
Photo by Aslan Habib Chalom.

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