One Night at 26th Jerusalem Book Fair

The Jerusalem International Book Fair has been around for 50 years.

The last one held at the Jerusalem International Convention Center

 was very impressive,  so it was no surprise to once again see 

Jerusalem Book Fair photo, Jerusalem photo tours

the huge halls filled with books and people.

Jerusalem book fair pictures, Jerusalem photo walk

Not just English and Hebrew books, but magazines and digital texts,

Jerusalem book fair photo, Jerusalem photos

from countries and languages all around the world.

Jerusalem book fair picture

The variety of presenters

Jerusalem book fair photo, Jerusalem picture

and visitors was, as always, vast and impressive.

And as in the past, there were many literary cafes and lectures,

all open to public and free of charge.

This year the interest in one event stood out from all the rest.

Jerusalem book fair,

Hundreds of people were not allowed up the stairs

Jerusalem book fair image crowd

and even a few who did get up were stopped by another red barrier.

If this had been a soccer match or concert, there would have been a riot,

as those who arrived on time were so angry not to be allowed in.

But this event was called “The Leader, The Rabbi and The Professor” 

in honor of the publication of “Radical Responsibility:

Celebrating the Thought of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks”

and featured Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom Lord Jonathan Sacks,

Professor Moshe Halbertal of the Hebrew University, 

and Rabbi Dr. Binyamin Lau of Kehillat Ramban in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem book fair speakers

First speaker was Rabbi Lau, followed by

Professor Halbertal, seated on the far left, both of whom spoke in English.

Chief Rabbi Sacks in Jerusalem, photo rabbi, Jerusalem book fair

So when Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks began in Hebrew,

the crowd was a bit surprised, but he soon switched to English too.

Jerusalem book fair crowd

And what a crowd it was, as there was not an empty chair.

Jerusalem book fair image

Interesting was the number of young people who came early and got seats.

young boy watching video

This young man in the back of the room found a comfortable spot,

but did not seem too interested in the speakers and did not stay for long.

Jerusalem book fair

So to my friends who were outside and did not have a press pass to get in:

Look at the sea of people who arrived before you and did get in.

Jerusalem book fair crowd

The room was hot and crowded, but

 people were smiling and laughing as Rabbi Sacks finished his remarks.

Jerusalem book fair image

Some in the audience ran out as soon as possible,

but many crowded around to get photos

Chief rabbi Sacks at book fair

and Rabbi Sacks’ autograph in their newly purchased book.

Jerusalem book fair

On the way out, Professor Halbertal

Jerusalem book fair photo

and Rabbi Lau were stopped by well-wishers.

I am not sure if the large crowd came to hear a free lecture,

the Chief Rabbi, Rav Lau or the Professor or all or none of the above.

Jerusalem book fair photo

But many of them stood around afterwards and bought books.

So even though many people say that the written word is dead,

 books are alive and well and thriving in Jerusalem, Israel.

Was this book launch a major success,

that is still up for debate.

However, for all those denied entry, the video is out and here it is:

Updated: February 26, 2013

Books, More Books and Authors

While eulogies for volumes with paper pages are being composed,

and Borders goes chapter 11,

 the 25th Jerusalem International Book Fair opened on Sunday night

 at Binyanei Ha’uma, the Jerusalem International Convention Center.

Very strong rains with thunder and lightning, a rarity in Jerusalem, 

  welcomed author Ian McEwan who was awarded the Jerusalem Prize

at an invitation-only event.

Monday morning the convention center doors opened to the public,

where one exhibition hall

after another

and another 

and another 

were filled with over 100,000 books from more than 30 countries.

Along with Hebrew and English, there is plenty of Russian

and Esperanto. 

 There are university publications

to children’s books,

and a chance for everyone to find

something interesting–

even Obama’s Secrets.

Tuesday at a symposium on E-publishing, Google books was one topic

presented to a large crowd by an international panel led by Yossi Vardi.

All week a Literary Cafe featuring Israeli and foreign writers is featured.

All day long there are varied discussions in a variety of languages.

One impressive example of the dynamic of the presentations:

after a well attended panel discussion led by Israeli editor Noa Manheim,

 Czech Republic author, Tomas Zmeskal of “Love Letter in Cuneiform Script”

speaks with an audience member.

Some people will stay inside at the fair from 10:00am to 10:00pm all week, but

it is doubtful that the Chilean miners who were trapped under ground

and arrive in Israel today for a visit

will be taken to a book fair, no matter how large or popular.

Hope they are used to the sunshine by now,

as spring temperatures and sun are here, at least for a short time,

and the scene of the Old City walls is also not to be missed.