Jewish Book Week breaks records once again

By Marcus Dysch, March 11, 2010

The organisers of Jewish Book Week are celebrating a successful festival, despite the challenges posed by the economy.

The nine-day event ended on Sunday with a sell-out debate on the relationship between Israel and the diaspora.

Guardian and JC writer Jonathan Freedland chaired the lively session with panellists Daniel Levy, an adviser to American advocacy group J Street; human rights specialist Francesca Klug; and Professor David Newman of Ben-Gurion University.

Ticket sales for the festival remained at a similar level to last year's record-breaking 13,000 seats.

Book Week director Geraldine D'Amico said the most popular sessions had included Sunday's finale and the opening "Purim Spiel" evening which featured an all-star cast including David Schneider, Simon Schama and Kathy Lette.

Ms D'Amico said: "The book sale by Blackwell's was much smaller than people are used to, but there's an economic crisis, bookshops are closing and it's impossible today to ask anyone to create a bookshop for just 10 days with thousands of pounds of stock. It's sad, but that's the way it is.

"We have big plans again for next year."

Recordings of most sessions will be available on the Book Week website as audio podcasts or videos. Visit

Last updated: 3:39pm, March 11 2010