For Imme­di­ate Release

New York, NY, Sep­tem­ber 5, 2023—Over the past week, Jew­ish Book Coun­cil (JBC) learned that one of our Net­work authors, Rachel Bean­land, author of The House Is on Fire, was dis­in­vit­ed from a pre­vi­ous­ly con­firmed event at the Man­del JCC in Flori­da. Rachel’s book specif­i­cal­ly focus­es on the Rich­mond (VA) The­atre fire of 1811. On August 14, Rachel was asked by a JCC rep­re­sen­ta­tive to share the type of pre­sen­ta­tion [she was] plan­ning to give.” Rachel offered that The House Is on Fire is set in 1811 Rich­mond, [so] any pre­sen­ta­tion [she gives] is like­ly to address slav­ery and the rights of women.” The next com­mu­ni­ca­tion from the JCC on August 30 can­celed Rachel’s sched­uled appear­ance, stat­ing that the deci­sion is very much affect­ed by the cur­rent polit­i­cal cli­mate here in Flori­da.” On Sep­tem­ber 4, the JCC post­ed an apol­o­gy on Insta­gram, say­ing the insti­tu­tion was deeply sor­ry for what our JCC com­mu­ni­cat­ed with Rachel, as it does not reflect the val­ues we stand for.”

Although dis­mayed by the ini­tial deci­sion by the JCC to dis­in­vite Rachel, Jew­ish Book Coun­cil is heart­ened by this apol­o­gy and com­mends the JCC for pub­licly dis­avow­ing its pre­vi­ous action. JBC hopes, though, that as a result of this inci­dent, Rachel will be rein­vit­ed to speak at the JCC in the capac­i­ty in which she was pre­vi­ous­ly confirmed.

Jew­ish Book Council’s mis­sion is to sup­port a mul­ti­tude of peo­ple – includ­ing Rachel and oth­er authors – as well as orga­ni­za­tions com­mit­ted to writ­ing, read­ing, dia­logue, the exchange of ideas and their free expres­sion. Just as Abra­ham opened his tent to wel­come the stranger, we open a book to widen our understanding. 

The bond between JBC and its arts-pre­sent­ing part­ners, writ­ers and read­ers, is built on a shared com­mu­ni­ty and val­ues. JBC stands by all of those who share in this sacred trust, and know that inclu­sion and not exclu­sion is what gives both read­ing and writ­ing a high purpose.

JBC is a non­prof­it ded­i­cat­ed to edu­cat­ing, enrich­ing, and strength­en­ing the com­mu­ni­ty through Jew­ish lit­er­a­ture. Each year, JBC reach­es well over half a mil­lion read­ers with its vibrant dig­i­tal pres­ence, in addi­tion to work­ing with over 270 tour­ing authors, cre­at­ing resources for over 2,500 book clubs, facil­i­tat­ing over 1,400 events, pub­lish­ing Paper Brigade, and pre­sent­ing the Nation­al Jew­ish Book Awards and Natan Notable Books.

To learn more about JBC and its work, please vis­it www​.jew​ish​book​coun​cil​.org.


Elisa Spun­gen Bild­ner, President
Joy Green­berg, Co-President
Nao­mi Fire­stone-Teeter, Exec­u­tive Director