The MJCCA is pleased to welcome the legendary No. 1 New York Times best-selling author Nelson DeMille, presenting his new novel, “The Cuban Affair” on Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m. Appearing in conversation with DeMille is special guest Alan P. Gross, Former Cuban hostage and economic development and community engagement advisor.
Before his imprisonment in Castro’s Cuba, Gross spent more than 35 years traveling the globe as an international economic development and community engagement advisor on behalf of private clients, NGOs, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), an organization dedicated to administering civilian foreign aid and promoting democracy around the world. Gross helped fight poverty and oppression by developing projects to help people in more than 50 countries around the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Gross’s personal and professional communities were shocked when, in December 2009, he was arrested by Cuban officials who wrongly accused him of working for American intelligence services. He was actually working on a humanitarian project to improve wireless broadband internet access for small communities across Cuba, with a special emphasis on helping Cuba’s small Jewish community. In March 2011, Gross was wrongfully convicted for “acts against the territorial integrity of the state,” and he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. During his captivity, Gross spent 23 hours a day confined to a small Cuban jail cell, almost completely isolated from the outside world. His physical, mental, and emotional health were continually challenged as he slowly began to wonder whether he would ever return home alive.
Gross’s wife, Judy—along with Jewish, interfaith and humanitarian groups worldwide—fought for his freedom. Finally, on Dec. 17, 2014, after being unjustly imprisoned for 1,841 days, the Cuban government released Gross on humanitarian grounds. Gross presently divides his time between Washington, DC and Tel Aviv.
Ticket prices for this event: $10-$15. A book signing will follow the event. For information, call the MJCCA Box Office at 678-812-4005, or visit atlantajcc.org/bookfestival.
This Prologue to the Book Festival events will help kick off the 26th edition of the Book Festival of the MJCCA, scheduled for Nov. 4–20. Tickets for the entire 2017 Book Festival lineup go on sale Sept. 1.