Hyde Park resident to discuss new memoir at Rodfei Zedek

By Wendell Hutson
Contributing Writer

Hyde Park resident Annette Gendler will discuss her book “Jumping Over Shadows” and lead a discussion “On Becoming a Jew in PostWorld War II Germany” at a free forum open to the public at 1 p.m. on Monday, April 24, at the Congregation Rodfei Zedek, 5200 S. Hyde Park Blvd.

Gendler, 53, who is the mother of three children, ages 21, 19 and 16, has lived in Hyde Park for 29 years and works as a part-time communications officer for the Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School in Hyde Park. She was also the 2014-15 Writer in Residence at the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park.

In 1985 she met her husband in Germany, who was Jewish, and during that time it was uncommon for a Jewish person and a German person to marry. By doing so she followed her great-aunt’s footsteps, who married a Jewish man in Czechoslovakia before World War II.

Gendler said her new memoir book, “Jumping Over Shadows,” took her 10 years to complete and while it is her first novel, it won’t be her last.

“This book is about a German Jewish love that overcame the shadows of the past,” said Gendler, who is Jewish and whose in-laws are Holocaust survivors. “My mom is an American but my father is German.”

She recently completed a children’s book and said she is now shopping it around to publishers. Ultimately, Gendler said she plans to move into historical fiction writing and would love to become a full-time author one day.

“It’s [children’s book] ready to go and the book is based on one of the characters in Jumping Over Shadows,” Gendler said. “The book talks about what my mother-in-law went through as a child during the Holocaust.”


Aside from being an author, Gendler teaches advance memoir writing once a month at Story Studio Chicago, a writing center in the Lakeview neighborhood.

When she is not writing, Gendler said she likes to attend soccer games or catch one on TV.

“I love soccer,” She said. “I went to the World Cup game in Brazil and I go to Chicago Fire games too.”

She also likes to travel and said she often goes to Israel and Germany to visit family.

She Writes Press published the 213-page paperback available for $16.95. The book is available on amazon.com and local bookstores including 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th St. To learn more about Gendler visit annettegendler.com.