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Book Discussions

Sunday, July 14, 2024 8 Tammuz 5784

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Past Sessions
Sunday, May 19, 2024 11 Iyyar 5784 - 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Sunday, March 3, 2024 23 Adar I 5784 - 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Sunday, January 7, 2024 26 Tevet 5784 - 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Sunday, November 12, 2023 28 Cheshvan 5784 - 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Sunday, September 10, 2023 24 Elul 5783 - 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Sunday, June 25, 2023 6 Tammuz 5783 - 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

PLEASE: RSVP and let us know if you plan to come. Hope to see you at an upcoming book discussion!

January - Fiction
When the Angels Left the Old Country, by Sacha Lamb (408 pages)

queer immigrant fairytale about individual purpose, the fluid nature of identity, and the power of love to change and endure.  Uriel the angel and Little Ash (short for Ashmedai) are the only two supernatural creatures in their shtetl (which is so tiny, it doesn't have a name other than Shtetl). The angel and the demon have been studying together for centuries, but pogroms and the search for a new life have drawn all the young people from their village to America. When one of those young emigrants goes missing, Uriel and Little Ash set off to find her.  Along the way the angel and demon encounter humans in need of their help, including Rose Cohen, whose best friend (and the love of her life) has abandoned her to marry a man, and Malke Shulman, whose father died mysteriously on his way to America. But there are obstacles ahead of them as difficult as what they’ve left behind. Medical exams (and demons) at Ellis Island. Corrupt officials, cruel mob bosses, murderers, poverty. The streets are far from paved with gold.

(Stonewall Book Award Winner; Sydney Taylor Award Winner; Michael L. Printz Honor Book; National Jewish Book Award Finalist; AudioFile Earphones Award Winner; BEST OF THE YEAR by NPR, New York Public Library, Kirkus)


March - Non-Fiction
Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza, by Adina Hoffman (304 pages)

Sacred Trash tells the remarkable story of the Cairo Geniza—a synagogue repository for worn-out texts that turned out to contain the most vital cache of Jewish manuscripts ever discovered.  This account about buried communal treasure weaves together unforgettable portraits of Solomon Schechter and the other modern heroes responsible for the collection’s rescue with explorations of the medieval documents themselves—letters and poems, wills and marriage contracts, Bibles, money orders, fiery dissenting religious tracts, fashion-conscious trousseaux lists, prescriptions, petitions, and mysterious magical charms. Presenting a pan­oramic view of almost a thousand years of vibrant Mediterranean Judaism, Adina Hoffman and Peter Cole bring contemporary readers into the heart of this little-known trove, whose contents have rightly been dubbed “the Living Sea Scrolls.” Part biography, part meditation on the supreme value the Jewish people has long placed in the written word, Sacred Trash is above all a gripping tale of adventure and redemption. 

May - Fiction
The Postcard, by Anne Berest (464 pages) (lots of "holds" at the library)

Anne Berest’s The Postcard is a vivid portrait of twentieth-century Parisian intellectual and artistic life, an enthralling investigation into family secrets, and poignant tale of a Jewish family devastated by the Holocaust and partly restored through the power of storytelling.  The family's journey involves a flight from Russia following the revolution, to Latvia, Palestine, and Paris. What emerges is a moving saga that shatters long-held certainties about Anne’s family, her country, and herself. (Winner of the Choix Goncourt Prize)

July - Fiction
Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, by Gabrielle Zevin (416 pages) (lots of "holds" at the library)

Sam and Sadie—two college friends, often in love, but never lovers—become creative partners in a dazzling and intricately imagined world of video game design, where success brings them fame, joy, tragedy, duplicity, and, ultimately, a kind of immortality. It is a love story, but not one you have read before.  Spanning thirty years, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Venice Beach, California, and lands in between and far beyond, Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow examines the multifarious nature of identity, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play, and above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love. (NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER) 

September - Memoir
Shanda: A Memoir of Shame and Secrecy, by Letty Cottin Pogrebin (432 pages)

The word “shanda” is defined as shame or disgrace in Yiddish. This book, Shanda, tells the story of three generations of complicated, intense 20th-century Jews for whom the desire to fit in and the fear of public humiliation either drove their aspirations or crushed their spirit.  In her deeply engaging, astonishingly candid memoir, author, activist and founding editor of Ms. Magazine Letty Cottin Pogrebin exposes the fiercely-guarded lies and intricate cover-ups woven by dozens of members of her extended family. Beginning with her own long-suppressed secret, the story spirals through the hidden lives of her parents and relatives—revealing the truth about their origins, personal traumas, marital misery, abandoned children, religious transgressions, sexual identity, radical politics, and supposedly embarrassing illnesses. While unmasking their charades and disguises, Pogrebin also showcases her family’s remarkable talent for reinvention in a narrative that is, by turns, touching, searing, and surprisingly universal.


November - Fiction
Kantika, by Elizabeth Graver (304 pages) (some "holds" at the library)

A kaleidoscopic portrait of one family’s displacement across four countries, Kantika―“song” in Ladino―follows the joys and losses of Rebecca Cohen, feisty daughter of the Sephardic elite of early 20th-century Istanbul. When the Cohens lose their wealth and are forced to move to Barcelona and start anew, Rebecca fashions a life and self from what comes her way―a failed marriage, the need to earn a living, but also passion, pleasure and motherhood. Moving from Spain to Cuba to New York for an arranged second marriage, she faces her greatest challenge―her disabled stepdaughter, Luna, whose feistiness equals her own and whose challenges pit new family against old.  Exploring identity, place and exile, Kantika also reveals how the female body―in work, art and love―serves as a site of both suffering and joy. A haunting, inspiring meditation on the tenacity of women, this lush, lyrical novel from Elizabeth Graver celebrates the insistence on seizing beauty and grabbing hold of one’s one and only life.

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Wed, May 29 2024 21 Iyyar 5784