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Jewish Studies Sunday Book & Discussion Group

RSVP Please!

The Sunday Book and Discussion is FREE. However, to make sure we have room, please contact Rhonda Rosen at rrosen@lmu.edu or 310-338-4584.  The bookgroup meets on Level 3 of the William H. Hannon Library.

What we are reading

Sunday, September 18, 2011 (2:00-3:30PM) - The Preservationist by David Maine
Discussion led by Dr. Elaine Goodfriend, Jewish Studies Dept.

Visitations from God are a mixed blessing for Noah and his family in Maine's spirited, imaginative debut. Noah (aka "Noe") may have pissed himself upon hearing God's instructions to build an arc, but he sets to the task without delay. He crosses the desert to buy lumber from giants; his eldest, Sem, fetches Cham, the son with shipbuilding skills; Sem's wife, Bera, and Cham's wife, Ilya, gather the animals; and Japheth, Noe's youngest, helps, too, in between goofing off and "rutting" with wife Mirn. And, of course, there's "the wife," 600-year-old Noe's once-teenage bride, who takes everything "Himself" (that's Noe, not God) dishes out with time-tested practicality. Wildly different in temperament, age and provenance, these characters, each telling part of the story, help create a brilliant kaleidoscopic analysis of the situation: the neighbors who ridicule Noe and clan; the inner doubts and shifting alliances; the varying feelings toward God, whose presence is always felt and sometimes resented. The flood comes as a relief from the wondering ("who is crazier: the crazy man or the people who put their faith in him?"), but hardship soon follows. Though the ending is already written, Maine enlivens every step toward it with small surprises.

Sunday, October 16, 2011 (2:00-3:30PM) - The Prophet's Wife by Milton Steinberg
Discussion led by Dr. Monica Osborne, English Dept.

The Lord said unto Hosea: Go, take unto thee a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry; for the land doth commit great harlotry, departing from the Lord.
HOSEA 1:2

From the moment young Hosea saw the maiden Gomer dancing at the Festival of Booths, he loved her. It was the most beautiful vision he had ever seen, and he would never forget it, despite the scornful laughter of his older brother Iddo, despite the lack of piety of Gomer s household, and despite her admission that she did not love him.

And so Hosea marries Gomer, in a troubled land where idol-worshiping neighbors offer up their daughters purity in the sacred groves, where arrogant high priests will stop at nothing to silence troublesome prophets, and where the blood of brothers can be the strongest bond, or the most destructive.

When Milton Steinberg died in 1950, he left one manuscript tantalizingly unfinished. Like As a Driven Leaf, it is grand in scope, while told as a compelling personal tale. Set against a backdrop of unrest in ancient Israel, The Prophet s Wife is a stirring portrait of the biblical prophet Hosea, his passionate and free-spirited wife Gomer, and a people seduced by the lures of power and idolatry to betray their faith.

Sunday, November 13, 2011 (2:00-3:30PM)  - The Book of Genesis Illustrated, by R. Crumb
Discussion led by Prof. Michael Brodsky, Art Dept.
Far removed from the satirical reimagining some might expect from the father of underground comix, Crumb's long-awaited take on the first book of the Bible presents the artist's own sensitive, visually intense reflections. Where most visual adaptations edit down their prose sources, Crumb has, strikingly, included every word of the Book of Genesis within his first major book-length work. His humanistic visual response to this religious text imbues even briefly mentioned biblical characters with unique faces and attitudes, and his renderings of the book's more storied personalities draw out momentous emotions inspired by the book's inherent drama. Throughout, Genesis is a virtual portfolio of Crumb's career-long effort to instill fluid cartoon drawing with carefully rendered lifelike detail. Some might miss Crumb's full stylistic and tonal range, but the source's narrative sweep includes moments of sex and scandal that recall the artist's more notorious comics. Indeed, this monumental visual adaptation's basic strategy may subvert simply by demanding a reconsideration of its source, one that continues to motivate the complex cultural struggles that have, for decades, preoccupied this master cartoonist's landmark work.

Sunday, December 4, 2011 (2:00-3:30PM)  - The Day of the Locust, by Nathanael West
Discussion led by Dr. Nick Rosenthal, History Dept.

During his years in Hollywood West wrote The Day of the Locust, a study of the fragility of illusion. Many critics consider it with F. Scott Fitzgerald's unfinished masterpiece The Last Tycoon (1941) among the best novels written about Hollywood. Set in Hollywood during the Depression, the narrator, Tod Hackett, comes to California in the hope of a career as a painter for movie backdrops but soon joins the disenchanted second-rate actors, technicians, laborers and other characters living on the fringes of the movie industry. Tod tries to seduce Faye Greener; she is seventeen. Her protector is an old man named Homer Simpson. Tod finds work on a film called prophetically “The Burning of Los Angeles,” and the dark comic tale ends in an apocalyptic mob riot outside a Hollywood premiere, as the system runs out of control.

Coming to the Hannon Library

The William H. Hannon Library is located on the Westchester campus of Loyola Marymount University. The main entrance to the Westchester campus is located off Lincoln Boulevard at LMU Drive, just south of Jefferson Boulevard.  The address is:

One LMU Drive
Los Angeles, California 90045

Parking is free.  A parking pass for the day may be obtained at the entrance kiosk on LMU Drive.  The security guard will give instructions where to park your car. 
Need local driving directions