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Jewish Studies Sunday Book & Discussion Group

What we are reading!

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Jan. 21                      Feb. 18                   Mar. 25                     April 15

WHAT WE ARE READING!

January 21, 2018
Not in God’s Name by Jonathan Sacks
Facilitated by Dr. Elaine Goodfriend, CSUN Jewish Studies

Drawing on arguments from evolutionary psychology, game theory, history, philosophy, ethics and theology, Sacks shows how a tendency to violence can subvert even the most compassionate of religions. Through a close reading of key biblical texts at the heart of the Abrahamic faiths, Sacks then challenges those who claim that religion is intrinsically a cause of violence, and argues that theology must become part of the solution if it is not to remain at the heart of the problem.This book is a rebuke to all those who kill in the name of the God of life, wage war in the name of the God of peace, hate in the name of the God of love, and practice cruelty in the name of the God of compassion.
For the sake of humanity and the free world, the time has come for people of all faiths and none to stand together and declare: Not in God’s Name.

February 18, 2018
Jews and Words, by Amos Oz and Fania Oz-Salzberger
Facilitated by Rabbi Zachary Zysman, LMU
Campus Rabbi and Director of Jewish Student Life

Why are words so important to so many Jews? Novelist Amos Oz and historian Fania Oz-Salzberger roam the gamut of Jewish history to explain the integral relationship of Jews and words. Through a blend of storytelling and scholarship, conversation and argument, father and daughter tell the tales behind Judaism’s most enduring names, adages, disputes, texts, and quips. These words, they argue, compose the chain connecting Abraham with the Jews of every subsequent generation.
Full of learning, lyricism, and humor, Jews and Words offers an extraordinary tour of the words at the heart of Jewish culture and extends a hand to the reader, any reader, to join the conversation.

March 25, 2018 - FILM SCREENING
Swimming In Auschwitz

Facilitated by Dr. Margarete Feinstein, LMU Jewish Studies
Six women Holocaust survivors, currently living in Los Angeles, bear witness to the female experience of life in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps. director, Jon Kean (2009) 59 mins.

April 15, 2018
Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss
Facilitated by Dr. Monica
Osborne, a writer and scholar of Jewish literature and culture.
One of America's most important novelists (New York Times), the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of The History of Love, conjures an achingly beautiful and breathtakingly original novel about personal transformation that interweaves the stories of two disparate individuals, an older lawyer and a young novelist, whose transcendental search leads them to the same Israeli desert. Jules Epstein, a man whose drive, avidity, and outsized personality have, for sixty-eight years, been a force to be reckoned with, is undergoing a metamorphosis. In the wake of his parents' deaths, his divorce from his wife of more than thirty years, and his retirement from the New York legal firm where he was a partner, he's felt an irresistible need to give away his possessions, alarming his children and perplexing the executor of his estate. With the last of his wealth, he travels to Israel, with a nebulous plan to do something to honor his parents. In Tel Aviv, he is sidetracked by a charismatic American rabbi planning a reunion for the descendants of King David who insists that Epstein is part of that storied dynastic line. He also meets the rabbi's beautiful daughter who convinces Epstein to become involved in her own project, a film about the life of David being shot in the desert, with life-changing consequences. But Epstein isn't the only seeker embarking on a metaphysical journey that dissolves his sense of self, place, and history. Leaving her family in Brooklyn, a young, well-known novelist arrives at the Tel Aviv Hilton where she has stayed every year since birth. Troubled by writer's block and a failing marriage, she hopes that the hotel can unlock a dimension of reality, and her own perception of life, that has been closed off to her. But when she meets a retired literature professor who proposes a project she can't turn down, she's drawn into a mystery that alters her life in ways she could never have imagined. Bursting with life and humor, Forest Dark is a profound, mesmerizing novel of metamorphosis and self-realization, of looking beyond all that is visible towards the infinite.