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Jewish Studies Sunday Book & Discussion Group

What we are reading!,204,203,200_.jpg Poster

Sept. 10                       Oct. 15                   Nov. 19                      Dec. 3


ALL MEETINGS WILL BE HELD AT 2:00-3:30pm, Von der Ahe Family Suite, 3rd floor of Hannon Library.

September 10, 2017
After Abel and Other Stories by Michal Lemberger

In After Abel and Other Stories, author and scholar Michal Lemberger recreates the lives of nine Biblical women. In telling their tales, she enriches the voices of well-known women like Miriam, and brings out from silence those less honored. Most impressive about Lemberger's stories is her ability to place the women in their time. She does not aggrandize them or turn them into heroines. Rather, she tries to portray their lives in such a way as to give them the opportunity to explain why they took the actions that they are noted for in the Bible. It is refreshing that her stories include a wide range of biblical women—not only familiar Jewish heroines such as Miriam and Hannah, but also Hagar, Yael the Kenite, and Zeresh from the Book of Esther.

October 15, 2017
Hope, A Tragedy, by Sholem Auslander
Facilitated by Dr. Audrey Thacker, CSUN English & Jewish Studies

Hope: A Tragedy is a hilarious and haunting examination of the burdens and abuse of history, propelled with unstoppable rhythm and filled with existential musings and mordant wit. It is a comic and compelling story of the hopeless longing to be free of those pasts that haunt our every present.
The rural town of Stockton, New York, is famous for nothing: no one was born there, no one died there, nothing of any historical import at all has ever happened there, which is why Solomon Kugel, like other urbanites fleeing their pasts and histories, decided to move his wife and young son there.
To begin again. To start anew. But it isn’t quite working out that way for Kugel…His ailing mother stubbornly holds on to life, and won’t stop reminiscing about the Nazi concentration camps she never actually suffered through. To complicate matters further, some lunatic is burning down farmhouses just like the one Kugel bought, and when, one night, he discovers history—a living, breathing, thought-to-be-dead specimen of history—hiding upstairs in his attic, bad quickly becomes worse.

November 19, 2017
Henna House by Nomi Eve
Facilitated by Rabbi Joshua Kalev, Congregation Tikvat Jacob Beth Torah

This vivid saga begins in Yemen in 1920. Adela Damari’s parents’ health is failing as they desperately seek a future husband for their young daughter, who is in danger of becoming adopted by the local Muslim community if she is orphaned. With no likely marriage prospects, Adela’s situation looks dire—until she meets two cousins from faraway cities: a boy with whom she shares her most treasured secret, and a girl who introduces her to the powerful rituals of henna. Ultimately, Adela’s life journey brings her old and new loves, her true calling, and a new life as she is transported to Israel as part of Operation On Wings of Eagles.
Rich, evocative, and enthralling, Henna House is an intimate family portrait interwoven with the traditions of the Yemenite Jews and the history of the Holocaust and Israel. This sensuous tale of love, loss, betrayal, forgiveness—and the dyes that adorn the skin and pierce the heart—will captivate readers until the very last page.


December 3, 2017 - FILM SCREENING
Torn (
Facilitated by Rabbi Mark Diamond, LMU Jewish Studies
Can one be a Catholic priest and an Observant Jew at the same time?

12 years after he was ordained as a Polish Catholic priest, Romuald Waszkinel discovers that he was born to Jewish parents, and that his name was Jacob Weksler.  The film follows his amazing journey: from conducting mass in a church in Poland to life as an observant Jew in a religious kibbutz in Israel. Romuald is torn between two identities, between being Romuald Waszkinel or Jacob Weksler. He is unable to renounce either, and therefore is rejected by both religions and the state of Israel. He is required to choose.