Book Club

Do you like to read?  Share your thoughts about the books you’re reading? Looking for a way to spend some time with your BTBJ friends and community? Join us at one or all of the the following sessions:  

Tuesday, November 27, 2018 - 7:00 pm

Introduction by Rabbi Roni Handler

Discussion led by Lisa Schwenderman

This book can be purchased on Amazon (use Amazon Smile to benefit BTBJ!)  or in the BTBJ office.  

“At age 30 Evan Moffic became the leader of a large congregation. He had great success. But he couldn't find happiness. Then he found a 2000-year-old prayer…He distills the "Eilu Devarim" an ancient prayer for happiness found in the Talmud into ten practices that empower us to thrive through setbacks, so nothing can hamper our happiness…

…Honor Those Who Gave You Life

… Be Kind

… Keep Learning

…Invite Others into Your Life

…Be There When Others Need You

…Celebrate Good Times

…Support Yourself and Others During Times of Loss

…Pray with Intention


…Look Inside and Commit…

Filled with relatable stories of real people, accessible commentary from contemporary psychologists, and warm humor, this rabbi of a new generation sheds light on an enduring prayer that captures the means and meaning of joyous living that will appeal to everyone"

Email Lisa at to participate.

Purchase Here

Sunday, February 10, 2019 - 10:00 am         

One Book One Jewish Community - Discussion and Brunch

BTBJ will be participating in the One Book, One Jewish Community Program this year.   In addition to our own Book Club review, we will be sharing information about community wide programming associated with the selection that we hope you will also enjoy. The book this year is The Last Watchman of Old Cairo by Michael David Lukas.

"Joseph, a literature student at Berkeley, is the son of a Jewish mother and a Muslim father. One day, a mysterious package arrives on his doorstep, pulling him into a mesmerizing adventure to uncover the tangled history that binds the two sides of his family. For generations, the men of the al-Raqb family have served as watchmen of the storied Ibn Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo, built at the site where the infant Moses was taken from the Nile. Joseph learns of his ancestor Ali, a Muslim orphan who nearly a thousand years earlier was entrusted as the first watchman of the synagogue and became enchanted by its legendary—perhaps magical—Ezra Scroll. The story of Joseph’s family is entwined with that of the British twin sisters Agnes and Margaret, who in 1897 depart their hallowed Cambridge halls on a mission to rescue sacred texts that have begun to disappear from the synagogue.

The Last Watchman of Old Cairo is a moving page-turner of a novel from acclaimed storyteller Michael David Lukas. This tightly woven multigenerational tale illuminates the tensions that have torn communities apart and the unlikely forces—potent magic, forbidden love—that boldly attempt to bridge that divide."

One Book One Jewish Community

OBOJC Kick Off

Author Interview

Author Podcast 

Purchase Here

Thursday, May 16, 2019

BTBJ’s Book Club with Rabbi Saul I. Grife

As A Driven Leaf

This is one of those books that I couldn’t set down from cover to cover.

In 1939, Rabbi Milton Steinberg wrote As A Driven Leaf, a historical novel based on the story of Rabbi Elisha ben Abuya who lived in 1st-2nd CE Palestine.  Over the course of his life, Elisha was greatly influenced by both Judaism and secular Hellenism, which gave rise to great conflicts in his mind and soul over the ultimate source of truth, justice and goodness.  The book is about Elisha’s lifetime journey that wove through intense periods of dedication in and out of Judaism and Hellenism.  His quest for certainty propels him from investing in one world or the other.  After turning from Judaism, he is excommunicated because of his heresy.  He never truly finds the one system or truth in which to completely believe.  Hence, the title “As a Driven Leaf” based on the Biblical words of Job when tormented he asks God, “Why do You hide Your face and treat me like an enemy?  Will You harass a driven leaf?” (Job 13:24-25)

Many of us are conflicted and torn over what principles to believe in that will serve us faithfully over the course of a lifetime, especially during moments of intense trial.  Our faith can be greatly affected by the presence of joys and sorrows that affect our lives as well as the lives of others.   As A Driven Leaf takes us through the journey of a man whose values and hopes are molded and shaken by tragedy and real life experiences.  This story promises to resonate in everyone who is looking for doctrines by which to live while we are confronted by life’s often unforeseen challenges.  I hope the tale of Elisha’s journey will prove informative, enlightening and inspiring as we forge our own pillars of faith to deal with the events of our lives!

I invite you to join me on Thursday, May 16th at 7:00 pm at BTBJ’s Adult Education Book Club to explore As A Driven Leaf!

Copies of the book are on sale in the synagogue office. 

Purchase Here

Please remember BTBJ with  your purchase of our Book Club selections through Amazon Smile



Children's HH Services

Children's High Holiday Services

Registration Forms

Sisterhood Event

What? Sisterhood Opening Event

Where? Where else? BTBJ Synagogue

When? November 11, 2019

Time? Good question … TBD!

Who? The Word Mavens

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Sunday, August 25, 2019 - 9:30am
Monday, August 26, 2019 - 7:00am
Tuesday, August 27, 2019 - 7:00am
Tuesday, August 27, 2019 - 6:00pm
Wednesday, August 28, 2019 - 7:00am



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