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:
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. We look forward to sharing the 2018-19 selection when it is announced. 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."
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Discussion Led by Lisa Schwenderman and Lori Chiara
As a Driven Leaf with New Foreward by David Wolpe by Milton Steinberg
In a brand new foreword, Rabbi David Wolpe takes a fresh look at this masterpiece of modern fiction, a historical novel set in second century Jerusalem and Antioch that tells the gripping tale of renegade Talmudic sage Elisha ben Abuyah's struggle to reconcile his faith with the allure of Hellenistic culture. His conflict between tradition and modern culture is at once both ancient and very modern. As Wall Street Journal columnist Joseph Epstein writes, "One imagines that in writing As a Driven Leaf Milton Steinberg was writing about his own intellectual conflict over the issue—faith or reason, and in what proportions?—that remains fundamental to thoughtful people to this day. The tension that this conflict stirs in a first-class mind in his novel is compelling, and the incisive portrait of the man caught up in it is what gives "As a Driven Leaf" its standing as a masterpiece."
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