Jewish Book Discussion Group

Growing Up Below Sea Level (Beit Midrash)

by Rachel Biale, led by Shmuel Shottan

Saturday, October 8, 12:45 – 2:00 p.m.
This beautifully written memoir is composed of linked stories about growing up on a kibbutz in Israel in the 1950s and 60s, when children spent most of their time, from birth on, in a Children’s House. View guidelines for attending

Our Country Friends by Gary Shteyngart (Beit Midrash)

Saturday, November 12, 12:45 – 2:00 p.m.

It’s March 2020 and a calamity is unfolding. A group of friends and friends-of-friends gathers in a country house to wait out the pandemic. Over the next few months new bonds of friendship and love will take hold, while old betrayals will emerge among this unlikely cast of characters, each richly drawn and achingly human: a Russian-born novelist; his Russian-born psychiatrist wife; their precocious child obsessed with K-pop; a struggling Indian American writer; a wildly successful Korean American app developer; a global dandy with three passports; a young flame-thrower of an essayist, originally from the Carolinas; and a movie star, The Actor, whose arrival upsets the equilibrium of this chosen family. Deborah Estreicher will lead the discussion.

People Love Dead Jews: Report from a Haunted Present (Beit Midrash)

by Dara Horn, led by Rabbi Jaymee Alpert

Saturday, December 10, 12:45 – 2:00 p.m.
Horn draws upon her travels, her research, and also her own family life to assert the vitality, complexity, and depth of Jewish life against an antisemitism that, far from being disarmed by the mantra of “Never forget,” is on the rise. As Horn explores the (not so) shocking attacks on the American Jewish community in recent years, she reveals the subtler dehumanization built into the public piety that surrounds the Jewish past―making the radical argument that the benign reverence we give to past horrors is itself a profound affront to human dignity. See guidelines for attending