TJM jewish Book club
our 1st meeting

Temple Judea Mizpah

Jewish book club

at our 1st meeting

On April 16th we'll be led by Joan again with the Plot against America by Philip Roth.

On March 19th we'll discuss the Assistant by Bernard Malamud.

On Feb 19th we welcomed a new member Jill and discussed Mazel by Goldstein.
Thanks to Eunice for picking up books from the library:) Get well to Evie and Phyllis L.

In January we listened to Al lecture on the biography of Einstein. It was fascinating. Thanks Al and all who participated:)

We met on Wed. Dec 5th for Rashi's daughter, by Maggie Anton book 1 (Joheved) led by Phyllis L.

Fran K. lead our Girl with a pearl earring on Nov. 14th, 2007. Great job:)

On Feb 20th we'll discuss The Assistant by Bernard Malamud. In March it will be The plot against America by Philip Roth led by Joan. Finally in April we'll read This is for Everyone, Universal Principles of Healing Prayer and the Jewish Mystics, by Douglas Goldhamer (rabbi in the deaf synagogue) and Melinda Stengel.

On Nov. 4th, Nov. 18th and Dec 2nd we'll meet at my house for a special group. A suggested reading is God is a Verb by Rabbi David Cooper. This is a study of torah with an introduction to Kabbalah led by Jacob Cohen.

The January 16th book will be Mazel by Rebecca Goldstein.

On Dec. 5th we'll meet back at temple for a discussion of Rashi's daughters by Maggie Anton, the first book of Joheved.

On Oct. 17th we discussed Bee Season by Myla goldberg with the leadership of our Bonnie:).

For sept. 19 we again got from the Skokie library Snow in August by Pete Hamill, a story about a brooklyn boy. We are only a month behind:) Eunice led us into the discussion.
We also celebrated then our 1st year anniversary.

On Aug. 15th we visited The Romance Reader by Pearl Abraham, 1995. This meeting was led by Suzie Goldstein our newest member.

July 18th we discussed the translation of the book Don't Call it Night by the Israeli Amos Oz.
Joan Kerlow led the discussion. I am sorry to have missed it:(

In June we discussed The amazing adventure of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Shabone

On May 16th Charlotte Jaffe led our group on the book The Left Hand of God by Rabbi Michael Lerner.

Our April 18th, 2007 book is Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, 2002.

With only a yellowing photograph in hand, a young man - also named Jonathan Safran Foer - sets out to find the woman who might or might not have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Accompanied by an old man haunted by memories of the war, an amorous dog named Sammy Davis, Junior, Junior, and the unforgettable Alex, a young Ukrainian translator who speaks in a sublimely butchered English, Jonathan is led on a quixotic journey over a devastated landscape and into an unexpected past. As their adventure unfolds, Jonathan imagines the history of his grandfather's village, conjuring a magical fable of startling symmetries that unite generations across time. Lit by passion, fear, guilt, memory, and hope, the characters in Everything Is Illuminated mine the black holes of history. As the search moves back in time, the fantastical history moves forward, until reality collides with fiction in a heart-stopping scene of extraordinary power. An arresting blend of high comedy and great tragedy, this is a story about searching for people and places that no longer exist, for the hidden truths that haunt every family, and for the delicate but necessary tales that link past and future. Exuberant and wise, hysterically funny and deeply moving, EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED is an astonishing debut.

cover illustration

My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok was read for our first meeting on September 20th.

book cover       Who needs God by Harold Kushner is the book we chose to read for Oct. 18th. A NY Times bestseller.
"We need to believe that the world we live in makes sense, that there is a pattern to it, and we look to religion to teach us that pattern."

Our pictures us

The book for November 15th is The History of Love by Nicole Krauss, 2005,
translated into 25 languages. A NY Times bestseller.

Synopses and reviews.

and more

There are a few copies of it in the Skokie library.

Come even if you didn't quite get into the book.

book cover

We skipped the meeting for the month of December.

Good rest and good reading to all:)

Our January 17th book was: The Red tent by Anita Diamond.

Our February 28th (a change of date!) book was An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood by Neal Gabler, led by our own History Professor Al Erlebacher.

Our March 21st book is Not the Germans Alone A son's search for the truth of Vichy. By Northwestern Univ. Press, Evanston, 1999. The author Isaac Levendel himself led the group.

Future books will be chosen from the following suggestions:

Genre Fiction Non-Fiction
Religious The Red Tent
Asher Lev
Who Needs God
The left hand of God
non-religious History of Love
Everything is Illuminated
How the Jews invented Hollywood
Not the Germans Alone

Please join us on the 3rd wed. of every month at 1 pm in Room 1 at TJM.

Quotes I liked

Topics to discuss in our meetings:

I found Who needs God, to be wonderful for a book club. So many interesting topics to discuss: For example:

See the brick

The Red tent

Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis that are about her father, Jacob, and his dozen sons. Told in Dinah's voice, this novel reveals the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhoodthe world of the red tent. It begins with the story of her mothersLeah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhahthe four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that sustain her through a hard-working youth, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land. Dinah's story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate connection with the past. Deeply affecting, The Red Tent combines rich storytelling with a valuable achievement in modern fiction: a new view of biblical women's society.

The Red Tent 
by Anita Diamant 
List Price: $14.00
Pages: 321 
Format: Paperback 
ISBN: 0312195516
Publisher: Picador USA 

THE RED TENT tells the little-known Biblical story of Dinah, daughter of the patriarch Jacob and his wife, Leah. In Chapter 34 of the Book of Genesis, Dinahs tale is a short, horrific detour in the familiar narrative of Jacob and Joseph.

Anita Diamant imaginatively tells the story from the fresh perspective of its 
women. In the Biblical tale Dinah is given no voice; she is the narrator of THE RED TENT, which reveals the life of ancient womanhood -- the world of the red tent.

Reader of THE RED TENT will view the Book of Genesis in a new light. 
This guide can help spur creative discussions of the timeless story. 

1. Read Genesis 34 and discuss how THE RED TENT changes your perspective on Dinahs story and also on the story of Joseph that follows. Does THE RED TENT raise questions about other women in the Bible? Does it make you want to re-read the Bible and imagine other untold stories that lay hidden between the lines?

2. Discuss the marital dynamics of Jacobs family. He has four wives; compare his relationship with each woman?

3. What do you make of the relationships among the four wives?

4. Dinah is rich in "mothers." Discuss the differences or similarities in her relationship with each woman.

5. Childbearing and childbirth are central to THE RED TENT. How do the firtility childbearing and birthing practices differ from contemporary life? How are they similar? How do they compare with your own experiences as a mother or father?

6. Discuss Jacobs role as a father. Does he treat Dinah differently from his sons? Does he feel differently about her? If so, how? 

7. Discuss Dinahs twelve brothers. Discuss their relationships with each other, with Dinah, and with Jacob and his four wives. Are they a close family? 

8. Female relationships figure largely in THE RED TENT. Discuss the importance of Inna, Tabea, Werenro, and Meryt.

9. In the novel, Rebecca is presented as an Oracle. Goddesses are venerated along with gods. What do you think of this culture, in which the Feminine has not yet been totally divorced from the Divine? How does El, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, fit into this?

10. Dinahs point of view is often one of an outsider, an observer. What effect does this have on the narrative? What effect does this have on the reader?

11. The book travels from Haran (contemporary Iraq/Syria), through Canaan and into Shechem (Israel), and into Egypt. What strikes you about the cultural differences Dinah encounters vis--vis food, clothing, work, and male-female relationships.

12. In THE RED TENT, we see Dinah grow from childhood to old age. Discuss how she changes and matures. What lessons does she learn from life? If you had to pick a single word to describe the sum of her life, what word would you choose? How would Dinah describe her own life experience?

top of the page


"It is tempting to say that THE RED TENT is what the Bible would be like if it had been written by women, but only Diamant could have given it such sweep and grace." 
-The Boston Globe

"The oldest story of all could never seem more original, or more true."
-James Carroll, author or An American Requiem

"Diamant succeeds admirably in depicting the lives of women in the age that engendered our civilization and our most enduring values."
-Publishers Weekly

"Diamant vividly conjures up the ancient world of caravans, shepherds, farmers, midwives, slaves, and artisansher Dinah is a compelling narrator of a tale that has timeless resonance."
-Merle Rubin, Christian Science Monitor 

Any comment?

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Last updated 8/18/07

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