Adult Education

Beth El Book Group

Here arethe Beth El Book Group selections for 2014-2015. It’s our usual mix offiction, biography, history, politics, and topics related to Bible, Jewish health, Israel, and ways of being Jewish.


1. August 14   The Worlds of Sholem Aleichem, by Jeffrey Dauber.    

            “The first comprehensive biography of the giant of Yiddish literature. . . . Beautifully written.”

—The Jewish Week


2. Sept. 11  The Aleppo Codex, by Matti Friedman.  

            Winner of Sami Rohr Book Prize of the Jewish Book Council, 2013. Friedman tells the story of this revered manuscript Bible in a seamless blend of scholarship, history, and sleuthing.  


3. Oct. 9  Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices: Body  Elliot N. Dorf and Louis Newman.

            This volume in the Choices, Voices series looks at our bodies--including topics such as tattoos, food, our organs, drug use, exercise—from a Jewish perspective.


4.  Nov. 13  36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work ofFiction, by Rebecca Goldstein   

            No, it’s not theology.  It’s an entertaining novel about love, Jewish cultural identity and career competition.


5.  Dec. 11  Becoming Frum, by Sarah Bunin Benor

            Jewish Book Council Sami Rohr Prize finalist, 2014. “Becoming Frum offers a scholarly, accessible, and entertaining look at the linguistic and cultural process of ‘becoming.’" (Jewish Book Council News)



6.  Jan. 8  Falling out of Time, by David Grossman

            A  compelling and extraordinary part-novel and part-drama

written from Grossman’s grief over his son killed in the Lebanon war.


7. Feb. 12   Movie night: to be announced


8.   March 12     The Golden Age Shtetl: A New History of Jewish Life in East Europe, by

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern.

            Digging into newly available archives and sources, Petrovsky-Shtern turns up information that sets “some of the received knowledge about Jewish history on its head …” (Kirkus)


9.  April 9       TheAdventures of Augie March,  by Saul Bellow.  

            Augie tells us his adventures, one after another, in knock-out everyday American speech.  Augie is one of the three great anti-heroes in twentieth century literature, and all three are Jews.  Why? (In case you forgot, the others are Proust’s Charles Swann and Joyce’s Leopold Bloom.) 


10.  May 14   Jabotinsky, by Hillel Halkin. 

             Never mind love him or hate him. Jabotinsky’s enormous influence lives on today in Netanyahu.  This biography examines him as “a writer, a political thinker, and a leader” (Yale Univ. Press).


11. June 12   The Composition of the Pentateuch: Renewing the Documentary Hypothesis, by Joel Baden.  

             “Suddenly, the stories make sense, the narrative proceeds without perplexing insertions and repetitions, and the distinct theological agendas emerge”  (Yale Univ. Press).


12.  July 10  Primo Levi’s Universe, by Sam Magavern.  

            “Interweaves the writer’s tragic life with his work” (Publishers’ Weekly).


12.  August 14   The New Middle East, by Fawas Gerges.   

            Analyzes the Arab uprisings in 2011-2012.




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