“My task is not to debate whether I’m a Jew or not, but to figure out what kind of Jew I am. For me, finding a secular Jewish community with progressive politics fits my version of that identity.”
Circle Book Group
The Circle Book Group reads both fiction and non-fiction, and meets monthly on Sunday mornings for collegial and provocative discussion. Book selections are chosen by participants at least one month in advance of meetings.
The Book Group is hosted in member homes near Inman Sq. in Cambridge. MEETING LOCATIONS DO NOT ALTERNATE EVERY TIME, SO PLEASE READ THE PLACE OF MEETING CAREFULLY.
At Marie's, there is one cat who is out of the way during the meeting.
Bagels and coffee are provided (with a suggested $2 donation). Email Marie [email@example.com] to get on the Book Group mailing list.
Sunday, February 23, 10:15am - 12:15pm -- Marie Ariel's -- (617) 492-2765 -- firstname.lastname@example.org -- 41 Amory Street, Cambridge.
BOOK: The Jew in the lotus : a poet’s rediscovery of Jewish identity in Buddhist India byRodger Kamenetz. Eight copies in Minuteman.
Book List review: Kamenetz, a poet and a Jew, was invited to attend and write about a historical meeting between a delegation of American Jews and a group of Tibetan Buddhists that included the Dalai Lama. This interfaith get-together was inspired, in part, by the increasing number of Jews who have become Buddhists as well as the Dalai Lama's perception of Jews as "survival experts." The Dalai Lama felt that the Jews, experts in exile and the preservation of faith and practice, would offer advice and comfort; participating rabbis were intrigued by the surprising similarities between the two religions, including esoteric traditions and a profound awareness of suffering. Kamenetz not only chronicles the resultant discussions, which proved to be enlightening and emotional, but also profiles a number of Jewish Buddhists, including Allen Ginsberg and Ram Dass. As his investigation throws his own beliefs and assumptions into high relief, Kamenetz is amazed and humbled by the intensity and altruism of Buddhism.
Sunday, March 16 -- Betsy Groban’s -- (617) 492-8634 -- email@example.com -- Contact Betsy for the address.
BOOK: Postville: a clash of cultures in heartland America by Stephen G. Bloom. Many copies in Minuteman.
Book List Review
Few ethnographers would select a small Iowa farming community as a likely locale for studying ethnic conflict. But when devout Lubavitcher Jews decided in 1987 to locate a large kosher slaughterhouse near Postville, Iowa, this obscure town grew taut with ethnic tension, as easygoing locals suddenly found themselves confronting a militant religious community indifferent, at times even contemptuous, of their long-standing traditions. As a recent transplant from the West Coast and as a Jew skeptical of Lubavitcher theology, Bloom chronicles Postville's culture wars with a clear-eyed objectivity. Recoiling from both redneck anti-Semitism and Lubavitcher self-righteousness, he ferrets out the truth about how rabbis conspired to shield a favored son involved in a local robbery and shooting. He likewise exposes all the political maneuvering behind a referendum intended to drive out the Lubavitchers. Yet in probing the suspicions that separate Jew from Gentile, he also uncovers surprising affinities between the two communities. In our national struggle to bring harmony out of ethnic diversity, Bloom offers an antidote against both illusion and despair. --Bryce Christensen
Past Circle Book Group reading selections have included:
Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth
Scenes From Village Life by Amos Oz
The Bookie’s Son by Andrew Goldstein
Bech, a book by John Updike
Einstein : his life and universe by Walter Isaacson
Not the Israel my parents promised me by Harvey Pekar and JT Waldman; epilogue written by Joyce Brabner; lettering by Charles Pritchett.
Amerika : the missing person : a new translation, based on the restored text by Franz Kafka; translated and with a preface by Mark Hofmann, 2002.
Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood
The Difficult Saint by Sharan Newman.
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Eric Larson.
The Cross and the Pear Tree : a Sephardic Journey by Victor Perera
The Sacrifice of Isaac by Noah Gordon
The adventures of Mottel: the cantor’s son by Sholem Aleichem
My father's paradise : a son's search for his Jewish past in Kurdish Iraq by Ariel Sabar
The end of the Jews : a novel by Adam Mansbach
The story of Yiddish : how a mish-mosh of languages saved the Jews by Neal Karlen
Beyond the Pale : a novel by Elana Dykewomon (also known as Nachman/Dykewomon)
The Merchant of Venice: modern version side-by-side with full original text, edited and rendered into modern English by Alan Durband
Escape to Shanghai: a Jewish Community in China by James R. Ross
The Assistant by Bernard Malamud
Scoundrel Time by Lillian Hellman
Heading South, Looking North by Ariel Dorfman
The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers by Harry Bernstein
He, She and It by Marge Piercy
Loyalties: A Son’s Memoir by Carl Bernstein
Seize the Day by Saul Bellow
Foreskin’s Lament by Shalom Auslander
The Harlot by the Side of the Road by Jonathan Kirsch
Rashi’s Daughters, Book I: Joheved by Maggie Anton
The life of Glückel of Hameln, 1646-1724, written by herself / Translated from the original Yiddish
A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz
Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer