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Book of the Every-Other Month Club

As the name suggests, we gather every other month to discuss a work of literature with a Jewish reference or theme.

Join us for our next meeting!
The Last Million: Europe’s Displaced Persons from World War II to the Cold War by David Nasaw
Monday, November 7 | 7:30pm

Our last meeting was Monday, August 27 where we discussed  “People of the Book” by Geraldine Brooks. As always, we welcomed those who read the book as well as those who were interested but may have not started the book, or have not have finished it.  Our discussions continue to be interesting, informative and a pleasure.

There was uniform agreement that the book was well written and that the author had done extensive scholarly research in preparation. The book is an historical novel, where the author has woven stories into the travels of the Sarajevo Haggadah, both factual and fictional. The writing and the descriptions held the interest of all of our readers.

Some of us were motivated to do our own research to understand the cities and countries in the book from the 15th century to the present.  Some readers were motivated to reread the book to fully absorb and understand the travels and transitions of the Haggadah.  We wished that the author had titled her chapters with dates and locations as she switched back and forth in time and location. In spite of that we found the book to be very worth reading and gave us much to think about and to discuss.

So much of the history of the Sarajevo Haggadah, which is part of our history as Jews, was depressing, as time after time, in different countries, the tortuous actions of anti-Semitism reared its ugly head.  Reading this book reminded us that anti-Semitism and murder of Jews did not start with Hitler.

We liked the scope of the book and found the historical sections of the book fascinating, interesting and sometimes painful. Some found the added romance of the present-day characters were too much like a summer romance, while others enjoyed the development of the characters on an emotional level. We were impressed with the descriptions of the work of the artisans and scientists involved in examining and authenticating the Sarajevo Haggadah.  It was interesting and imaginative of her to take a small, seemingly trivial item like a butterfly wing, and build it into an interesting and educational story that was seamlessly woven into the tapestry of her story.

 The actual Sarajevo Haggadah was made around 1350, left Spain in 1492 with the expulsion of the Jews, and surfaced again in Venice in the 17th century. The true history is a testament to the people of different faiths who risked all to save this priceless work - including hiding it during the Inquisition and later from the Nazis in World War II. Geraldine Brooks shows in her storytelling that she has faith in people and looks for the connections that can occur bewteen different cultures and religions.

Sat, November 26 2022 2 Kislev 5783