Bagels and Books - Kehillath Shalom Synagogue's Longest Running Committee
Come join us for a good read, a better discussion and even better food.
It is hard to believe, but Bagels & Books, by far one of the most successful programs KS has ever had, has been going strong for over a quarter of a century.
We started in the Fall of 1989, with our first selection, Lovingkindness by Anne Roiphe; since then we have read more than two hundred books – fiction and non-fiction (history, political science, sociology, philosophy, biographies and more), by authors both well-known and obscure, books set in every period from the Biblical era to the Middle Ages to the Holocaust to the present day. Our books have taken us around the world: to Eastern Europe, Western Europe, the Middle East, the Far East, India, Latin America, and, of course, the US and the very familiar milieu of New York Jews.
We have read books we loved and books we had to force ourselves to finish, as well as books we never would have read but for the group, but somehow we always have managed to wring interesting discussions out of them.
Must be the bagels, lox, and coffee stimulating the brain cells on Sunday mornings!
Our guiding principle has always been to find books “by Jewish authors or of Jewish interest.” Each summer we put together our list of books for the coming year, based on recommendations and reviews. Our avid readers are looking forward to the next quarter-century and would love to have you join us.
Stars of David; Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish by Abigail Pogrebin
Sixty-two of the most accomplished Jews in America speak intimately—most for the first time—about how they feel about being Jewish. In unusually candid interviews conducted by former 60 Minutesproducer Abigail Pogrebin, celebrities ranging from Sarah Jessica Parker to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, from Larry King to Mike Nichols, reveal how resonant, crucial or incidental being Jewish is in their lives. The connections they have to their Jewish heritage range from hours in synagogue to bagels and lox; but every person speaks to the weight and pride of their Jewish history, the burdens and pleasures of observance, the moments they’ve felt most Jewish (or not). This book of vivid, personal conversations uncovers how being Jewish fits into a public life, and also how the author’s evolving religious identity was changed by what she heard.
Killing a King; The Assassination of Yitzah Rabin and the Remaking of Israel by Dan Ephron
Winner of the 2015 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History and a New York Times Notable Book of 2015. A riveting story about the murder that changed a nation: the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin remains the single most consequential event in Israel’s recent history, and one that fundamentally altered the trajectory for both Israel and the Palestinians. Killing a Kingrelates the parallel stories of Rabin and his stalker, Yigal Amir, over the two years leading up to the assassination, as one of them planned political deals he hoped would lead to peace, and the other plotted murder.
The Dinner Party by Brenda Janowitz
Making a good impression is all Sylvia Gold thinks about when she finds out her daughter is bringing her boyfriend — a Rothschild! — and his parents to the Passover Seder. But she also has to consider her other daughter’s less-than-appropriate beau and his overly dramatic Italian mother. Long-forgotten memories come to the surface and old grievances play out in this funny and smart novel.
The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman
Beginning in 1938 Germany and continuing through the post-war years, Christine Bölz keeps alive her hopes for a fu-ture with Isaac Bauerman, the son of the Jewish family she worked for. Through threats from the Gestapo and the horrors of Dachau, Christine fights to survive, and, finally, to speak out.
A Remarkable Kindness by Diana Bletter
Three young American women and one older Israeli come together in achevra kedisha [a society that prepares de-ceased Jews for burial according to tradition] in a town in Northern Israel in 2006. The women forge a friendship that sustains them as they come to terms with love and loss, and the outbreak of war.
The Global War on Morris by Steve Israel
If Joseph Heller had served in Congress instead of the Second World War, he might have written this book instead of Catch- 22. Congressman Steve Israel’s tale of how the war on terror sweeps up an unassuming salesman from Long Island is both darkly hilarious and hilariously dark. Somehow Israel has combined his access to top secret national security briefings with a finely tuned sense of the absurd as he skewers Washington bureaucrats, Machiavellian politicians, and a certain Darth Vader-like Vice President.
SUNDAY, March 19
Golda by Elinor Burkett
Join us for this special joint session of Bagels and Books and the Israel and Jewish Affairs Committee
A vivid portrait of a legendary woman defined by contradictions: an iron resolve coupled with magnetic charm, a kindly demeanor that disguised a stunning hard-heartedness, and a complete dedication to her country that often over-whelmed her personal relationships.
The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman
A forbidden love story set on a tropical island about the extraordinary woman who gave birth to painter Camille Pis-sarro — the Father of Impressionism.
The Glory by Herman Wouk
This sprawling, action-packed novel covers the history of Israel from the end of the Six-Day War in 1967 to the attack on Iraq’s nuclear reactors in 1981, including the Yom Kippur War and the thrilling rescue at Entebbe. Historic figures such as Ben-Gurion, Meir, Dayan, and Sharon mix with the fictitious characters who humanize these memorable events.
Bread Givers by Anzia Yezierska
This masterwork of American immigrant literature, first published in 1925, is set in the 1920s on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and tells the story of Sara Smolinsky, the youngest daughter of an Orthodox rabbi, who rebels against her father's rigid conception of Jewish womanhood.