Ohr Kodesh Book Club

July 3, 2019 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Location: 
Salzberg Family Library

The Ohr Kodesh Book Club meets monthly on the first Wednesday of each month at 12:00 noon at Ohr Kodesh (in the Salzberg Family Library).

Books selections are chosen by the club's members, alternating fiction and non-fiction every other month, and are generally limited to books no longer than 400 pages in length. New participants will be welcomed!

Feel free to bring a dairy or parve lunch to the meeting. Coffee will be provided.

For further information, contact Book Club Coordinator Barry Cantor at 301-933-3776 or barcando [at] gmail [dot] com.

Future dates & book selections:  

June 5, 2019 - 12:00 noon - 1:30 pm

Black Box by Amos Oz

Seven years after their divorce, Ilana breaks the bitter silence with a letter to Alex, a world-renowned authority on fanaticism, begging for help with their rebellious adolescent son, Boaz. One letter leads to another, and so evolves a correspondence between Ilana and Alex, Alex and Michel (Ilana’s Moroccan husband), Alex and his Mephistophelian Jerusalem lawyer—a correspondence between mother and father, stepfather and stepson, father and son, each pleading his or her own case.

The grasping, lyrical, manipulative, loving Ilana has stirred things up. Now, her former husband and her present husband have become rivals not only for her loyalty but for her son’s as well.

Black Box is a record of passion, an ingenious, witty, feeling novel of contemporary life. Amos Oz at his novelistic, human, and poetic best.

July 3. 2019 - 12:00 noon - 1:30 pm

Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel (Kindle Edition)

by Matti Friedman

Award-winning writer Matti Friedman’s tale of Israel’s first spies has all the tropes of an espionage novel, including duplicity, betrayal, disguise, clandestine meetings, the bluff, and the double bluff—but it’s all true.

Journalist and award-winning author Matti Friedman’s tale of Israel’s first spies reads like an espionage novel--but it’s all true. The four agents at the center of this story were part of a ragtag unit known as the Arab Section, conceived during World War II by British spies and Jewish militia leaders in Palestine. Intended to gather intelligence and carry out sabotage operations, the unit consisted of Jews who were native to the Arab world and could thus easily assume Arab identities.

In 1948, with Israel’s existence hanging in the balance, these men went undercover in Beirut, where they spent the next two years operating out of a newsstand, collecting intelligence and sending messages back to Israel via a radio whose antenna was disguised as a clothesline. Of the dozen spies in the Arab Section at the war’s outbreak, five were caught and executed. But in the end, the Arab Section would emerge as the nucleus of the Mossad, Israel’s vaunted intelligence agency.

Spies of No Country is about the slippery identities of these young spies, but it’s also about the complicated identity of Israel, a country that presents itself as Western but in fact has more citizens with Middle Eastern roots and traditions, like the spies of this narrative. Meticulously researched and masterfully told, Spies of No Country is an eye-opening look at the paradoxes of the Middle East.

August 7, 2019 - 12:00 noon - 1:30 pm

kaddish.com: A novel by Nathan Englander

The celebrated Pulitzer finalist and prize-winning author of Dinner at the Center of the Earth and What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank delivers his best work yet, a streamlined comic masterpiece about a son’s failure to say Kaddish for his father.
Larry is the secular son in a family of Orthodox Brooklyn Jews.  When his father dies, it’s his responsibility to recite the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead, every day for eleven months.  To the horror and dismay of his sister, Larry refuses—imperiling the fate of his father’s soul.  To appease her, Larry hatches an ingenious if cynical plan, hiring a stranger through a website called kaddish.com to recite the prayer and shepherd his father’s soul safely to rest.
Sharp, irreverent, hilarious, and wholly irresistible, Englander’s tale of a son who makes a diabolical compromise ingeniously captures the tensions between tradition and modernity—a book to be devoured in a single sitting whose pleasures and provocations will be savored long after.

September 4, 2019 - 12:00 noon - 1:30 pm

The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis

“Brilliant. . . . Lewis has given us a spectacular account of two great men who faced up to uncertainty and the limits of human reason.” —William Easterly, Wall Street Journal

Forty years ago, Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky wrote a series of breathtakingly original papers that invented the field of behavioral economics. One of the greatest partnerships in the history of science, Kahneman and Tversky’s extraordinary friendship incited a revolution in Big Data studies, advanced evidence-based medicine, led to a new approach to government regulation, and made much of Michael Lewis’s own work possible. In The Undoing Project, Lewis shows how their Nobel Prize–winning theory of the mind altered our perception of reality.

NOTE: The book club will not meet in October

November 6, 2019 - 12:00 noon - 1:30 pm

The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish

Set in London of the 1660s and of the early twenty-first century, The Weight of Ink is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect: Ester Velasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history. 
 
When Helen is summoned by a former student to view a cache of newly discovered seventeenth-century Jewish documents, she enlists the help of Aaron Levy, an American graduate student as impatient as he is charming, and embarks on one last project: to determine the identity of the documents' scribe, the elusive "Aleph."
  
Electrifying and ambitious, The Weight of Ink is about women separated by centuries—and the choices and sacrifices they must make in order to reconcile the life of the heart and mind.

Ohr Kodesh Congregation

8300 Meadowbrook Lane
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Phone: (301) 589-3880
Fax:  (301) 495-4801

Email: executivedirector@
ohrkodesh.org

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