Jewish Book Club

Interested in discussing books by and/or about Jewish people, events, or ideas? Join us for our every-other-month Sunday Book Club. Someone usually brings treats! This is not intended to be a women’s-only group; men are welcome.

Our next gathering will be:
November 17, 1:30 pm at Gere Library
Spies of No Country by Matti Friedman
Good Reads says:

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.

The four spies 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 and assassinations, 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 in the balance during the War of Independence, our spies went undercover in Beirut, where they spent the next two years operating out of a kiosk, collecting intelligence, and sending messages back to Israel via a radio whose antenna was disguised as a clothesline. While performing their dangerous work these men were often unsure to whom they were reporting, and sometimes even who they’d become. 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, improbably, as the nucleus of the Mossad, Israel’s vaunted intelligence agency.

Some of the books we have discussed in the past few years are:


  • Last Days of Summer, Steve Kluger


  • Between Gods, Alison Pick
  • The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey: A Graphic Novel of Jewish Wisdom and Wit in the Wild West, Steve Sheinkin
  • Soviet Daughter: A Graphic Revolution, Julia Alekseyeva
  • Day After Night, Anita Diamant
  • The Girl From Human Street, Roger Cohen
  • Judas (1959 memoir) or other books by Amos Oz
  • My People, Laura French


  • Norwegian By Night, Darrell Miller
    Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books, Aaron Lansky
    Marriage of Opposites, Alice Hoffman
  • A Thread Of Grace, Mary Doria Russell:
  • God Was in This Place and I, I Did Not Know, Lawrence Kusher
  • The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Michael Chabon


  • The Beast, Faye Kellerman
  • The Mathematician’s Shiva, Stuart Rojstaczer
  • Boston Girl. Anita Diamant
  • Love and Treasure, Ayelet Waldman
  • The Golem & the Jinni, Helene Wecker


  • My Mother’s Shoes, Shirley Russak Wachtel
  • The Lawgiver, Herman Wouk
  • The List, Martin Fletcher
  • My Promised Land, Ari Shavit


  • The History of Love, Nicole Krauss
  • The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker
  • The Coffee Trader, David Liss T
  • The Fortune Tellers Kiss, Brenda Serotte
  • The Orientalist, Tom Reiss


  • Heir the the Glimmering World, Cynthia Ozick
  • Clouds Against the Sun, Ellen Brazer (this one is best forgotten)
  • A Guide for the Perplexed, Dara Horn
  • The Girl from Foreign, Sadia Shepard
  • The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon

Before 2012

  • Peony, by Pearl Buck
  • The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit, Lucette Lagnado
  • The Dovekeepers, Alice Hoffman
  • The Red Tent, Anita Diamant
  • The Invisible Bridge, Julie Orringer
  • The World to Come, Dara Horn
  • In the Image, Dara Horn
  • The Hare With the Amber Eyes, Edmund DeWaal