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Book Group


Our Shir Hadash Book Group is open to everyone and meets at 10:45 a.m. on one Sunday per month. Check the calendar for the latest upcoming session, and contact to inquire about what the next book will be and if there are copies available in the temple office for you to borrow and read.

Come Read With Us

We love to enjoy reading, learning, and discussion together. Whether you are able to come every month or only occasionally, we hope you'll enjoy the thoughtful and interesting selection of books and come discuss the books with us!

"Book Club in a Box," from the Jewish Community Library of San Francisco, provides copies of our chosen books which can be borrowed from the temple office. Pick up your copy, read it, then come to the temple and enjoy a spirited conversation about it!

Upcoming Books:

September 8, 2019

Crossing Cairo: A Jewish Woman's Encounter with Egypt by Ruth Sohn

In Crossing Cairo, Rabbi Ruth Sohn has written an exceptional account of her experiences living with her family in Egypt. Advised not to share the fact that they are Jewish, they discover what it means to hide and then increasingly share their identity. Wondering whether it would be possible to cross the boundaries of language, culture, and religion to form real friendships and find a home among the Egyptians, Sohn takes us on a remarkable journey as she encounters the many faces of Cairo.

November 3, 2019

The Last Watchman of Old Cairo by Michael David Lukas

Joseph, a literature student at Berkeley, is the son of a Jewish mother and a Muslim father. One day, a mysterious package arrives on his doorstep, pulling him into a mesmerizing adventure to uncover the tangled history that binds the two sides of his family. For generations, the men of the al-Raqb family have served as watchmen of the storied Ibn Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo, built at the site where the infant Moses was taken from the Nile. Joseph learns of his ancestor Ali, a Muslim orphan who nearly a thousand years earlier was entrusted as the first watchman of the synagogue and became enchanted by its legendary—perhaps magical—Ezra Scroll. The story of Joseph's family is entwined with that of the British twin sisters Agnes and Margaret, who in 1897 depart their hallowed Cambridge halls on a mission to rescue sacred texts that have begun to disappear from the synagogue.


Meet Michael David Lukas who will be speaking at Shir Hadash for our Community Shabbat celebrating Jewish Book Month on Saturday, November 16, 10:30 am - 12:00 pm in the Sanctuary.

January 12, 2020

The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro

Alizée Benoit, an American painter working for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), vanishes in New York City in 1940 amid personal and political turmoil. No one knows what happened to her. Not her Jewish family living in German-occupied France. Not her artistic patron and politial compatriot, Eleanor Roosevelt. Not her close-knit group of friends, including Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Lee Krasner. And, some seventy years later, not her great-niece, Danielle Abrams, who while working at Christie's auction house uncovers enigmatic paintings hidden behind recently found works by those now famous Abstract Expressionist artists. Do they hold the answers to the questions surrounding her missing aunt?

Entwining the lives of both historical and fictional characters, and moving between the past and the present, The Muralist plunges readers into the divisiveness of prewar politics and the largely forgotten plight of European refugees refused entrance to the United States. It captures both the inner workings of today's New York art scene and the beginnings of th vibrant and quintessentially American school of Abstract Expressionism.

March 9, 2019

Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan by Ruth Gilligan

At the start of the twentieth century, a young girl and her family emigrate from Lithuania in search of a better life in America, only to land on the Emerald Isle instead. In 1958, a mute Jewish boy locked away in a mental institution outside of Dublin forms an unlikely friendship with a man consumed by the story of the love he lost nearly two decades earlier. And in present-day London, an Irish journalist is forced to confront her conflicting notions of identity and family when her Jewish boyfriend asks her to make a true leap of faith. These three arcs, which span generations and intertwine in revelatory ways, come together to tell the haunting story of Ireland's all-but-forgotten Jewish community. Ruth Gilligan's beautiful and heartbreaking Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan explores the question of just how far we will go to understand who we really are, and to feel at home in the world.

Tue, September 22 2020 4 Tishrei 5781