CLOSTER, N.J. -- Temple Beth El of Northern Valley, in Closter, is holding its fifth "One Book, One Community" program, designed to enhance Jewish learning in northern New Jersey, on Tuesday, March 29.
The first four years have been a success. Congregations, Jewish institutions and agencies, and even some local book groups created programs and events around the featured titles -- "My Father's Paradise, by Ariel Sabar; "The Zookeeper's Wife," by Diane Ackerman; and "The Golem and the Jinni," by Helene Wecker.
This year's program will be a discussion of "A Backpack, A Bear and Eight Crates of Vodka," which is a memoir by Lev Golinkin. In the twilight of the Cold War, 9-year-old Golinkin and his Jewish family cross the Soviet border with only 10 suitcases, $600 and the vague promise of help awaiting in Vienna.
Years later, Golinkin, now an American adult, sets out to retrace his family's long trek, locate the strangers who fought for his freedom, and in the process, gain a future by understanding his past. Written with biting acerbic wit and emotional honesty, Golinkin’s search for personal identity set against the relentless currents of history is more than a memoir -- it's a portrait of a lost era.
Temple congregants Julia Nock and Susan Schwinger will facilitate the book discussion group, and everyone who comes should be prepared to contribute and share their thoughts and ideas about the book. Refreshments will also be served at the program, which is being sponsored by the Temple's Adult Education Committee.
The discussion begins at 7:30 p.m. Temple Beth El is located at 221 Schraalenburgh Rd., in Closter.
For information on purchasing a book, reserving a space and future One Book, One Community activities, contact Bette Balsam at email@example.com or call 201-767-5419. For information about Temple Beth El, visit its website or Facebook page.