Pick up your copy of the book at the Library or at a Pushcart branch at the Palo Alto or San Francisco JCC. For more information, contact the Library at 415.567.3327 x 706. There is no fee to participate, and all are welcome. Discussions are held at the Jewish Community Library, 1835 Ellis Street, San Francisco. 

Book discussions facilitated by Jim Van Buskirk.

Harvey Milk: His Lives and Death by Lillian Faderman

Sunday, November 4, 2 pm

Contextualizing the local icon—eloquent, charismatic, and a smart-aleck—in a Jewish milieu, this biography chronicles Milk’s upbringing and careers before he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977, positioning himself as a champion of the gay community, racial minorities, women, working people, the disabled, and senior citizens. His assassination at the age of forty-eight made him the most famous gay leader in modern history.

The Plot Against America by Philip Roth

Sunday, December 2, 2 pm

This year’s One Bay One Book selection, Roth’s stirring 2004 work of counterfactual historical fiction, depicts the impact on a New Jersey Jewish family of Charles Lindbergh’s defeat of Franklin Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential election. 

Nemesis by Philip Roth

Sunday, February 3, 2 pm

Bucky Cantor, the protagonist of Roth’s final novel, is a vigorous young playground director when a polio outbreak mysteriously begins to ravage 1944 Newark. Faced with an opportunity to leave the city for work in a Catskills summer camp, Bucky is torn between personal safety and professional duty in this modern American morality tale. 

The Last Watchman of Old Cairo by Michael David Lukas

Sunday, March 3, 2 pm

The story of a Berkeley literature student exploring his Jewish mother and Muslim father’s tangled roots in the history of Cairo’s ancient Ben Ezra synagogue (home to the fabled Cairo genizah) is intertwined with that of a Muslim orphan centuries ago who becomes the synagogue’s watchman and that of British twin sisters Agnes Lewis and Margaret Gibson, who in 1897 depart Cambridge on a mission to rescue sacred texts that have begun to disappear from the synagogue.