Etz Bookworms (Rm 12)
We invite you to join us in reading and discussing. In honor of the passing of a great American Jewish novelist:
Goodbye, Columbus, by Philip Roth, with a book club meeting on 9/02
Philip Roth's brilliant career was launched when the unknown twenty-five-year-old writer won the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship for a collection that was to be called Goodbye, Columbus, and which, in turn, captured the 1960 National Book Award. In the famous title story, perhaps the best college love story ever written, Radcliffe-bound Brenda Patimkin initiates Neil Klugman of Newark into a new and unsettling society of sex, leisure, and loss.
Roth's first work, Goodbye, Columbus, was an irreverently humorous depiction of the life of middle-class Jewish Americans, and met controversy among reviewers, who were highly polarized in their judgments; one criticized it as infused with a sense of self-loathing. In response, Roth, in his 1963 essay "Writing About Jews" (collected in Reading Myself and Others), maintained that he wanted to explore the conflict between the call to Jewish solidarity and his desire to be free to question the values and morals of middle-class Jewish Americans uncertain of their identities in an era of cultural assimilation and upward social mobility:
The cry 'Watch out for the goyim!' at times seems more the expression of an unconscious wish than of a warning: Oh that they were out there, so that we could be together here! A rumor of persecution, a taste of exile, might even bring with it the old world of feelings and habits—something to replace the new world of social accessibility and moral indifference, the world which tempts all our promiscuous instincts, and where one cannot always figure out what a Jew is that a Christian is not.
The book club dates are the first Sundays, except if there is a conflict with a festival or a major congregational event. The dates for the rest of 2018: 8/05, 9/02, 10/07, 11/04, & 12/02. Meetings are at 4:30 p.m., in one of the Etz Chayim classrooms. Read with us even if you can't come to the meeting. Meet with us even if you haven't read the book.
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