Recap of 2018 season…

MeetUp this Summer – Books of Jewish Interest (BJI) takes place Wednesdays at 4 PM 
at the Bethlehem Public Library

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Read, and dive into a new world. Join in a lively discussion of Jewish-themed books from a variety of genres—fiction, memoir, history and more. We are starting our 2018 season. Books of Jewish Interest (BJI) Club will meet at the Bethlehem Public Library on Wednesday, July 11th at 2PM, and at 4PM on following Wednesdays.

Gail Robinson, the convener, invites all to join BJI. Participants are expected to read the book listed for the date. Building on last year’s success in hosting John Clayton, Michele Brafman and Michel Adler, we have approached this year’s authors to discuss their books this summer. Three of our authors will participate via phone, and New York Times best selling author and nephew of Judy Felsen and Jack Karp will be presenting in person. 

Books selected for this season are: 

  • July 11 at 2 PM-- All Other Nights, Dara Horn. The complex world of Judah Benjamin, Secretary of State in the Confederacy and other Jewish Americans during the Civil War is chronicled in Dara Horn's vibrant and compelling third novel, "All Other Nights," which examines the tenuous relationships of American Jewish spies -- between each other, to their religion and to their country -- during the Civil War. Dara will present her thriller via phone. Jacki Katzman will be leading the discussion.

  • July 25 at 4 PM -- Russ & Daughters: Reflections and Recipes from the House that Herring Built, Mark Russ Federman. The former owner/proprietor of the beloved appetizing store on Manhattan’s Lower East Side tells the delightful, mouthwatering story of an immigrant family’s journey from a pushcart in 1907 to “New York’s most hallowed shrine to the miracle of caviar, smoked salmon, ethereal herring, and silken chopped liver”. Mark will present his book by phone. Steve Monsein will be leading the discussion.


Our co-sponsor, Bethlehem Public Library will be hosting BJI again this year. The Library has conference call capability. It is also handicapped accessible and has plenty of parking. We will be meeting at the Library (2245 Main St, Bethlehem, NH 03574) on Wednesday afternoon.




August 1 at 4 PM – Green, Sam Graham-FelsenGreen is a classic coming-of-age story set in 1992 – 1993, told by six-grader, DavidGreenfeld. David lives in Boston’s historic Jamaica Plain neighborhood along with his parents and his younger brother. He is one of the only white students at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, where he tries his best to fly under the radar of his peers, who pick on him for his clothes, his newly pubescent awkwardness, and—sometimes implicitly, sometimes explicitly—his skin color. His best friend is a black classmate, who like David is an outsider. Sam will present his novel in person at Bethlehem Public Library. Jack Karp will be moderating the discussion.

  • August 8 at 4 PM -- Tough Jews: Fathers, Sons, and Gangster Dreams, Rich Cohen. In an L.A. delicatessen, a group of Brooklyn natives gets together to discuss basketball, boxing, the weather back east, and the Jewish gangsters of yesteryear. Meyer Lansky. Bugsy Siegel. Gurrah Shapiro. Louis Lepke, the self-effacing mastermind of Murder, Inc. Red Levine, the Orthodox hit man who refused to kill on the Sabbath. Abe "Kid Twist" Reles, who looked like a mama's boy but once buried a rival alive. These are just some of the vibrant, vicious characters Rich Cohen's father reminisced about and the author evokes so pungently in Tough Jews. Rich will be presenting his book via phone.  Robert Parker will be leading the discussion.

  • August 22 at 4 PM --The Family Markowitz, Allegra Goodman. This novel is based on short stories originally published in the New Yorker Magazine. Centered on a middle-class American Jewish family, The Family Markowitz touches on themes ranging from religiosity to ageing and homosexuality to intermarriage. The novel tells the story of four main characters: Rose Markowitz (the matriarch), her sons Ed and Henry, and her daughter-in-law, Sarah. Through these characters, the reader meets many other members of the family including Ed's four children, Henry's wife, and Rose's stepdaughter. Ed Cowan will be leading the discussion.

All books are available at Abe’s Books and will soon be available at the Bethlehem Public Library.  Gail Robinson will also loan out her copy. Books are available on Amazon or through the Little Village Toy and Book Shop in Littleton. 

Meetings are open to anyone and everyone interested in participating in a reading group. The actual dates for each book will depend on volunteer and Author availability. Please call (202) 744-4646 or email Gail Robinson at if you have any questions.