Next Meeting: Sunday, Dec. 19, at 7:00 pm
We're reading: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. 486 pages.
From the Publisher:
Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic, created to be the wife of a man who dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.
Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in New York City, though still not entirely free.
Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates with a mystical connection. Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker's debut novel The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.
“We’re our natures, you and I,”says the Golem to the Jinni, and with that, Helene Wecker cracks open the principal question of her debut novel: What does it mean to change our nature? Various elemental forces propel Wecker’s fantastic beings—the Jinni, a wandering, restive spirit made of fire who shirks responsibility for his actions; the Golem, a clay creation meant to operate without free will, who longs for stability and kindness. Although they can conjure flame, run faster than trains, and inhabit human minds, their mortal flaws and limitations utterly define them. As the two try to adapt to the temporal world of nineteenth century America, they contend with the question of whether they should accept those natures—destructive tendencies and all—or whether they can find something worth emulating in the fragile, fallible humans they encounter every day.
Discussion leader: Ralph
(Login is the same as for Sunday Funday)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 813 3646 4877
Dial by your location
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington D.C)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
Meeting ID: 813 3646 4877
Limits on Choice of Book
We have chosen to limit Teletefila Book Club selections to works of fiction under 500 pages. We aim to host a Book Club discussion every 4-6 weeks (perhaps with breaks or adjustments around the major Jewish holidays), and this is about the upper limit of what most of our members can commit to reading in that amount of time. We also urge book discussion leaders to avoid selections that are too close to current political controversies (i.e., fictionalized accounts of current events like Joel Klein’s Primary Colors). This does not mean all books that in some way deal with political themes are off-limits (i.e., All the King’s Men would make a perfectly fine selection). But we have plenty of other opportunities to talk about current events and politics as a minyan, and Book Club aims to provide a much-needed break from the relentless, 24-hour news cycle we all live with.
It is not necessary or even preferable that books have Jewish themes or content, but such books are welcome as possible Book Club selections.
Suggesting a Book
We take suggestions from all members of Teletefila, or anyone else regularly attending Book Club, as to Book Club selections. If you wish to offer a suggestion, e-mail our Book Club Coordinator, J.R. Wilheim, at email@example.com. When J.R. has received a few suggestions, he will send out a poll with the proposed selections for the next Book Club Discussion. If there is a clear winner in the poll, that book will be chosen. If there is a tie, J.R. will select the book suggestion he received first, and the other one will be the next book club selection.
At his discretion, J.R. may deviate from this practice if there is overwhelming consensus at a Book Discussion about what the next book selection should be. But even when a book selection has already been made by acclamation at a Book Club Discussion, suggestions are welcome at any time, and all suggestions received will be voted on in the near future.
Rotation and Choice of Leader
There is no formal rotation of who will be the next Book Discussion Leader, though J.R. will try to make sure that there is variety in who leads Book Club Discussions so that everyone who wishes to will have a chance to lead. There are no formal rules about how much time must pass between two instances of a person’s serving as Book Discussion Leader, but J.R. will aim not to have the same person serve as Leader for two discussions in a row.
Arranging a Time for Book Club
We do not (at least as of yet) have a set schedule for Book Club Discussions. Our first took place on a Sunday evening at 5 p.m. Given people’s work schedules, it is likely all future Book Club discussions will take place on Sundays, but time is likely to be flexible. As noted above, we aim to have a Book Club discussion every 4-6 weeks but are flexible around a Discussion Leader’s schedule. When you have selected a book, please e-mail J.R. Wilheim (see e-mail above) to suggest a time. Announcements concerning Book Club will be sent in the Teletefila e-mails, which are sent out by Nostradamus Sher (firstname.lastname@example.org). Reminders about Book Club may also occasionally be made at the end of services. A Zoom link for the Book Club will be sent in these e-mails the week the discussion takes place.
A Note on Guests
Although this Book Club is affiliated with Teletefila, it is perfectly fine to invite guests who may be interested in joining discussion of a particular book. We are always happy to meet new people.
(Prepared by J.R., Book Club Chair)