Sunday, August 20 at 3:00PM
by David Berg
Join us in August for our next book discussion at Houston Congregation for Reform Judaism. David Berg will visit HCRJ to discuss his book, Run, Brother, Run: A Memoir of a Murder in My Family.
A searing family memoir, hailed as “remarkable” (The New York Times), “compelling” (People), and “engrossing” (Kirkus Reviews), of a trial lawyer’s tempestuous boyhood in Texas that led to the vicious murder of his brother by the father of actor Woody Harrelson.
In 1968, David Berg’s brother, Alan, was murdered by Charles Harrelson, a notorious hit man and father of Woody Harrelson. Alan was only thirty-one when he disappeared (David was twenty-six) and for more than six months his family did not know what had happened to him—until his remains were found in a ditch in Texas. There was an eyewitness to the murder: Charles Harrelson’s girlfriend, who agreed to testify. For his defense, Harrelson hired Percy Foreman, then the most famous criminal lawyer in America. Despite the overwhelming evidence against him, Harrelson was acquitted.
After burying his brother all those years ago, David Berg rarely talked about him. Yet in 2008 he began to remember and research Alan’s life and death. The result is Run, Brother, Run: part memoir—about growing up Jewish in 1950s Texas and Arkansas—and part legal story, informed by Berg’s experience as a seasoned lawyer. Writing with cold-eyed grief and a wild, lacerating humor, Berg tells us first about the striving Jewish family that created Alan Berg and set him on a course for self-destruction, and then about the miscarriage of justice when Berg’s murderer was acquitted.
David Berg brings us a painful family history, a portrait of an iconic American place, and a true-crime courtroom murder drama that “elegantly brings to life the rough-and-tumble boomtown that was 1960s-era Houston, and conveys with unflinching force the emotional damage his brother’s death did to his family” (The New York Times).
Run, Brother, Run can be purchased on Amazon.
To sign up for this book discussion, please contact Justin at 713-782-4162 or email@example.com.
Sunday, June 4 at 10:30AM
by Ellen Goldberg
Join us on Sunday, June 4 at 10:30am as Ellen Goldberg visits HCRJ to discuss her book, Finding a Bride and Other Adventures of a Jewish Mother in India.
What happens when Umesh “Mike” Jain, a young company comptroller, takes his boss’ wife to help him search for a suitable marriage partner in India? The heart-warming, sometimes humorous account, has some unexpected revelations. Based on Ellen Goldberg’s 1982 journal, this book is the unique story of her first trip out of the United States.
Using excerpts from the book, Ellen will tell stories of her adventures. She will discuss how her experience in India launched her passion to unite communities through international work. She has done extensive work with “Sister Cities” and other organizations. Ellen will also tell us about international opportunities in Houston to build peace and solve problems in the world.
Copies of the book are available for $20 at the temple office. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will go back to HCRJ.
Indian pastries and Chai Tea will accompany our discussion on June 4. To sign up, please contact Justin at 713-782-4162 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 26 at 10:30AM
“The Loneliest Marriage: The Irish and Jewish Short Story Traditions” with Robert Cremins, an HCRJ member and Lecturer at The Honors College at the University of Houston
The title of this presentation, “Loneliest Marriage”, comes from an observation made by the Irish writer Frank O’Connor, one of the great practitioners and theorists of the short story: “J.D. Salinger makes a bold bid for our sympathy by producing characters who are the product of a Jewish-Irish marriage—the loneliest combination of submerged populations one can imagine.” By “submerged population,” O’Connor meant a group of people pushed to the margins of society, and often ignored or caricatured in other forms of literature. But the short story is a form that specializes in shining a sympathetic light on the marginalized. It has flourished in Jewish and Irish culture (and indeed here in the American South). Is it any great surprise then to find archetypal Jewish figures such as the schlemiel and the luftmensch discernible in Irish short stories, or that James Joyce was a student of Jewish culture? We’ll meet luftmenschen both on the streets of Dublin and in the lost world of the shtetl (“Gimpel the Fool” and “A Little Cloud”). And in masterworks by Bashevis Singer (“The Cafeteria”) and Joyce (“The Dead”), we’ll consider the proposition that the most powerful stories from both cultures (which, of course, overlap) are ghost stories.
January 22 at 10:45AM
by Gloria Goldreich
with slide lecture presentation by Ellen Orseck
November 12 at 8:00PM
Film Screening at 44th Ann and Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book & Arts Fair at Jewish Community Center: A Tale of Love and Darkness
September 18 at 10:30AM
by Leah Lax
by Mishka Ben-David
by Jonathan D. Sarna and Benjamin Shapell
to be determined
by Anita Diamont
by Neville D. Frankel
Violins of Hope
by James A. Grymes
An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba
by Ruth Behar
By Jodi Picoult
A Guide for the Perplexed
By Dara Horn
The Family: A Journey into the Heart of the Twentieth Century
by David Laskin
November 10 at 8:00 PM at ERJCC
The Ann and Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book & Arts Fair
Testimony: The Legacy of Schindler’s List and the USC Shoah Foundation
by Stephen D. Smith
a documentary film about the Jews who escaped the holocaust via China.
My Father’s Paradise
by Ariel Sabar
by William Landay
In the Garden of Beasts
by Erik Larson
A Dual Inheritance: A Novel
by Joanna Hershon
by Alice Hoffman
Flowers in the Blood
by Gay Courter
A Thread of Grace
by Mary Doria Russell
2013 Reading List
2012 Reading List
2011 Reading List
2010 Reading List