Sunday, February 23 at 11:15AM
by Marc Grossberg
Join us for our next book discussion on Sunday, February 23 at 11:15am as author Marc Grossberg discusses his book, The Best People: A Tale of Trials and Errors!
Paddy Moran, a former cop from Brooklyn, is a newly licensed attorney in Houston with dreams and aspirations to make it big. He survives early rough bumps and ethical challenges. Then, through networking, he lands two high-profile clients. With his brash moxie and brilliant legal strategy, he gets outstanding outcomes that put him on the success trajectory to the upper echelons of the city’s divorce bar. But, faced with difficult choices in high-stakes litigation, will he balance his thirst for recognition and respect with his sense of right and wrong?
The Best People also follows Pilar Galt, a sensuous, intelligent single mother from the Houston barrios, for whom a temp assignment evolves into a relationship with the richest man in town. Her path intersects with Paddy’s and eventually converges with his during a pivotal time in her life when she must overcome self-destructive tendencies to survive.
A legal drama and social satire set after Enron and before the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, The Best People portrays a Houston as it is: a glitzy meritocracy populated with larger-than-life characters. It is the landscape where the country-club and café-society sets clash amidst clever legal maneuvering, big law firm politics, a Ponzi scheme, and judicial corruption.
In a stunning debut novel, author Marc Grossberg, a native Houstonian who has practiced law in Houston for more than fifty years, offers a glimpse into a world where you can’t always tell who the best people are.
The Best People: A Tale of Trials and Errors can be purchased at the HCRJ office for $17.
To sign up for this book event, please contact Justin at 713-782-4162 or Justin@hcrj.org.
Monday, November 4 at 7:30PM
Sunday, September 15 at 11:15AM
by Mimi Swartz
At our next book discussion in September, Mimi Swartz will visit HCRJ to discuss her book, Ticker: The Quest to Create an Artificial Heart. Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States and worldwide, with an estimated 50,000 people in dire need of a heart transplant to survive. Yet in the United States, only 2,500 heart transplants are performed a year: there simply are not enough healthy organs to go around. Because heart disease, which kills more people around the world than all the cancers combined, is the primary threat to human health across the globe, the search for a successful artificial heart has been a holy grail of medicine for decades, since the first open-heart surgery.
Part investigative journalism, part medical mystery, Ticker by renowned journalist Mimi Swartz, is a dazzling story of modern innovation. The book takes readers on an incredible behind-the-scenes journey into a heart surgeon’s epic pursuit of a total artificial heart—a dream of a reliable, implantable device that would extend the lives of patients who have no other recourse.
Sign up with Justin at 713-782-4162 or Justin@hcrj.org.
Sunday, July 21 at 12pm
by Celeste Ng
Join us for our next book discussion! Our book for the summer is Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, this is a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.
Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.
We will first meet for a pot luck brunch and to discuss the book at HCRJ at 12pm and then head to The Museum of Fine Arts for a docent-led tour at 2pm. The docent will select several artworks on view at the Museum that they feel best connect with aspects of the featured book.
$15 for admission to the museum. $10 for ages 65+. Members free. Sign up with Justin at 713-782-4162 or Justin@hcrj.org.
Sunday, May 5 at 2:3opm
At our next book discussion on Sunday, May 5 at 2:30pm, writer, preacher and activist, the Reverend Joel Goza, will be with us to discuss his recently-released book, America’s Unholy Ghosts: The Racist Roots of Our Faith and Politics which received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. This book examines the DNA of the ideologies that shape our nation, ideologies that are as American as apple pie but that too often justify and perpetuate racist ideas and racial inequalities. MLK challenged us to investigate the “ideational roots of race hate” and Ghosts does just that.
This book explores a philosophical “trinity”—Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Adam Smith—whose works collectively helped to institutionalize, imagine, and ingrain racist ideologies into the hearts and minds of the American people.
Join us for an inspiring afternoon with Rev. Goza as we explore ways to nurture our hopes and desires for a faith and politics marked by mercy, justice, and equity. In addition to being an inspiring speaker and brilliant thinker, Rev. Goza is a very dear friend of Rabbi Gross.
Copies of the book are $25 and will be available for purchase from the HCRJ office starting on Wednesday, April 3. RSVP to Justin at 713-782-4162 or Justin@hcrj.org.
Sunday, March 31 at 10:30am
by Tara Westover
Join us on Sunday, March 31 at 10:30am for our next book discussion at Houston Congregation for Reform Judaism! We’ll discuss the memoir, Educated, by TaraWestover. This is an unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University.
Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.
Jay Stailey will lead our book discussion. Jay has been a Principal in both low income and highly affluent neighborhoods. His storytelling skills, keen understanding of children and reflection on public schools and how they work makes Jay an expert of education and parenting.
Educated can be purchased on Amazon. To sign up for the book discussion, please contact Justin at 713-782-4162 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, January 20 at 2pm
Join us for our first book discussion of 2019 on Sunday, January 20 at 2pm at HCRJ! We’ll discuss the book, Futureface: A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging, by Alex Wagner, a noted TV news anchor and host of the former Alex Wagner Show on MSNBC. Wagner’s new book focuses on her personal quest investigating the family stories she grew up with by doing genealogical research and DNA testing, with a goal of learning who she is and where her family came from.
Stefani Elkort Twyford will lead our discussion. She will talk about the book as well as discuss her own journey over the past 10 years doing DNA testing and exploring her family’s genealogy that resulted in an eventual trip to the “old country” this past summer. She will give some pointers on how you can get started now in exploring your own family legacy.
Stefani is the current President of the Greater Houston Jewish Genealogical Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to collecting, preserving and disseminating genealogical information, techniques and research tools among individuals who are interested in Jewish Genealogy and family history. Stefani is the president and founder of Legacy Multimedia, a company she started over 16 years ago designing, developing and implementing award-winning video biographies and tribute videos. Her mission is to help families, individuals, companies and organizations chronicle history, share life stories, connect generations and preserve their legacies in timeless, high-quality multimedia presentations.
Futureface can be purchased on Amazon. Refreshments will be provided. Sign up for this book discussion with Justin at 713-782-4162 or email@example.com.
Sunday, January 21 at 10:30AM
Join us for our next book discussion! We will discuss Small Great Things, a #1 New York Times Bestseller! With richly layered characters and a gripping moral dilemma that will lead readers to question everything they know about privilege, power, and race, Small Great Things is the stunning new page-turner from Jodi Picoult.
What They’re Saying about the book:
“Jodi Picoult is never afraid to take on hot topics, and in Small Great Things, she tackles race and discrimination in a way that will grab hold of you and refuse to let you go. . . . This page-turner is perfect for book clubs.”—Popsugar
Small Great Things is the most important novel Jodi Picoult has ever written. . . . It will challenge her readers . . . [and] expand our cultural conversation about race and prejudice.” —The Washington Post
The book can be purchased online on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble among other places.
Dena Marks, Associate Director of the Anti-Defamation League, will lead our discussion. A light breakfast will be provided. To sign up, contact Justin at 713-782-4162 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, November 6 at 7:30PM
Our next book club event is in connection with The Ann and Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book & Arts Festival at the Jewish Community Center (5601 South Braeswood Boulevard, Houston, TX 77096).
HCRJ’s own, Lori Farris, is co-chairing “Take Your Pick: Reading as a Community” with Julia Dahl and Brian Platzer in November. Dahl, author of Conviction, and Platzer, author of Bed-Stuy Is Burning, will be attendance to discuss their books. HCRJ has books for sale in the temple office. Conviction is $28.13 and Bed-Stuy is Burning is $28.15. Free entry to the Take Your Pick program is included with your book purchase and supports the JCC. Interested in attending, but not planning to read the book? HCRJ has you covered. We are a community partner for the festival and we have 10 free tickets available to this program. Attendees are invited to a VIP wine and cheese reception at the JCC prior to the discussion.
To sign up, please contact Justin at 713-782-4162 or email@example.com.
Sunday, August 27 at 2:00PM
by Betty Baer
Thirty years ago, Betty Baer was incarcerated in a Texas prison for a spray painting offense she did not commit. She was convicted because of her leftist beliefs. With poignancy and humor, her new memoir reflects on her Jewish New York roots, the sixties radical movement, life behind bars and the criminal justice system, a story that remains relevant today.
Betty Baer grew up in a Jewish middle class suburb of New York and moved to Houston in the 1970’s to spread the revolution. Following her incarceration, she graduated college and became an occupational therapist at the VA hospital. She lives in Houston with her husband and family.
We have copies of Betty’s memoir available for purchase for $15 in the temple office. A portion of the proceeds from book sales will go back to HCRJ.
To sign up for this book event, please contact Justin at 713-782-4162 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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
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