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Israeli Authors: Moriel Rothman-Zecher

Moriel Rothman-Zecher Headshot

Each month from December through June, we will read and discuss a book that is related to BJ’s “Race and Us” initiative from the perspective of the land of Israel. In addition to novels, we also dip into some short stories and a graphic novel. With an expertise in Jewish literature and history, respectively, Jennifer and Carole are excited to revive their facilitation of this incredible group.

We will create an arc of related themes to dissect over the course of the year, but you are welcome to join us for one or all sessions.

This month, we will read Moriel Rothman-Zecher’s Sadness is a White Bird. 

Registration is essential—registration closes 5:00PM the day before. 

This “lyrical and searing” debut novel is a coming-of-age story narrated by Jonathan, 19, who is preparing to serve in the Israeli army as he reconciles his loyalties to family and country with his close relationship to brother-sister Palestinian twins. The title derives from the opening verse of a poem by Mahmoud Darwish, the award-winning Palestinian poet: “Sadness is a white bird that does not come near a battlefield.” The protagonist invokes snippets of Darwish’s poetry throughout the novel, with a brief appearance of Yehudah Amichai’s verse as well. We look forward to continuing our ongoing discussion on “Race and Us” and the ways difference is revealed in story-telling. For background on the author, please see “Why I Won’t Serve Israel,” the author’s New York Times op-ed piece about why he refused to join the Israeli Defense Forces.


B’nai Jeshurun
(212) 787-7600
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Rabbi Rachel Cowan Chapel
270 West 89th Street
New York, NY 10024 United States
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