The votes are in, and the 5778 One Book, One Rodfei Zedek selection is My Father's Paradise by Ariel Sabar, ISBN 978-1565129337 (Paperback).
To purchase: The Seminary Co-op Bookstore is ordering copies for congregants to purchase. Also available via Kindle by clicking here.
Start reading! And keep an eye out for information about our first book-related event. One Book, One Rodfei Zedek is meant to stimulate conversations, both formal and informal. My Father's Paradise will inspire a series of explorations of its content and context throughout the coming year.
As they crossed the bridge to the bus stop, they saw that another crowd had gotten there first: Hundreds of Muslims had lined the streets to bid their neighbors farewell. Old women raised cries of "li-li-li-li-li-li", ululating as if a loved one had died… One beggar—beloved of the townspeople, though he was slightly mad—pounded his head against a newly erected electric pole. "Where are my brothers going?" he shrieked, until people crowded in to console him. "Why are they forsaking us?"
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography, Ariel Sabar's memoir travels back to the Kurdish city where his father, the celebrated Aramaic scholar Yona Sabar, was born and raised, a lost community where Jews and Muslims lived side by side for generations until the Iraqi government "persuaded" the Jews to emigrate. In novelistic scenes rich with detail, Sabar recreates his grandparents' lives and the mud-brick houses, narrow alleys, and vast plains among which they lived. He then relates his father's adult efforts to preserve the language of his boyhood and navigate the netherworld of life as an unwilling and often undervalued immigrant in both Israel and America. In the end, the author confronts his own prejudices and conflicts about his identity and his father's legacy.