Rachel Kamin, Book Group Leader, and Director, Cultural & Learning Center at North Suburban Synagogue Beth El

Washing the Dead by Michelle Brafman

Three generations of Jewish women grapple with family secrets in a novel that explores religious community, adulthood, and the power of ritual.

Coming in Spetmber 2016:

Bertrand Court by Michelle Brafman

Intertwines seventeen luminous narratives about the secrets of an unforgettable cast of politicos, filmmakers, and housewives, all tied to a suburban D.C. cul-de-sac. Linked through bloodlines and grocery lines, they respond to life’s bruises by grabbing power, sex, or the family silver. As they atone and forgive, they unmask the love and truth that hop white picket fences.

Further Reading:

Dignity Beyond Death: The Jewish Preparation For Burial by Rochel Berman and Irving Greenberg

Through personal interviews, the book examines the Jewish rituals of death and burial from the point of view of the volunteers who undertake it.

Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss by Hope Edelman

Explores the myriad ways that losing a mother can affect almost every aspect and passage of a woman’s life.

Her Face in the Mirror: Jewish Women on Mothers and Daughters by Faye Moskowitz

A beautiful exploration of the difficult and affirming relationship between mothers and their daughters in the lives of Jewish women.

A Leak in the Heart: Tales from a Woman’s Life by Faye Moskowitz

Twenty-four autobiographical essays insightfully reflect the vulnerability of growing up in small-town Jackson, Michigan, during the 1930s and 1940s as part of a puzzled and unassimilated Jewish Orthodox family.


Disobedience by Naomi Alderman

Learning that her Orthodox Jewish rabbi father has passed away, Manhattan single woman Ronit Krushka returns to the home she fled years earlier and reconnects with a beloved cousin and a forbidden childhood sweetheart, only to become a threat to her former community.

White Walls: A Memoir about Motherhood, Daughterhood, and the Mess in Between by Judith Batalion

Details how the author grew up in a house with an obsessive hoarder parent and how she escaped as an adult into a home marked by fierce organization and cleanliness only to confront past dynamics when she became a mother herself.

A Remarkable Kindness by Diana Bletter

As war breaks out in Israel, four women from different backgrounds come together in a seaside village as they come to terms with love, loss, and the outbreak of war.

I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits

A novel spanning four decades, from pre-World War II Transylvania to contemporary New York, looks at the cause and effect of both belief and non-belief within the Jewish religion, in a tale that focuses on the relationship of two sisters within a Hasidic sect.

Moving Waters: Stories by Racelle Rosett

A television producer who moonlights as a cantor, an actress who leaves her husband for another woman and enters a mikvah to mark the transition, a young widow who gets her hair colored to prepare for the unveiling of her husband’s gravestone – Racelle Rosett’s debut story collection enters the lives of members of a Reform Jewish community in Hollywood and explores the unexpected role that ancient ritual plays in the lives of these characters living in contemporary Los Angeles.

The Wholeness of a Broken Heart by Katie Singer

Hanna Felber delves into four generations of her Jewish family’s history to try to shed light on her formerly loving mother’s abandonment of her as she reaches adulthood.

The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem by Sarit Yishai-Levi

A sweeping novel set against the Golden Age of Hollywood, the dark days of World War II, and the swinging ’70s follows four generations of women in Jerusalem as they forge their own paths through times of dramatic change