In the midst of the emerging pandemic and in the wake of the World Zionist Congress election campaign, MERCAZ USA launched an online book club featuring contemporary Israeli literature that provides insight into and understanding of the lives and concerns of our Israeli counterparts: MERCAZ READS ISAREL, a partnership between MERCAZ USA, MERCAZ Canada, MERCAZ UK, and the Israel Forever Foundation.
Our first book club meeting in June was with author Avigail Graetz. Nearly 150 book club members joined Avigail on Zoom to explore and discuss her book “A Rabbi’s Daughter.” This was followed in September with our second book club meeting, where we drew an equally large audience for our dive into “If All The Seas Were Ink” with author Ilana Kurshan.
In addition to our book club discussions with authors on Zoom, individuals can join our ongoing discussion of our book selections in our book club’s Facebook group.
This winter, we will be reading ‘All The Rivers’ by acclaimed novelist Dorit Rabinyan. This work, a controversial, award-winning story about the passionate but untenable affair between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man, was banned from classrooms by Israel’s Ministry of Education. This remarkable novel is a bold portrayal of the strains – and delights – of a forbidden relationship.
In choosing this book, MERCAZ is not endorsing its position or its politics, rather we want to expose our readers to a different Israeli perspective. This book may be a challenging read for some but exploring the complex issues of Israeli life is at the heart of our mission with MERCAZ READS ISRAEL.