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Book Club: Session One


I think there’s an appetite to know. I think there’s an incredible hunger to understand…We have to embrace ignorance because it is a permanent state in Jewish learning. You will never master it. But instead of feeling frustrated, we can feel energized by that. 

reading megillah
Our first discussion with author Abigail Pogrebin in Book Club: Finding Sparkle in the Jewish Calendar began with a question: “How can we make the Jewish holidays “urgent” to Jews today?” As participants shared observations about the Judaism of their childhood and adulthoods, more questions emerged: how can we make Jewish education relevant? how can we encourage a welcoming synagogue culture? At one point, Abigail remarked that “the innovation should come from the tradition,” a nod to a primary theme of her book, My Jewish Year. In the memoir, Abigail writes about a year spent immersed in holiday traditions big and small, attempting to explore Jewish practice and spiritual purpose in the 21st century.


Learn more about Abigail and her work

Here’s what The New York Times has to say about My Jewish Year 

“Knowing is Belonging” from On Being

Interview with Abigail on The Today Show

Read an interview with Abigail! 


Related Resources

Kaplan and the Meaning of Ritual: Reconciling the Mind and the Heart

The author reflects on the way Mordecai Kaplan's philosophy  helped him see Jewish ritual as spiritually meaningful and, at the same time, intellectually honest.


Tzedakah and the Jewish Holidays: Giving for Social Change

For centuries, giving to tzedakah has been a traditional way to mark Jewish holidays. But all holidays are not created equal. In this resource, we offer connections between the theme of each holiday or season, and some possible giving opportunities that correspond with it. 


Fall Holiday Glossary

This file contains a helpful glossary of terms for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. It begins with a letter to parents suggesting themes to think about during the holiday season.