Join Jewish Studies for our redesigned, community-wide book series, People of the Book. Professor Ezra Cappell will facilitate conversations on major themes and ideas animating twentieth century and contemporary Jewish American literature. Please come with your personal copy of the book.
February 18 – The Assistant (1957)
Bernard Malamud tells a simple story of a poor Jewish immigrant grocer and his Italian Catholic clerk, who together attempt to keep their struggling grocery store afloat in mid-century Brooklyn. Through the lens of their relationship we will discuss the themes of tzedakah, mid-century American anti-Semitism, inter-religious conflict, and ultimately the power of human understanding and redemption.
April 1 – The Plot Against America (2004)
Philip Roth’s 2004 novel is a “counter-history” that imagines a terrifying alternate American response to the threat of Nazism. In creating a fictional narrative to American history (aviator Charles Lindberg is elected as US President in 1940), Roth shines a light on America’s actual WWII history and the conflicts that are still very much splitting America today.
April 15 – The World to Come (2006)
Dara Horn’s award-winning novel is a detective novel, a love story, and a meditation on the tragedies of twentieth century Jewish history. We will discuss the American and European Jewish mesorah—the transmitting of tradition and culture from one generation to the next.
Ezra Cappell joined the Jewish Studies Program in the Fall of 2018 as Professor of Jewish Studies and English. Dr. Cappell comes to the College following a career at the University of Texas at El Paso, where he was instrumental in starting a Jewish Studies Program. Dr. Cappell holds degrees from NYU (M.Phil and PhD) as well as City College and Queens College. His publications include American Talmud: The Cultural Work of Jewish American Fiction (SUNY Press 2007).
Sponsor: Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program