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Synagogue Scholars” Book Review at B’nai Sholom

B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation continues its popular “Synagogue Scholars” lecture series with a review by University at Albany Professor Martha Rozett of The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit by Lucette Lagnado.

Rozett will present her review of Lagnado’s book during the congregation’s Friday, February 8, Shabbat service. The service and program, open to all who wish to worship and learn, begin at 8 p.m. B’nai Sholom is located at 420 Whitehall Road, Albany.             

Lagnado’s award-winning memoir tells the story of her Egyptian family, who left their home, first for France and then to New York City, after the 1956 war over the Suez Canal. The title character is Lagnado’s father, a cosmopolitan businessman known throughout Cairo’s wealthy Jewish community, who was at once a devout Jew and a dapper ladies’ man, a difficult husband and a devoted father. Lagnado’s account of her childhood in Egypt and her family’s adjustment to the New World is a fascinating window into the lives of immigrants from a country that is not normally thought of in the context of the Jewish diaspora.

Rozett’s own most recent work is When People Wrote Letters: A Family Chronicle (The Troy Book Makers, 2011), a story told through family letters and autobiographies about the travels and careers of her mother and great aunt and about a romance threatened by the differences between New England Episcopalians and New York Jews. A Shakespeare scholar, she authored Constructing a World: Shakespeare’s England and the New Historical Fiction, a look at the way historical novelists challenge our assumptions about the past, and Talking Back to Shakespeare, which examined the way Shakespeare’s plays have been appropriated and transformed. Rozett is a professor of English at UAlbany with an affiliate appointment in Judaic studies. She frequently teaches contemporary historical fiction, including fiction on the history of the Jews, and lectures in the community at Bethlehem Institute for Lifelong Learning and at the Albany Public Library.  Rozett holds a doctorate in English from the University of Michigan.






Begun in 2004, the “Synagogue Scholars” lecture series spotlights B’nai Sholom congregants who are recognized scholars in their fields. Dr. David Ray, who specializes in clinical research and treatment of HIV and AIDS at the Whitney M. Young Health Center in Albany, will wrap up the current series Friday, April 12, with a talk about what is meant by “good health.”

For more information about the “Synagogue Scholars” series, visit or contact the B’nai Sholom office at or phone 518-482-5283.

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