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UAlbany Professor Martha Rozett to Lead “Synagogue Scholars” Book Discussion at B’nai Sholom

B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation continues its popular “Synagogue Scholars” series with a book discussion by University at Albany Professor Martha Rozett of The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks.

Rozett will lead the conversation immediately following the congregation’s Friday, January 27, 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, New York.      

The Secret Chord is a rich and utterly absorbing novel about the life of King David, from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of People of the Book and March. Brooks brings King David to life tracing the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage. The New York Times called it a “thundering, gritty, emotionally devastating reconsideration of the story of King David – makes a masterly case for the generative power of retelling.”

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” series spotlights individuals in the Capital Region Jewish community who are recognized scholars in their fields.

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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