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UAlbany Professor Martha Rozett to Lead “Synagogue Scholars” Discussion of Provocative Book

B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation resumes its “Synagogue Scholars” series with a discussion led by Professor Emerita Martha Rozett of People Love Dead Jews by Dara Horn Friday, Jan. 6, immediately following the congregation’s 7 p.m. Shabbat service.

B’nai Sholom is at 420 Whitehall Road, Albany, New York.  The service and program, open to all who wish to worship and learn, will be in person (weather permitting) and via Zoom.  For Zoom link, contact the B’nai Sholom office.

Horn’s essay collection has a title that seems designed to offend or challenge the reader.  Most of the 12 essays were published elsewhere in recent years and some have been the subjects of a podcast on Tablet.  Author of The World to Come and All Other Nights and with a doctorate in Hebrew and Yiddish literature, Horn is troubled by the way readers expect “uplifting” stories about Jews and their rescuers that emphasize redemption, arguing that such stories minimize the suffering experienced by the Jewish people throughout history.  Horn’s is a provocative book, but a timely one for a world in which anti-Semitism, both subtle and violent, continues to be widespread.

In her Jan. 6 talk, Rozett will examine four of the essays in Horn’s book: “Everyone’s (Second) Favorite Dead Jew,” “Frozen Jews,” “Legends of Dead Jews” and “Commuting with Shylock.”

A Shakespeare scholar and professor emerita at the University at Albany, Rozett is the author of 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.  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 authorities in their fields.

B’nai Sholom monitors the rapidly changing COVID situation and follows state and CDC health guidelines regarding masking and social distancing.

For more information, visit www.bnaisholomalbany.org or contact the B’nai Sholom office:  office@bnaisholom.albany.ny.us or 518-482-5283.

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Celebrating its 50th anniversary, B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany is a home for contemporary Reform Judaism in the Capital Region.  Nearly 130 diverse households from six counties seek religious, educational and social fulfillment at B’nai Sholom.  For information about B’nai Sholom and the benefits of belonging, visit www.bnaisholomalbany.org  or contact the office at 518-482-5283 or office@bnaisholom.albany.ny.us.

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