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From September to December 2023, join us in reading and discussing Stories of Exile, tales of migration, memory, dislocation, and transformation. Through a reading group and public programs, we’ll explore the refugee experiences of Eastern European Jews in the Holocaust and those of contemporary Syrians fleeing their war-torn country. Our public programs will feature an award-winning photographer, a Holocaust scholar, a film by an Academy Award-winning director, and a live play reading with Luna Stage as well as discussions with refugee resettlement workers, local faith leaders and our Syrian-American neighbors.

Registration is required and free. Please register at adultschool.org

Stories of Exile Reading Group

THIS PROGRAM IS FULL. From September to December, MPL librarian Ariel Zeitlin will lead four book discussions. Free copies of the books are available while supplies last. All titles are also available as eBooks through MPL.

Wednesday, September 13, 1 p.m. “In the Land of the Postscript” by Chava Goldfarb. (Translated from Yiddish, 2023.) We’ll focus on “Edgia’s Revenge.” A Holocaust survivor in Montreal immediately after the war is haunted by the memory of her own sins in a concentration camp.
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Wednesday, October 11, 1 p.m.”On the Landing” by Yenta Mash. (Translated from Yiddish, 2018). We’ll focus on the title story, about a woman’s desperate attempt to escape Stalin’s gulag in Siberia, and “Alone,” about a young girl’s solitary trek with a cart through the stark, frozen beauty of the Siberian forest. 
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Wednesday, November 8, 1 p.m. “The Glatstein Chronicles” by Jacob Glatstein. (Translated from Yiddish, 2023). We’ll focus on Book One. A Yiddish-American man of letters hears about Hitler’s infamous Night of the Long Knives while sailing home to his mother’s deathbed in Lublin. 
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Wednesday, December 6, 1 p.m.”Exit West” by Mohsin Hamsin. Winner of the L.A. Times Book Prize for Fiction. A young couple in an unnamed Middle Eastern city on the brink of war somehow escape their country through a series of magical doors. There they struggle to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are.
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Stories of Exile Programs

Our public events are intended to enhance and support the Stories of Exile Reading Group, but you don’t have to attend the book discussions to participate.

Sunday, October 15, 4 p.m.
Photography, Family and Memory After the Holocaust.
Award-winning photographer Sophie Barbasch talks to Holocaust scholar James E. Young about the haunting prints of a vanished world taken by her survivor grandparents, which she first found as negatives in a shopping bag.
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Sunday, November 5, 3:30-6 p.m. Film Screening & Discussion of “Simple As Water” (2021). A documentary film that follows four Syrian families seeking asylum across five countries. A discussion with refugee workers, local faith leaders, and our Syrian-American neighbors will follow. View the trailer here!
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Tuesday, December 5, 6:30 p.m. Scenes from “Exit West”: A Play Reading with Luna Stage. With Dagmara Dominczyk (“Succession”). A 20-minute reading from “Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid, adapted by Luna Stage artistic director Ari Laura Kreith for the library. A discussion with Kreith and Rabbi Elliott Tepperman of Bnai Keshet will follow.
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The Yiddish Book Center’s “Stories of Exile” Reading Groups for Public Libraries is made possible by a gift from Sharon Karmazin.
Community read programs are funded in part by the Montclair Public Library Foundation.

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