Normal Medium Large

Kripke Jewish Federation Library

 » Dorothy Kaplan Book Discussion Group

The Dorothy Kaplan Book Discussion Group

November 15, 1979 marked the debut of the Jewish Federation Library Book discussion group (renamed the Dorothy Kaplan Book Discussion Group). A team of dedicated women, including late "Library Diva" Dorothy Kaplan, were intent on beginning a book club at the Library. Their goal was to select books with Jewish content and/or authors which they hoped would appeal to women of different ages and taste. With the diversity of topics - everything from poetry and mysteries to science fiction and biographies – and guest facilitators, the Dorothy Kaplan Book Discussion Group offers something for everyone!  You are welcome to join.  There is no cost and there is always an insightful exchange of observations. 

The group meets on the third Thursday of each month from 1-2 pm in the Kripke Jewish Federation Library.  Contact Library Specialist, Shirly Banner, at Next group meeting on March 16, 2017.

January 16, 2020

"henna house" by nomi eve

“A touching coming-of-age story” (Publishers Weekly) in the tradition of Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent, about a young woman, her family, their community and the customs that bind them, from “a storyteller of uncommon energy and poise” (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times).

This vivid saga begins in Yemen in 1920. Adela Damari’s parents’ health is failing as they desperately seek a future husband for their young daughter, who is in danger of becoming adopted by the local Muslim community if she is orphaned. With no likely marriage prospects, Adela’s situation looks dire—until she meets two cousins from faraway cities: a boy with whom she shares her most treasured secret, and a girl who introduces her to the powerful rituals of henna. Ultimately, Adela’s life journey brings her old and new loves, her true calling, and a new life as she is transported to Israel as part of Operation On Wings of Eagles.

Rich, evocative, and enthralling, Henna House is an intimate family portrait interwoven with the traditions of the Yemenite Jews and the history of the Holocaust and Israel. This sensuous tale of love, loss, betrayal, forgiveness—and the dyes that adorn the skin and pierce the heart—will captivate readers until the very last page.

February 20, 2020

"The Two-Family House" by Lynda Cohen Loigman

Lynda Cohen Loigman opens her debut novel by introducing Abe and Helen, Mort and Rose - two brothers and their wives who are living happily together in a Brooklyn brownstone, one family living upstairs and the other family downstairs. Abe and Helen have four sons; Mort and Rose have three daughters. When Helen and Rose discover that they are pregnant at the same time, each woman secretly hopes that this last pregnancy will produce the elusive boy or girl they had been hoping for within their own family dynamic.

On a cold, blizzardy winter night with both husbands away on a business trip, both wives go into labor and deliver their children at home with the help of a midwife who is in the neighborhood. Upon Abe and Mort’s return, the husbands learn that Rose has delivered a boy and Helen has delivered a girl. The perfect result, or so it seems.

April 23, 2020

"Seven Blessings: A Novel" by Ruchama King Feuerman

The closed, secret world of matchmaking in contemporary Israel provides the titillating pivot for a story of uncommon proportions. In Ruchama King's skillful hands, Seven Blessings maps out the complicated lives of five expatriate women and men whose search for a soul mate, in many ways, mirrors their search for God.

At the center of this fascinating novel is Beth, who at age thirty-nine longs to be married but despairs she ever will be. When she finally meets the man of her dreams, he has what she believes to be an insurmountable flaw. Can she overcome her repugnance in order to forge a new life? Binyamin, a talented painter and student, lacks the humility to identify a worthy wife. He strains the matchmakers' patience until his search for perfect love finally becomes ridiculous, even to himself. Tsippi and Judith, the matchmakers, are stumbling themselves, with marriages that need propping up. In this land of miracles, seeking the right match, whether between singles, husband and wife, student and teacher, or man and God, becomes a quest that opens the Bible to us in a new way.

May 21, 2020


As autumn washes over coastal Sea Harbor, Massachusetts, the Seaside Knitters anticipate a relaxing off-season. But when murder shatters the peace, the craftiest bunch in town must unravel a killer’s deadly scheme... After retrieving fresh lobster nets from a local Laundromat, Cass Halloran rushes to attend a last-minute gathering with her knitting circle. But Cass can’t stop worrying about the lonely boy seen hanging around the dryers, and the school uniform he left behind in a hurry. When the ladies return the lost clothing the next day, they find the child and his younger sister alone, seemingly abandoned by their mother... The knitters intend to facilitate a family reunion, not investigate a crime. But the death of Dolores Cardozo, a recluse from the edge of town, throws the group for a loop. Especially when the missing mother and one of their own become tied to the victim’s hidden fortune-and her murder... Before scandalous secrets break bonds and rumors tear Sea Harbor apart, the Seaside Knitters need to string together the truth about Dolores-while preventing a greedy murderer from making another move!

June 18, 2020


"Tell your story walking." St. Vincent's Home for Boys, Brooklyn, early 1970s. For Lionel Essrog, a.k.a. The Human Freakshow, a victim of Tourette's syndrome (an uncontrollable urge to shout out nonsense, touch every surface in reach, rearrange objects), Frank Minna is a savior. A local tough guy and fixer, Minna shows up to take Lionel and three of his fellow orphans on mysterious errands: they empty a store of stereos as the owner watches; destroy a small amusement park; visit old Italian men. The four grow up to be the Minna Men, a fly-by-night detective agency-cum-limo service, and their days and nights revolve around Frank, the prince of Brooklyn, who glides through life on street smarts, attitude, and secret knowledge. Then one dreadful night, Frank is knifed and thrown into a Dumpster, and Lionel must become a real detective.

june 18, 2020

"15 seconds" by Andrew Gross

Henry Steadman is a successful Florida plastic surgeon on his way to deliver a keynote address at a conference when his world falls apart. Stopped by the police for a minor traffic violation, the situation escalates and he is pulled from his vehicle, handcuffed, and told he is under arrest. Several other police cars arrive and the questioning turns scary, but after it subsides, and Henry is about to move on, the officer is suddenly killed in his car and there is only one suspect: the very person he was about to arrest not ten minutes before. Henry! When a second friend turns up dead, Henry realizes he's being elaborately framed. But in a chilling twist, the stakes grow even darker, and he is unable to go to the police to clear his name.

History of Book Selections

Selections For 2019

January: "The Heist" by Daniel Silva
Gabriel Allon, art restorer and occasional spy, searches for a stolen masterpiece by Caravaggio in #1 New York Times bestselling author Daniel Silva’s latest action-packed tale of high stakes international intrigue. Sometimes the best way to find a stolen masterpiece is to steal another one . .

February: "A Cup of Tea" by Amy Ephron
Rosemary Fell was born into privilege. She has wealth, well–connected friends, and a handsome fiancé, Philip Alsop. Finally she has everything she wants, until...

March: "After Anatevka: A Novel Inspired by 'Fiddler on the Roof'" by Alexandra Silber
Omaha Jewish Book Month Luncheon
Alexandra Silber was the featured speaker. Her recently completed novel written in the grand tradition of Russian literature continues the story from where Fiddler on the Roof ends.

April: "Nemesis" by Philip Roth
Nemesis follows the angst and dilemma faced by the protagonist Eugene (Bucky) Cantor, starting in the summer of 1944 in Newark, New Jersey. Bucky is the playground director for a summer fitness program in a predominately-Jewish neighborhood when an outbreak of polio spreads throughout the city.

June: "Almost Family" by Roy Hoffman
Hoffman’s novel explores the relationship between black housekeeper Nebraska Waters and Jewish homemaker Vivian Gold over a 30-year span. In Vivian’s Alabama kitchen, they share cups of coffee, discuss the joys and anguishes of their children, and evolve with the changes of the civil rights movement.

July: "Scenes from Village Life" by Amos Oz
Set in the fictional Israeli village of Tel Ilan, Scenes From Village Life is a dark broody book which offers insight into the lives of eight different residents of the village through eight short stories.

August: "Fortune's Daughter" by Alice Hoffman
Fortune’s Daughter is a tribute to the philosophical mysteries surrounding childbirth and motherhood. Alice Hoffman’s book is a tale of searching and discovering for its main characters Rae Perry and Lila Grey.

September: "The Devil In Jerusalem" by Naomi Ragen
The Devil in Jerusalem is an intriguing book based on true events that examines many issues, but foremost an issue of cults. The cult of Ragen’s work is not a typical cult but rather one that revolves around the mystical world of Kabbalah.

October: "On the Basis of Sex" Film
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a struggling attorney and new mother who faces adversity and numerous obstacles in her fight for equal rights. When Ruth takes on a groundbreaking tax case with her husband, attorney Martin Ginsburg, she knows it could change the direction of her career and the way the courts view gender discrimination.

November: "The Atomic City Girls" by Janet Beard
In the bestselling tradition of Hidden Figures and The Wives of Los Alamos, comes this riveting novel of the everyday people who worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II.
“What you see here, what you hear here, what you do here, let it stay here.”

December: "The Floating Feldmans" by Elyssa Friedland
Omaha Jewish Book Month Luncheon
Elyssa Friedland is the author of three novels, The Floating Feldmans, The Intermission, and Love and Miss Communication. She attended Yale University, where she served as managing editor of the Yale Daily News, and is a graduate of Columbia Law School. She worked as an associate at a major firm before turning to writing full-time. Recently, Elyssa has written for The Washington Post, McSweeney’s, POPSUGAR, and Bustle. Prior to law school, Elyssa wrote for several publications, including Modern Bride, New York magazine, Columbia Journalism Review, CBS, Yale Alumni Magazine, and Your Prom. Elyssa grew up in New Jersey and currently lives in New York City with her husband and three young children.

At this year's Jewish Author Luncheon, Elyssa featured The Floating Feldmans in her address. As her most recent work, The Floating Feldmans was a People Magazine “People Pick” and was praised by Cosmopolitan, Bustle, Good Housekeeping, National Geographic, Woman’s Day, Woman’s World, Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist and more. Friedman’s website summarizes the book in the following way:
Sink or swim." Or at least that’s what Annette Feldman tells herself when she books a cruise for her entire family. It’s been over a decade since the Feldman clan has spent more than twenty-four hours under the same roof, but Annette is determined to celebrate her seventieth birthday the right way. Just this once, they are going to behave like an actual family.

Too bad her kids didn’t get the memo.

Selections for 2018 click here.
Selections for 2017 click here.
Selections for 2016 click here.
Selections for 2015 click here.