Tag Archives: Rabbi Israel Zoberman

Library Book Club announces 2012-2013 schedule

The Library Book Club is pleased to announce its sixth year of book talks and discussions, featuring works chosen to give pleasure, and just maybe, a little instruction. As always, we have tried to select a list that will appeal to a variety of interests, with both classics and contemporary works.

President Campo will lead a discussion of "The Tempest" on October 10. (Photo: Daniel McCullum)
Two of our books coincide with works in Regent Theatre’s 2012-2013 season: On Wednesday, October 10 at 1:00, President Campo will lead a discussion of Shakespeare and The Tempest. In April, Rabbi Dr. Israel Zoberman will present an introduction to Yiddish literature and Sholem Aleichem, whose collection of stories, Tevya the Dairyman formed the basis for the musical Fiddler on the Roof. One additional special event In November will be a screening of John Houston’s magnificent film of “The Dead,” the final story in James Joyce’s Dubliners. Professor of Cinema & Television Andrew Quicke will introduce and lead a discussion about the film.

We begin our season on Friday, September 28 at 12:00, with Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. Dr. Susannah Clements, from the Department of Language and Literature, will lead the discussion.

Here it the complete schedule for 2012-2013:

Month Author Title Date & Time
August – September Jane Austen Mansfield Park September 28 at 12:00
October William Shakespeare The Tempest October 10 at 1:00
November – December James Joyce Dubliners November 9 at 12:00
November – December John Huston, director The Dead November 9 at 6:30 p.m.
January – February Pearl Buck The Good Earth T.B.D.
March Willa Cather My Ántonia T.B.D.
April Sholem Aleichem Tevya the Dairyman T.B.D.
May Rebecca Skloot The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks May 31 at 12:00
June – July Barbara Kingsolver The Poisonwood Bible T.B.D.
“It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.” ― C.S. Lewis
As always, it is not necessary to complete the book in order to come to a discussion. The overriding purpose of the Library Book Club is to encourage members of the Regent and CBN communities make time for reading literature. For more information about the Library Book Club, contact Harold Henkel at harohen@regent.edu. If you would like to receive reminders on Facebook of upcoming discussions and events, “like” the Library Facebook page.

John Marcellus Huston

Rabbi Israel Zoberman leads book discussion about Samson

What does the Biblical story of Samson have to do with modern Israel? Quite a lot, according to Israeli author David Grossman and local rabbi Dr. Israel Zoberman.

On April 20, fourteen members of the Regent community joined Rabbi Israel Zoberman for a discussion of Lion’s Honey, David Grossman’s examination and retelling of the Sampson story in Judges 13-16. For Grossman, Samson is a metaphor for the tension inherent in Zionism and modern Israel. As Rabbi Zoberman explained, the birth of modern Zionism was deeply “anti-rabbinic” in calling on Jews in the diaspora to look to themselves for their own welfare and to establish a Jewish state before the coming of the messiah. Whereas European Rabbis had traditionally emphasized study and submission to the Gentile authorities, virulent anti-Semitism convinced Zionists that Jews must have a strong state to guarantee their own survival.

Rabbi Zoberman emphasized that Samson is a metaphor for modern Israeli society not only because, like Samson, Israel is so much stronger than her enemies; but also because like Samson, a Nazarite (from the Hebrew word nazir meaning “consecrated” or “separated”), the Jewish people have been called by God “to be a special people unto Himself” (Deuteronomy 7:6). This tension, according to Rabbi Zoberman, between the Biblical and rabbinic teaching that the Jews are a “special people” unto God and the Zionist insistence that Jews must count on themselves for their defense, is one of the ironies of Jewish history that continue to define and shape Israel today.

For more photos from this even, visit us on Facebook.

Book Discussion & Film Screening: Contemporary Israeli literature and cinema

On Friday, April 20, Dr. Israel Zoberman, from Congregation Beth Chaverim in Virginia Beach, will lead a discussion of Lion’s Honey: The Myth of Sampson, by David Grossman (b. 1954), one of Israel’s most admired contemporary writers. Lion’s Honey is Grossman’s examination and retelling of the Sampson story in Judges 13-16.

The discussion of Lion’s Honey will mark Rabbi Zoberman’s third visit with the Library Book Club. He is a true scholar and an always engaging speaker. Readers interested in Judaism and modern Israel will not want to miss this event. The book is around 100 pages and can be read in one sitting. For a free excerpt, contact Harold Henkel at harohen@regent.edu.

The Lion’s Honey discussion will be at 1:00 p.m. in the Library Conference Room, located in the Library Administration area.

As a complement to the tragic story of Samson, Professor of Cinema Andrew Quicke will introduce and screen a contemporary Israeli comedy. A Matter of Size is a film about a “Sampson” of a different sort—an obese cook who discovers a talent and love for Sumo wrestling. The screening will be on Thursday, April 19th at 6:30 p.m. in Screening Room B (COM 143).

Rabbi Israel Zoberman leads book discussion at the Library

Biblical & Theological Studies major Jessica Marzucco with Rabbi Zoberman
Written by Harold Henkel, Associate Librarian

On May 12th, thirteen members of the Regent community joined Rabbi Israel Zoberman for a discussion of In the Heart of the Seas, a modern fable by Shmuel Yosef Agnon (1888-1970). In the Heart of the Seas is a modern fable about a group of Hassidim from Eastern Europe making aliyah (“ascent”), the return to Israel. Deceptively simple, In the Heart of the Seas is a retelling of the Exodus from Egypt. In Agnon’s story aliyah is both a physical and spiritual journey, and as with the ancient Israelites, the travelers must overcome many hardships and temptations to return to Egypt/Europe.

Rabbi Zoberman, who speaks both Yiddish and Hebrew, was an ideal guide to Agnon. Dr. Zoberman explained that one of the purposes in Agnon’s works was to recreate the world of East European Jewry, which perished in the Holocaust. The conversation covered an exceptionally wide range of topics, including Hassidism, Zionism, Rabbinical interpretations of Scripture, the Holocaust, and contemporary Israeli culture. Rabbi Zoberman also said that, while he had read In the Heart of the Seas years before in Hebrew, the positive reception to the story by readers at Regent had given him a new appreciation for the work as being not just for Jews, but for all readers sensitive to the story’s spiritual message. Agnon would seem to agree, concluding the book with a verse from the Psalms for readers who have derived benefit from his story: “But those who wait for the Lord, they shall inherit the land” (Psalm 37:9).

Rabbi Israel Zoberman to lead discussion of S. Y. Agnon

S. Y. Agnon
Next month, on the Thursday following Commencement, Dr. Israel Zoberman, from Congregation Beth Chaverim in Virginia Beach, will lead a discussion of In the Heart of the Seas, a modern fable by Shmuel Yosef Agnon (1988-1970), universally regarded as the greatest master of Modern Hebrew fiction. In the Heart of the Seas is a short work about a group Eastern European Hassidim making the long and difficult passage to Israel, which in Agnon’s telling is a spiritual as well as physical journey.

Rabbi Zoberman led the Book Club’s discussion last year of Amos Oz and spoke at the Library’s Holocaust Memorial Service this past January. The Library is pleased to have Dr. Zoberman visit us again to enrich our understanding of one of the essential writers of Modern Hebrew and Israeli literature.

In the Heart of the Seas is written in clear, spare prose and is only 128 pages long, making it an excellent introduction to Agnon’s work. The Library has four copies of the work, and some excellent deals are available from Amazon and Half.com.

The discussion of In the Heart of the Seas will take place on Thursday, May 12th at 1:00 in the Library Conference Room. For a free excerpt of the book or for more information about the Library Book Club, contact Harold Henkel at harohen@regent.edu or 352-4198.