Summer Book Club 2023

Summer Book Club 2023

Starts July 11, 2023 - Ends August 22, 2023
10:30 AM-11:30 AM


Summer Book Club Is Back!  Do you love to read? Enjoy meaningful discussions?  The Bender JCC is thrilled to announce that we are bringing back our in-person Summer Book Club, as part of our Lessans Family Literary Series. We are fortunate to welcome Bender JCC community member and author, Deborah Kalb who will serve as our moderator.

It’s a great way to gather, make new friends, and engage in interesting conversation.  All are welcome!

*Please note all books are available to borrow at the Montgomery County Public Library.  Click Here:

 Tuesday, July 11 | 10:30 AM | Free

The Red Balcony by Jonathan Wilson

In 1933, Ivor Castle, a well-to-do English Jew and Oxford graduate, arrives in Jerusalem to assist in the defense of two Russian Jews accused of assassinating Zionist leader Haim Arlosoroff. As Ivor helps ready the case, he receives a crash course in the convoluted relationships among the Jews, Arabs, and British who all lay claim to Palestine. At the same time, he becomes involved with two women: Tsiona Kerem, a free-spirited artist from Tel Aviv who might have proof that the two accused men are innocent, and Susannah Green, a Jewish debutante from Baltimore who is touring the Holy Land with her parents.

Hanging in the balance is a controversial Zionist plan to negotiate with Hitler for the release of 50,000 German Jews to Palestine. Vivid atmosphere animates Wilson’s story of expatriates, in the manner of Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet and Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano.

With a mix of intrigue, romance, and 1930s realpolitik, the author immerses readers in Ivor’s initial confusion and growing sense of moral clarity. Historical fiction fans are in for a treat.

Tuesday, August 1 | 10:30 AM | Free

The Mitford Affair by Marie Benedict

Between the World Wars, the six Mitford sisters — each more beautiful, brilliant, and eccentric than the next — dominate the English political, literary, and social scenes. Though they’ve weathered scandals before, the family falls into disarray when Diana divorces her wealthy husband to marry a fascist leader and Unity follows her sister’s lead all the way to Munich, inciting rumors that she’s become Hitler’s mistress.

As the Nazis rise in power, novelist Nancy Mitford grows suspicious of her sisters’ constant visits to Germany and the high-ranking fascist company they keep. When she overhears alarming conversations and uncovers disquieting documents, Nancy must make excruciating choices as Great Britain goes to war with Germany.

​Probing the torrid political climate in the lead-up to World War II and the ways that seemingly sensible people can be sucked into radical action, The Mitford Affair follows Nancy’s valiant efforts to stop the Nazis from taking over Great Britain, and the complicated choices she must make between the personal and the political.

Tuesday, August 22 | 10:30 AM | Free

Once We Were Home by Jennifer Rosner

Once We Were Home, is a thought-pro­vok­ing, mov­ing tale about sev­er­al chil­dren whose Jew­ish par­ents have giv­en them to Chris­tians in des­per­ate attempts to save them from the Nazis. The plot tells the sto­ries of Roger, a young French Jew­ish boy hid­den away in a con­vent; Oskar and Ana, sib­lings whose moth­er arranges for them to be smug­gled out of a Pol­ish ghet­to and hid­den with a Chris­t­ian cou­ple; and Rena­ta, an archae­ol­o­gy stu­dent whose mys­te­ri­ous back­ground grows clear­er over the course of the nov­el. Span­ning sev­er­al decades, the book’s scope is ambi­tious.

Author Jennifer Ros­ner sets Renata’s nar­ra­tive in late 1960s Israel while also attend­ing to Roger’s, Oskar’s, and Ana’s in war-torn Europe. She con­tin­ues to fol­low these three war orphans until their time­lines, and plot­lines, inter­sect with Renata’s.

For more information, please contact Marcie Blackman at or 301.348.3808.