We Must Not Think of Ourselves

We Must Not Think of Ourselves

May 16, 2024
7:00 - 8:30 PM

Purchase Tickets

Thursday, May 16 | 7:00 – 8:30 PM | $18

The Lessans Family Literary Series Presents:

Lauren Grodstein: We Must Not Think of Ourselves

The Lessans Family Literary Series is thrilled to welcome Lauren for her presentation of her new book, We Must Not Think of Ourselves. Laura will be in conversation with author and Bender JCC community member, Deborah Kalb.


Adam Paskow is a schoolteacher forced to share a cramped one-bedroom apartment with two other families as their Jewish community is herded into the Ghetto and cut off from the rest of Warsaw in 1940. Adam uses literature to try to help his students endure their unbearable situation, but it’s nearly impossible to focus on poetry when they are bartering daily for food and the war is intensifying just beyond the Ghetto’s walls. As part of a project to keep the stories of the Ghetto’s residents alive, Adam begins to take testimonies from the children and others to help preserve their histories. These testimonies teach him how to survive – even how to find joy –  in a place where young boys set up their own black markets, where young girls try to pass as Aryan, and where, in a desperate upside-down world, no choices are good ones.

On the heels of Yom Hashoah comes this heart-wrenching story of love and defiance set in the Warsaw Ghetto, based on the actual archives kept by those determined to have their stories survive World War II. Inspired by the testimony-gathering project with the code name Oneg Shabbat, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Grodstein draws readers into the lives of people living on the edge. Told with immediacy and heart, We Must Not Think of Ourselves is a piercing story of love, determination, and sacrifice.


Lauren Grodstein is the author of five novels, including the Read with Jenna selection We Must Not Think of Ourselves, New York Times bestseller A Friend of the Family and the Washington Post Book of the Year The Explanation for Everything.

Lauren’s work has been translated into French, Turkish, German, Hebrew, and other languages, and her essays and reviews have been widely published. She teaches in the MFA Program at Rutgers University-Camden and lives in New Jersey with her husband and children.

Questions? Contact Marcie Blackman at 301.348.3808, or email mblackman@benderjccgw.org.

All Bender JCC programs are open to everyone. Contact Kate Falls, Director of Inclusion, at kfalls@benderjccgw.org or 301.348.3767 to discuss support and accommodations.