OBOJC Resource Guide

There are many variables that go into the choice of the One Book, One Jewish Community selection. The Implementation Team looks for a book that is enjoyable and accessible and offers an insight into one or more Jewish values or concepts or a particular Jewish cultural world. To that end, we have, in the past,  read books about the Jews of  Iraqi Kurdistan (My Father’s Paradise); Israel (The Wanting); Yemen (Henna House) and the Soviet Union (A Backpack, A Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka). To learn about Jews of other times in history we have read about the Spanish Inquisition (By Fire, By Water); Jews in the American Civil War (All Other Nights) and the Holocaust (The List). We immersed ourselves in the cuisine of Israel with last year’s choice, Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking. 

This year, the Team has chosen a book that they knew would lend itself to a fabulous array of connected programming over the course of the book year. And After the Fire  is superficially about a lost cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach….but that just barely scratches the surface of the many themes explored in this book. We hope you will take the opportunity to read some of the books suggested by the author (see below) as well as the additional suggestion our Implementation Team has identified for you (also below).

The author also recommends a number of music recordings of her favorite works by Bach (below).

OBOJC Resource Guide (Updated 11/2/17)
This guide will be updated regularly throughout the book year.
Please check back periodically for additional information.

Books Recommended by Lauren Belfer

Jewish Women and Their Salons: The Power of Conversation by Emily D. Bilski and Emily Braun

Evening in the Palace of Reason: Bach Meets Frederick the Great in the Age of Enlightenment by James R. Gaines

Bach & God by Michael Marissen

The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million by Daniel Mendelsohn

Jewish Women in Enlightenment Berlin by Natalie Naimark-Goldberg

The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War by Lynn H. Nicholas

The Holocaust in American Life by Peter Novick

Fanny Hensel: The Other Mendelssohn by R. Larry Todd

Mendelssohn: A Life in Music by R. Larry Todd

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician by Christoph Wolff

Music Recommended by Lauren Belfer

The reconstructed oboe concertos, performed by Marcel Ponseele with Ensemble Il Gardinello

The cello suites, performed by Jean-Guihen Queyras

The violin concertos, performed by Amandine Beyer with Gli Incogniti

The viola da gamba sonatas, performed by Vittorio and Lorenzo Ghielmi (their 1998, as opposed to their 2013, recording

The Goldberg Variations, performed by simone Dinnerstein

Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan (BMV 100), performed by the Bach Collegium Japan, under the direction of Masaaki Suzuki

The concertos for two and three harpsichords, performed by Musica Amphion, under the direction of Pieter-Jan Belder

Adult Reading Recommended by the OBOJC Implementation Team

Concise Encyclopedia of Jewish Music by Macy Nulman (1975)

Cultural Revolution in Berlin: Jews in the Age of Enlightenment by Shmuel Feiner (2011)

Felix Mendelssohn and His Times by Heinrich Jacob (1963)

Founder: A Portrait of the First Rothschild and His Time by Amos Elon (1996)

History of Habsburg Jews 1670-1918 by William McCagg (1992)

Jewish High Society in Old Regime Berlin by Deborah Hertz (2005)

Jews in Germany: From Roman Times to the Weimar Republic by Nachum T. Gidal (1998)

Merchant Bankers by Joseph Wechsberg (1996)

Rahel Varnhagen: The Life of a Jewish Woman by Hannah Arendt (1974)

The Berlin Jewish Community: Enlightenment, Family and Crisis, 1770- 1830 by Steven Lowenstein (1994)

The Hare With Amber Eyes by Edmond deWaal (2010)

The House of Rothschild by Niale Ferguson (1999)

The Jews of Germany: A Historical Portrait by Ruth Gay (1992)

The Orpheus Clock by Simon Goodman (2016)

The Pity of It All: A Portrait of the German-Jewish Epoch 1743 – 1933 by Amos Elon (2002)

The Warburgs: The Twentieth Century Odyssey of a Remarkable Jewish Family by Ron Chernow (2016)

Music Recommended by the OBOJC Implementation Team

MP#  In Sara LEvy’s Salon, the Raritan Players and Rebecca Cypress (2017)

Juvenile Books Recommended by the OBOJC Implementation Team

A Concert in the Sand by Tami Shem- Tov (2016)

Hidden Music: The Life of Fanny Mendelssohn by Gloria Kamen (1996)


Monuments Men, The (DVD) Grant Heslov, Co-Producer; Columbia Pictures (2014)

Orchestra of Exiles (DVD) Josh Aronson, Director; First Run Features (2012)