JPW Library and Congregation Beth Israel present: Mark Oppenheimer
Thursday, May 3rd, from 7 to 9 pm in the Auditorium
Four Little Jews: Writing about Religion as a Father of Four
Author, professor, and frequent talk show contributor Mark Oppenheimer will share his thoughts on parenthood. Mark hosts the weekly podcast Unorthodox for Tablet magazine. His articles and reviews have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, The Atlantic, The Nation, The Believer, and elsewhere. Mark holds a Ph.D. in religion from Yale and has taught at Yale, Stanford, Wesleyan, Boston College, and NYU. He has written two studies of religion and popular culture: Knocking on Heaven’s Door, and Thirteen and a Day.

Book Discussions

Parent Book Group 
The JPWL is partnering with First Church Academy for a book discussion group featuring Erika Christakis’s The Importance of Being Little: What Young Children Really Need from Grownups. The book is “an impassioned plea for educators and parents to put down the flash cards, ditch the exotic vocabulary lessons, and double-down on one, simple word: play.” ( The group welcomes all care-givers, parents, educators, and friends. They will meet at 6:30 on the following Tuesday evening: April 3rd. Childcare will be available – please let us know if you will be bringing your children. Pick up the
book at the JPWL or in the FCA office.


The JPW Library hosts two book groups, one weekly and one monthly. 

Awakening the Spirit Book Discussion
Mondays from noon – 1:30 p.m. from September-May

Led by Minister of Spiritual Life Rev. Susan Izard. Copies are available in the JPW Library. Please bring your lunch; beverages and dessert will be provided.

We are continuing to read Inclusivity: A Gospel Mandate by Diarmuid O’Murchu.

“The strongest case yet for an inclusive church, the kind that was and has been, and lays bare its historical, theological, and spiritual roots.

Diarmuid O’Murchu holds tight the millions on the margins as well as the outsiders who honor Jesus but feel they don’t fit in because of alternative vision or minority status resulting form race, ethnicity, social standing or sexual orientation.

Inclusivity is not only for Christians but also for people of other faiths attracted to the vision and life of Jesus but disenchanted with the language of exclusivity and power. It presents faith dynamic characterized by discipleship with an adult Jesus in the service of an adult God. It is a gift of the “Pope Francis effect,” an inevitable drive to reach out and bring in. It is the next step in a movement toward spiritual wholeness.” (Amazon)

Food for Thought Book Group
First Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m. from October – May

This group is led by John P. Webster Library Director Jennifer deSimas. Copies are available in the JPW Library. Please bring your dinner; beverages and dessert will be provided.

This month we are discussing Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.

“Ghana, eighteenth century: two half sisters are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and sold into slavery. 
Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. Yaa Gyasi’s extraordinary novel illuminates slavery’s troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed—and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.” (Amazon)

Now available in the JPW Library: the First Church Senior Resource Manual for seniors and their families provides information on care options, legal matters, illness, spirituality, local transportation options, and more.