DJC Reading Circle: The Lost Shtetl
May 10 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
The Lost Shtetl, by Max Gross
Facilitated by Kalman Weiser
What if there was a town that history missed?
For decades, the tiny Jewish shtetl of Kreskol existed in happy isolation, virtually untouched and unchanged. Spared by the Holocaust and the Cold War, its residents enjoyed remarkable peace. It missed out on cars, and electricity, and the internet, and indoor plumbing. But when a marriage dispute spins out of control, the whole town comes crashing into the twenty-first century.
Pesha Lindauer, who has just suffered an ugly, acrimonious divorce, suddenly disappears. A day later, her husband goes after her, setting off a panic among the town elders. They send a woefully unprepared outcast named Yankel Lewinkopf out into the wider world to alert the Polish authorities.
Venturing beyond the remote safety of Kreskol, Yankel is confronted by the beauty and the ravages of the modern-day outside world – and his reception is met with a confusing mix of disbelief, condescension, and unexpected kindness. When the truth eventually surfaces, his story and the existence of Kreskol make headlines nationwide.
Returning Yankel to Kreskol, the Polish government plans to reintegrate the town that time forgot. Yet in doing so, the devious origins of its disappearance come to the light. And what has become of the mystery of Pesha and her former husband? Divided between those embracing change and those clinging to its old world ways, the people of Kreskol will have to find a way to come together or risk their village disappearing for good.
Kalman Weiser is the Silber Family Professor of Modern Jewish Studies at York University. He is presently working on a book about the relationship between German Yiddish researchers who became Nazis and their Jewish colleagues and the response of Yiddish scholarship to the Holocaust.
ABOUT THE DJC READING CIRCLE
Now in its twentieth glorious year, the Danforth Jewish Reading Circle is a favourite among our book loving members, bringing us together throughout the year for interesting and animated discussions about a variety of books that touch on Jewish themes. And of course, when we’re done there’s always a little nosh. After all, this is a Jewish book group! The Danforth Jewish Reading Circle is open to all – no charge for members, $10 for non-members. An RSVP is necessary as we have to cap our numbers in order to continue meeting in the warmth and intimacy of fellow DJC Members’ homes*. To attend a meeting, all you have to do is drop us a line at email@example.com – but please do so early. Space fills up quickly and names are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. You will receive a confirmation email with time and place details.
*Due to Covid-19 we aren’t sure yet if these gatherings will be in person or via Zoom. Feel free to reserve a spot, and we will keep you posted.
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