Electrifying and ambitious, sweeping in scope and intimate in tone, “The Weight of Ink” by Rachel Kadish, is a sophisticated work of historical fiction about women separated by centuries, and the choices and sacrifices they must make in order reconcile the life of the heart and mind. This Jewish Book Award winning novel is the subject of discussion at Midbar Kodesh Temple's February 3 book review, held at the synagogue at 10:00 a.m. Kadish’s adept writing paints a vivid picture of life in London during of the bubonic plague of 1665-66 and the Great Fire of London. During this time the Jews of London also lived in fear of anti-Semitic outbursts and the long arm of the Inquisition.
Set in London of the 1660s and of the early twenty-first century, “The Weight of Ink” is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect: Ester Velasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; and Helen Watt, suffering from rapidly advancing Parkinson’s Disease, planning to retire soon from her university post and driven by passion for what she knows will be her last research project. As the novel opens, Helen has been summoned by a former student to view a cache of seventeenth-century Jewish documents newly discovered in his home during a renovation. Enlisting the help of Aaron Levy, an American graduate student as impatient as he is charming, and in a race with another fast-moving team of historians, Helen embarks on one last project: to determine the identity of the documents’ scribe, the elusive “Aleph.”
“If you enjoyed Geraldine Brooks’ "People of the Book" then you will enjoy this emotional and intellectual jigsaw puzzle,” said chairperson Ileen Spoor. She invites all to join in the monthly discussion, open to members of Midbar Kodesh Temple and the entire community. For more information on Book Club at Midbar Kodesh Temple or other Adult Educational programs at the synagogue call 702.454.4848.