January 27, 2022
My husband and I moved here in July to be closer to our son, who lives in Rogers Park. Raised Reform (I grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs and belonged to Keneseth Israel), I value our tradition’s commitment to social justice and our emphasis on deepening our faith through learning and questioning and listening respectfully to one another. Already I feel that I have found my home here, in the Beth Emet community.
Trained as a modern European cultural and intellectual historian, I taught for many years at Dickinson College. Leaving You: The Cultural Meaning of Suicide, my first book, addresses the suicides of notable Holocaust survivors including Primo Levi, Bruno Bettelheim, and Jean Améry. On the lighter side, I write the Cara Walden series of historical mysteries based on old movies and featuring blacklisted Hollywood people on the lam in dangerous international locales. The third book, The Glass Forest, is set in Saigon, circa 1957. I managed to get myself a gig as a lecturer on Silversea Cruises, lecturing on “Asia Through Hollywood’s Eyes,” to fund a research trip to Vietnam. What a fascinating country!
Well, it’s hard to choose just one—old movies are my thing, as you can see from my blog, deathlessprose.com—but I’ll go with Marlene Dietrich’s line from the fabulous pre-code classic, Shanghai Express (which also features Anna May Wong in her best role): “It took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily.”
Beth Emet has so many amazing members, each offering unique talents to the greater community. Share your news with all of us so we can both celebrate and get to know one another a bit better…. Especially during these (mostly) virtual times. Send your news to Bekki Kaplan, and if possible, please include a photo!