The J Announces its 2020 Virtual Community Read
Tuesday, September 1, 2020

The Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston has announced its Virtual Community Read, a shared literary experience for book clubs and individual readers, for the Ann and Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book & Arts Festival, November 1-22, 2020. Author Esther Amini will be speaking on her debut book, Concealed: Memoir of a Jewish-Iranian Daughter Caught Between the Chador and America, on Monday, November 9 at 7:30 PM. The J is calling for book clubs around the city to join the event by reading Concealed this fall.

Esther Amini grew up in 1960s New York, the American-born daughter of Persian Jewish parents who fled Mashhad, Iran’s holiest city. Caught between two worlds as the dutiful daughter of tradition-bound parents, she craves more independence than tradition permits. Exploring the roots of her family dynamics, Amini uncovers her parents’ early years and their difficult journey to the U.S., where they faced a new threat to their traditions: the threat of freedom.

This year’s new Community Read co-chairs, Esther Levine and Laura Freudenberger have quickly pivoted to create a virtual community experience and are thrilled about the book they've chosen. “We both feel the bigger than life characters in Concealed draw you into their world. They are a family bound together by food, celebrations, sibling escapades and unexpected acts of devotion,” said Freudenberger.

“Due to her family’s traditional values, coupled with Esther’s strong will to stand up for what she believes, the book results in a moving, honest and compelling story that will stay with you forever,” explained Levine. “We look forward to having all book clubs throughout the Houston area read our selection and join us for the Community Read event on Monday, November 9."

Let the J know if your book club wants to read along. Contact Andrea Wolfe at Concealed will be on sale through the J’s local bookstore partners, Brazos Bookstore and Blue Willow Book Shop, after September 15.

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