Join month of the book club at local JCCs

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Read any good books lately?

With Jewish Book Month coming up, Bay Area Jews soon will have countless titles to choose from and endless opportunities to shmooze with the authors.

Every fall since 1943, the American Jewish community has celebrated Jewish Book Month, and with good reason. We “People of the Book” have always counted reading, studying and learning among our core principles.

This is the time of year to celebrate that.

Almost all of our Jewish Community Centers will take part. Each will stage all kinds of fun events: author lectures, meet-and-greets, discussions of Israeli literature conducted in Hebrew, even cooking demonstrations.

As for the authors, some of the best and brightest will be coming to town, including Israeli novelists David Grossman and Etgar Keret, Israeli politician Avraham Burg, novelist Maggie Anton and renowned author and rabbi David Wolpe.

Here in the Bay Area, Jewish Book Month isn’t simply boxed in to these big one- or two-day events at JCCs. Readers are actually encouraged to, you know, read.

For example, the Peninsula JCC in Foster City will stage Center Read, which will issue the call to have as many people as possible tackle the same book at once. This year, that book will be Maggie Anton’s “Rashi’s Daughters Book I: Joheved.”

A similar program, One Community, One Book, is happening at the Addison-Penzak JCC in Los Gatos, focusing on Dara Horn’s “The World to Come.” And the Osher Marin JCC’s Community Read will feature Karen Levine’s book “Hana’s Suitcase.”

Starting with the Torah itself, Jews and books have gone together. Today, with entities like the Koret International Jewish Book Awards and the $100,000 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, Jewish-themed books are more than big business. They are key to the ongoing dialogue about Jewish peoplehood.

Modern life is complex. The challenges, opportunities and dangers we face as Jews are many. And so we read, not only for entertainment or to pass the time. We read to retain connections to our linked past, to our common destiny. We read and write to keep ourselves intact as a community.

Some of the ties that bind are bound between the covers.

So take advantage of Jewish Book Month. Attend as many events as you can. Buy Jewish books to support the trade. And do bring your kids. It’s never too early to get them excited about reading.

We also wish our readers a joyous and dance-crazed Simchat Torah.