Transdenominational Jewish Learning

"When even two people gather to study holy words, the presence of God dwells with them." -Pirkei Avot 3:3


One People One Book is a citywide year of transdenominational learning produced by the Board of Rabbis of Southern California with the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.


More than 500 people from area congregations, plus unaffiliated readers, have engaged in a year-long study of a significant Jewish book or books in various educational settings, including formal presentations; discussions in classes, book clubs and havurot; and traditional hevruta (partnered) learning.


The Board of Rabbis has produced extensive sourcebooks and lesson plans for participating synagogues to use in their adult learning programs.


Click on the links below for more information about the most recent One People One Book programs.

People of the Book

Geraldine Brooks

Inspired by the true story of the Sarajevo Haggadah, People of the Book, from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks, is a sweeping adventure through five centuries of Jewish history, an intricate, ambitious novel that traces the perilous journey of a rare, 500-year-old illuminated Hebrew manuscript: from Muslim-ruled, medieval Spain, through Inquisition-era Venice, fin-de-siecle Vienna, and the Nazi sacking of Sarajevo, to the ruins of contemporary Bosnia. One People One Book will explore themes of survival, hope, storytelling, familial history, the power of holy books, and interfaith reliance, as they resonate in People of the Book and the Haggadah.



Jewish Poetry

Yehuda Amichai & Zelda

From psalms to slams, poetry tells the story of our people... For 5770, we studied a variety of Jewish poems, focusing on the works of Yehuda Amichai and Zelda, two of the most renowned and influential Jewish poets.

Zelda's unique poetry draws from classical Jewish texts and also portrays a world of personal mystical imagery. Amichai weaves together verses on his own biography, history, culture, identity, love and the Bible, to create a rich banquet of words that explore the full scope of Jewish life.


The World to Come

Dara Horn

In "The World to Come," Dara Horn interweaves mystery, romance, folklore, theology, history, and scripture into a spellbinding modern tale. She brings us on a breathtaking collision course of past, present, and future -- revealing both the ordinariness and the beauty of "the world to come." Nestling stories within stories, this is a novel of remarkable clarity and deep inner meaning.

Dara Horn was our special guest for Opening Night, and she shared insights into the writing of the book and the mystical meanings of olam ha-bah.


A Book That Was Lost

S.Y. Agnon

In honor of the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel, One People One Book participants studied A Book That Was Lost and Other Stories, a collection of writings by S.Y. Agnon, acclaimed genius of modern Hebrew literature and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Agnon is a masterful maggid--a classic storyteller who weaves together Biblical and rabbinic sources, colorful images of the "old country," and vivid insights on daily life in Israel.

Opening Night featured a vintage documentary on Agnon and an original dramatized reading of his story The Lady and the Peddler.