Dara Horn: A Guide for the Perplexed

Dara Horn: A Guide for the Perplexed

(Fiction, 342 pp. 2013)

After Josie Ashkenazi develops Genizah, a digital archive that collects and organizes every single moment of the user’s life, her sister Judith persuades her to take leave of her devoted husband, inquisitive daughter, and thriving business to accept a brief consulting gig in Egypt. Interwoven are episodes from the lives of Solomon Schechter, a 19th century professor obsessed with uncovering the repository of sacred Hebrew texts, and the scholar and physician Maimonides, forcing cutting-edge technology to intersect with ancient questions about fate and free will, family and destiny. 

Reading guide with discussion questions from the Jewish Community Library

Reading guide with discussion questions from W.W. Norton

Bibliography from the Jewish Community Library (pdf)

Essays by Bay Area Jewish educators in response to A Guide to the Perplexed:


Binah audio podcast of Dara Horn’s appearance at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco,  9/23/13

Video of Dara Horn’s appearance at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C., 9/30/13

Video of discussion of A Guide for the Perplexed led by Rabbi Menachem Creditor at Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley, 11/15/13

Reviews, articles, and interviews

Boston Globe by Saul Austerlitz

J Weekly by Emma Silvers

Jewish Book Council by Miriam Bradman Abrahams

Jewish Daily Forward by Steven C. Kellman

New York Journal of Books by Karl Wolff

The New York Times Book Review by Jami Attenberg

Rhapsody in Books (blog)

Tablet Magazine by Saul Austerlitz

The Times of Israel by Renee Ghert-Zand

Religion & Politics interview with Dara Horn

Suggested Articles, Essays, and Websites


“When We Save Every Memory, We Forget Which Ones Are Special by Dara Horn in The Washington Post (September 19, 2013)

“Jews and Memory: How Judaism Perpetuates Memory And Activates Our Neural Networks: An Interview with Joshua Foer” in Moment Magazine (May/June 2011)

“Living a Life That Matters Through Selective Memory  by Rabbi Edward C. Bernstein (includes discussion of A Guide for the Perplexed) (September 5, 2013)

Memory in the YIVO Encyclopedia of Jewish in Eastern Europe

Joseph Story and Sibling Rivalry

“Playing Favorites”  by Marjorie Ingall in Tablet Magazine

The Favored Child  by Adriane Leveen in The Jewish Week

Cairo Genizah

Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit at Cambridge University, including their fascinating fragment of the month

Searchable catalogue of Cairo Genizah fragments in Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries

The Friedberg Genizah Project

“Treasures in the Wall” by Emily Greenhouse in The New Yorker (March 1, 2013)

“Hidden Treasures of the Cairo Genizah by Joel Shurkin in The Jewish Daily Forward (November 18, 2011)


“Maimonides, Medieval jewish Scholar, Enjoys a Postmodern Revival” in the Jewish Daily Forward(February 7, 2014)

Maimonides’ Philosophy in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

“The Perplexing Nature of the Guide for the Perplexed by Mark Daniels in Philosophy Now(September/October 2013)

Perplexed by Maimonides?” in the Jewish Daily Forward (February 4, 2014)


“The Visionary: A Digital Pioneer Questions What Technology Has Wrought” by Jennifer Kahn in The New Yorker (July 11, 2011)

“Will Google Glass Help Us Remember Too Well?” by Philip Berne in Slashgear (June 30, 2012)