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A project of the Jewish Community Library, One Bay One Book is a year-long conversation connecting Bay Area readers through discussions, events, and informal conversations centered around a single title and its themes. This year we invite educators working in Jewish settings to join us for a special educators discussion of this year’s One Bay One Book selection, Anna Solomon’s new novel The Book of V.

The Book of V. follows several women in different time periods whose lives offer interpretive windows into the Biblical stories of Esther and Vashti. The first protagonist, Lily Rubenstein, is a young wife and mother in contemporary Brooklyn, New York, who struggles internally with her chosen status as a stay-at-home parent and as her husband’s second wife. A second protagonist, Vee, is the wife of an ambitious young Senator in Washington, D.C. during the early 1970s whose identity is thrown into question when her husband asks her to do something in the interests of his career that is every bit as outrageous as King Ahasuerus’ demand of Vashti. The narratives of Lily and Vee are interspersed with an imaginative interpretation of the story of Vashti and Esther, anchoring the novel.

Reading The Book of V. provides us with the opportunity to explore key topics in our work as educators and leaders in our community:

  • Ways in which Jewish women’s experiences are not adequately reflected by our history and tradition, beginning with the Bible, and how we address these inadequacies in our work as educators
  • Societal and familial gender dynamics and role expectations and how we educate for critical consciousness
  • Challenges of balancing care for ourselves and care for others and the role of social emotional learning

A limited number of print and electronic copies of The Book of V. are available for borrowing from the Jewish Community Library free of charge, starting in January. To reserve a copy, please write to

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