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ASBI Book Club with Aviya Kushner

Thursday, January 14, 2021 1 Shevat 5781

8:15 PM - 9:15 PM

Join ASBI for a discussion of "The Grammar of God" with author Aviya Kushner! Read the book on your own and join us on Zoom on Thursday night, January 14th, for a discussion with the author, led by ASBI Member Irene Lehrer Sandalow. RSVP below to receive the Zoom link. Questions? Email Adina at

About "The Grammar of God":
Aviya Kushner grew up in a Hebrew-speaking family, reading the Bible in the original Hebrew and debating its meaning over the dinner table. She knew much of it by heart—and was therefore surprised when, while getting her MFA at the University of Iowa, she took the novelist Marilynne Robinson’s class on the Old Testament and discovered she barely recognized the text she thought she knew so well. From differences in the Ten Commandments to a less ambiguous reading of the creation story to a new emphasis on the topic of slavery, the English translation often felt like another book entirely from the one she had grown up with.

Kushner began discussing the experience with Robinson, who became a mentor, and her interest in the differences between the ancient language and the modern one gradually became an obsession. She began what became a ten-year project of reading different versions of the Hebrew Bible in English and traveling the world in the footsteps of the great biblical translators, trying to understand what compelled them to take on a lifetime project that was often considered heretical and in some cases resulted in their deaths.

In this eye-opening chronicle, Kushner tells the story of her vibrant relationship to the Bible, and along the way illustrates how the differences in translation affect our understanding of our culture’s most important written work. A fascinating look at language and the beliefs we hold most dear, The Grammar of God is also a moving tale about leaving home and returning to it, both literally and through reading.


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Wed, January 20 2021 7 Shevat 5781