Women’s Auxiliary Book Club Discussion
with Senior Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.
Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people—including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball’s Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others—she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity.
Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today.
Description from Random House
A few copies of the book are available from the temple library. Pick up is available at the 1 East 65th St. Lobby Security Desk Monday thru Friday from 2:30 pm to 5 pm only. Please call first before coming to temple to retrieve a copy. 212-744-1400 ext. 249.
Two E-book links available upon request. Please email for the link.
The book club discussion is open to temple members only. There is no charge for this event, but reservations are required to receive the Zoom link.
RSVP no later than 4 pm on Wednesday, April 6th to receive the link. The Zoom link for the discussion will be sent out the day before the session.
Please make sure to add us () to your contacts so that you will receive the email in your inbox or please check your junk/spam folders.