Deborah Rising – Discussion Points for Book Clubs

Deborah Rising – A Novel by Avraham Azrieli – Discussion Points for Book Clubs:

  1. Has the experience of reading Deborah Rising been memorable and engaging? What were the emotions the story raised (sadness, shock, amusement, confusion, pity, anger)? How did the story leave you feeling? Who would you recommend it to?
  2. What did you feel about Deborah (beyond the initial sympathy for her experience of seeing her sister being executed)? Have your feelings changed along the way? What about the other characters—their personalities, motives, strengths, weaknesses, virtues, wickedness?
  3. While Deborah was understandably devastated by what happened to her sister, what do you think of her choices and actions later? Was she motivated by pain, anger, revenge, or hope? Was she trying to save herself from further suffering, or to achieve a new kind of ‘fairness’ in her life and condition? Is her quest to become a man an ‘overreaction’ to her situation?
  4. What about Sallan’s feelings and actions? Is he a good person? Is he another victim in this situation? Does he really understand the depth of Deborah’s crisis? Can he understand it, considering how different his background is? What is his real agenda?
  5. How do you feel about the priests–both in Emanuel and in Shiloh? What do their actions say about the relationship between faith, rituals, and social order? Is Deborah naive to believe the proverb: “When you pursue your True Calling, God provides the shortcuts” – considering the terrible setbacks she suffers continuously?
  6. What about the spark between Zariz and Deborah? Does their relationship stand a chance? What about Deborah’s feelings for Barac?
  7. Why do the lepers help Deborah? What do they see in her? And why is Deborah less afraid of the lepers than others? What does it reveal about her?
  8. What do you think of the marriage with Seesya? Why is he continuing to chase her, now that the inheritance will pass to him anyway? Why does he hate Deborah (and her sister) so much?
  9. Has the novel changed your perspective about the way of life in ancient Israel in terms of family, marriage, justice and faith?
  10. Stepping back and looking at the story as a whole, could you find relevancy to our modern world and the place of women in it? Does Deborah’s struggle mean anything to contemporary girls and women? Do you agree with the idea of achieving personal change through “Imitate until you mutate”?
  11. What do you feel about the connection between temple offerings and charity for the poor? The offerings seem to provide wealth to the priests, but also provide the givers a sense of ‘being good’ with God and a way to influence their fate somehow. How do you feel about it? And now that we no longer sacrifice animals, do prayers alone provide the same solace to faithful people? Are churches, synagogues and mosques the modern substitutes for the temple and its rituals? Who in today’s world fills the role of the priests of biblical times?
  12. What part of Deborah Rising strikes you as the most meaningful, or memorable? What part is the saddest, scariest, or funniest? What’s the most ‘discussion worthy’ here?
  13. If you could ask author Avraham Azrieli a question, what would you ask? Have you read his other books? How do they compare to Deborah Rising?
  14. Has Deborah Rising changed you? Has it left you with new perspective on history, biblical life, or religion in general? Has it caused you to think of visiting the ancient sites of the Bible? Or of doing anything different in your own life? Has any of Deborah’s experiences or newly acquired wisdom stuck in your mind?


Note to the Reader: These Book Club Discussion Points are offered as a courtesy based on the experiences of other book clubs. The topics are merely suggestions, intended only to help ignite lively, freeform discussions of the novel. Enjoy!

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