The Jerusalem Inception – Discussion Points for Book Clubs

The Jerusalem Inception – a novel by Avraham Azrieli*

The Jerusalem Inception – Discussion Points for Book Clubs:

  • Why is Tanya so vital to the plot? Discuss her significance. Why is she so conflicted about her relationship with Jerusalem? Does she see Jerusalem and Abraham as distinct people? Does she really care for Jerusalem?
  • Would Jerusalem have left Neturay Karta without Tanya’s influence? Did she turn him from gentle, obedient son to the rebellious teenager who reads forbidden books? What snapped inside of him?
  • If Rabbi Abraham Gerster doesn’t even believe in God, how can he be such a convincing Rabbi to thousands? What does he actually believe in? Does he believe in any aspect of what he preaches? Does Abraham truly care for his family, even as he longs for Tanya?
  • Discuss Elie’s character. Is he good or evil? Or both? Why? How would Abraham answer this? Tanya? Why Elie still jealous of Abraham Gerster after so many years? What’s his strongest motive—the future of Jews and the state of Israel, or his personal demons and jealousies?
  • What’s the significance of Redhead Dan to the story?
  • The story’s thread of preventing future existential threats towards Israel and Jews—how realistic? Then, and now?
  • In the novel, there is a hostile boundary between secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews. Is it the same today? In Israel vs the United States?
  • For true believers, like Benjamin, for example, where is the balance between relying on God and taking preventive actions in times of risk?
  • How could characters who claim not to believe in God continue to quote and refer to passages from the Torah and Talmud?
  • Do the characters identify more as Israeli or Jewish? Is there still a difference between Israeli and Jewish identities in today’s world? Do American Jews identify with Israel, or with Judaism?

Note to the Reader: These Book Club Discussion Points are offered as a courtesy by the author; the topics are mere suggestions, intended only to help ignite lively, freeform discussions of the novel.

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About the Author*: Avraham Azrieli, a graduate of Columbia Law School in New York City, tried many complex court cases before publishing his first novel, The Masada Complex (a political thriller) in 2010. A full-time author since then, his other books include the Israeli spy novels The Jerusalem Inception and The Jerusalem Assassin, as well as Christmas for Joshua (a family drama dealing with interfaith conflicts), The Mormon Candidate (a political thriller), Thump (a courtroom drama featuring sexual harassment and racism) and The Bootstrap Ultimatum (a mystery involving the commercialization of Memorial Day). He also authored Your Lawyer on a Short Leash (a guide to dealing with lawyers) and One Step Ahead (a WWII biography, which inspired the musical By Wheel and by Wing).

Click on the link below for a PDF of the Discussion Points, which you may print or email to members of the Book Club:

Jerusalem Inception discussion