NEW! Tikkun Olam Book Club

B’ruchim haba’im! Welcome to the Tikkun Olam Book Club!

Please join us for 7 intimate book conversations concerning climate change, systemic racism, and a more holistic way of being. Focusing mostly on Canada, these books will hit us hard in uncomfortable places, share wisdom, and offer direction on how we can make a tikkun – a repair – in radically new ways, as partners with the Holy One on this Earth.

We will meet via Zoom on the second Sunday of each month, from 7:30-9:00pm. Following a short introduction of the book and the author, we will break into small groups for discussion, guided by a series of  questions, and then come back together for a brief sharing of insights that arose out of our discussions.

We will try to reserve the books in our libraries, find discounts for purchase of books when we can, and will point out other resources to get these books into all of our hands. We will also provide notice if a book offering changes during the year.

Please contact the Tikkun Olam Committee at tikkunolam@orshalom.ca with any questions.

Here are the dates and the books chosen by the Tikkun Olam Committee.

  1. Sunday November 15, 7:30 pm

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

“To refuse to listen to someone’s cries for justice and equality until the request comes in a language you feel comfortable with, is a way of asserting your dominance over them.” Ijeoma Oluo

Ijeoma Oluo’s book is a comprehensive conversation guide on racism. The book raises questions and provides talking points and counter-arguments, for both people of colour and others, on systemic racism. Oluo asserts that no matter how well-intentioned we might be as individuals, our complacency with racist systems makes us all complicit. The author shares how we can leverage our privilege to take specific actions against systemic racism — in our neighbourhoods, communities, schools, workplaces, and in our local governments.

  • We had a very successful first book club. More than 30 people attended. There were passionate conversations in breakout groups as well as in the main room. In fact, we had to allow more time than planned because no one wanted to leave. We received many “Yasher Koach” and requests for further community work on anti-racism. If you have read the book and are interested in continuing the conversation to talk about race, please contact Maxine at maxinekl@shaw.ca.

  1. Sunday December 13, 7:30 pm 

There will be no book club this evening. Click here for details on Or Shalom’s Chanukah celebration featuring author, Seth Klein.

Sunday January 10, 7:30 pm

A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency by Seth Klein

Once emergencies are truly recognized, what seemed politically impossible and economically off-limits can be quickly embraced.” Seth Klein

A Good War is Canada’s blueprint for effectively tackling the climate crisis, transitioning to a zero-carbon society, and making these transformations in just and equitable ways. Klein holds that the technology is largely ready to go, but what’s missing is the political will. He uses the example of how Canada rose to the challenges of World War II to demonstrate our country’s ability to act forthrightly and creatively in crisis. Importantly, Klein also discusses what the Second World War can teach us about reducing social inequality in the face of a crisis and the crucial role Indigenous people have played in both our wartime efforts and our current battles on climate change.

A note from the hosts, Jane Heyman and Marianne Rev:

We encourage you to watch this video of Seth’s talk (starts around the 9-minute mark) to hear his ideas. Here are our suggested questions for discussion and guidelines for participation from the evening.

Resources:

  • 20 signed copies will be available at 30% off the list price, for a total of  $18.34 incl. GST. Get your name on the reserve list now by contacting tikkunolam@orshalom.ca!
  • The publisher’s website offers purchase of the audiobook for $29.99 and the e-book for $18.99.
  • The e-book is downloadable free from the Burnaby Public Library and the VPL. If you live elsewhere, check you local library.
  • Check out our local book sellers and other sources for audiobooks.
  1. Sunday February 14, 7:30 pm

A Mind Spread out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott

Living with lice for a decade became a metaphor for the shame of poverty.” Alicia Elliott

Alicia Elliott asks essential questions about the treatment of First Nations persons, while drawing on intimate details of her own life and experience with intergenerational trauma. She engages with wide-ranging topics such as race, parenthood, love, mental illness, poverty, and sexual assault, and in the process makes connections both large and small, between the past and present, and the personal and political—such as her childhood diet of Kraft Dinner—to how systemic oppression is directly linked to health problems in First Nations communities. Elliott also suggests powerful tools for a better future.

A message from the Hosts: Michal Fox and Alexis Kellum-Creer

We look forward to seeing you Sunday evening on Zoom to discuss Alicia Elliott’s A Mind Spread Out on the Ground, hosted by Michal Fox and Alexis Kellum-Creer, with special guest speaker Malcolm Steinberg to introduce the book.
If you haven’t yet read it, you may wish to watch this interview to hear Alicia briefly touch on a few of the themes discussed in her collection of personal essays.
To prepare for the discussion, we recommend reviewing these suggested questions for discussion and guidelines for participation. See you on Sunday!

Resources:

  • The audiobook is downloadable from the Burnaby Public Library and the VPL.
  • The e-book is downloadable from the Burnaby Public Library and the VPL.
  • Hard copies are available, in addition to all public libraries, wherever books are sold, for example at fine local indie booksellers Pulp Fiction or Massy Books. Pulp Fiction offers a discounted list price of $18.90 (regular $21.00).
  1. Sunday March 14, 7:30 pm

The Skin We’re In by Desmond Cole

“This idea that Canada’s racial injustices are not as bad as they could be, this notion of Slavery Lite, of Racism Lite, … is a very Canadian way of saying: remember what we could do to you if we wanted to. Passive-aggressive racism is central to Canada’s national mythology and identity.” Desmond Cole

The Skin We’re In exposes the long history of Canadian settler colonialism and white supremacy by weaving the history of anti-Black racism in Canada and by demonstrating that contemporary experiences are a mere continuation of state violence and oppression towards the Black Canadian community. Cole uses an intersectional approach by placing a spotlight on the stories of Black queer and trans communities, neurodivergent Black people, Black migrants, and Black women. Cole also illustrates the distinctions and parallels of Black and Indigenous oppression throughout Canada’s history.

Resources:

  1. Sunday April 11, 7:30 pm

The Reconciliation Manifesto: Recovering the Land, Rebuilding the Economy by Arthur Manuel and Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson

“The issue is not behaviours but fundamental rights, our land rights and the inalienable right to self–determination. The remedy is not apologies and hugs but recognition and restitution.” Arthur Manuel

These life long first nation activists demonstrate how Canada’s attempts to reconcile with Indigenous peoples will remain misguided if we continue to do so, without confronting the basic colonial structures that dominate and distort the relationship, such as the current state of land claims and the persistence of racism among non-Indigenous people and institutions. The authors offer an illuminating vision of what Canada needs to do for true reconciliation to take place.

Resources:

  1. Sunday May 9 Mother’s Day, 7:30 pm

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

“The young and the old are linked in one long breath, an inhalation that calls for reciprocal exhalation, nourishing the common root from which they both arose. New leaf to old, old to new, mother to daughter – mutuality endures. I am consoled by the lesson of lilies.” Robin Wall Kimmerer

Professor Kimmerer weaves together mind-blowing botanical knowledge, storytelling, philosophy, motherhood, spirit and being Potawatomi into a full celebration of life that is both ordinary and magical. Kimmerer urges us to recognize an inclusive reciprocity with our environment, where we ought to be interacting in such a way that the land should be thankful for the people.

Resources: