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Evening Book Club 7-10-14

On Thursday, July 10th, a record 17 participants attended the Evening Book Club Meeting, at the Asian Paradise Resturant, to discuss the book, The Fortune Teller’s Kiss, by Brenda Serotte. In her memoir about growing up a Sephardic Turkish Jew among Ashkenazi neighbors in the Bronx of post WWII, Serotte tells of her fortune-telling, belly-dancing family; their foods, fear of the Evil Eye and the author’s struggle to walk again after polio.

Sisters Michele Sandler and Rita House shared the fascinating story of their father’s Sephardic family from Sardonica, Greece – The Allaloufs. They told of his mother, Stella (Astera), whose arranged marriage to Sam Allalouf, was most unhappy. After being a widow for many years, Stella was happily married to a physician who had his office in an apartment complex on the Grand Concourse. Michele remembers shopping at the same stores as the Serottes during the same period, family gatherings near the same places, speaking Latino, preparing many of the same dishes in her grandmother’s kitchen only with different names, but no recollection of belly-dancing.

Following the presentation, Karen Silverman led a lively and interesting discussion of Serotte’s memoir and provided Sephardic treats.

Michele & Rita lovingly hold a photo of their Grandmother Stella taken as she walked across a courtyard along the Grand Concourse in the Bronx.
Michele & Rita lovingly hold a photo of their Grandmother Stella taken as she
walked across a courtyard along the Grand Concourse in the Bronx.

Karen Silverman

Paula Nevins and Raye Brass.
Paula Nevins and Raye Brass.

At the Asian Paradise Restaurant.
Karen Silverman, Michelle Sandler and Rita House.

Ordering dinners.
Ordering dinner at the Asian Paradise Restaurant.

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