Book Club, monthly on Mondays, 6.30 pm 

Whislt we may not be able to come together physically to discuss our chosen book we are pleased to be able to run Book club online during the current Coronavirus outbreak. Details of the our book choices for November and December are below.

Access is via Zoom.

Members and guests welcome. For more information please contact: Denise Bonham on

Monday 14 December, 6.30 pm

Mazel Tov by J S Margot


When 20-year-old student J. S. Margot took a tutoring job in 1987, little did she know it would open up an entire world. In the family’s Orthodox Jewish household she would encounter endless rules – ‘never come on a Friday, never shake hands with a man’ – and quirks she had not seen before: tiny tubes on the doorposts, separate fridges for meat and dairy products. Her initial response was puzzlement and occasionally anger, but as she taught the children and fiercely debated with the family, she also began to learn from them. Full of funny misunderstandings and unexpected connections, Mazel Tov is a heartwarming, provocative and disarmingly honest memoir of clashing cultures and unusual friendships – and of how, where adults build walls, sometimes only children can dissolve them.

Source: The Guardian

About the author

Margot Vanderstraeten is a freelance Belgian writer and journalist. She writes columns, opinion pieces, in-depth articles and interviews for newspapers and magazines.

Margot Vanderstraeten graduated as a French-Spanish translator at the Higher Institute for Translators and Interpreters in Antwerp. She largely financed her education herself: it is during that period that she taught the Jewish children who play the role in Mazel Tov.


Monday 13 January 2021, 6.30 pm

Ridley Road by Jo Bloom



Summer, 1962.

Twenty-year-old Vivien Epstein, a Jewish hairdresser from Manchester, arrives in London following the death of her father. She has travelled to the city to make a new start, and quickly finds herself swept up in a city buzzing with life. Landing a job at Oscar’s salon, she thrives amid the vibrant café culture of Soho and the warm camaraderie of the other hairdressers.

But beneath the surface, Vivien is desperate to find Jack Fox, a man she had a brief but intense romance with some months before. Her search leads to confront the dark resurgence of fascism, countered by the Jewish community in street battles around Ridley Road in the East End of London.

Amid the growing tensions, can her love survive?


About the author

Jo Bloom has worked as a freelancer in the communications field for the past 15 years with a focus on arts publicity and e-learning. She also contributed to the book review section of Time Out, London for a few years. Prior to this she lived and worked in Prague and New York. She was inspired to write Ridley Road when she met a Jewish anti-fascist who’d lived in the East End all his life and participated in numerous street battles with the fascists alongside both the 43 Group and the 62 Group. She lives in Brighton with her husband and young son.

Monday 15 Febraury 2021, 6.30 pm

Book TBC