Book club to explore racism | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Book club to explore racism  


A virtual book club session on “Caste: The Origins of our Discontents,” is to be held Thursday, April 8, 2021, 7 p.m. 

The thesis of the book, reduced to its core, is that a caste system exists worldwide and in the United States it has violently kept Black Americans at the bottom. The session is free and sponsored by Jewish Museum Milwaukee and the Coalition for Jewish Learning, both programs of Milwaukee Jewish Federation. 

The session is viewed as a next step, after 40 teachers attended diversity training with the Coalition for Jewish Learning late last year. At least some of the teachers are likely to attend the book session, said Jewish Community Education Planner Tzipi Altman-Shafer, though the entire community is invited.  

It made an impression on Altman-Shafer, when she read “Caste: The Origins of our Discontents,” that there could be a connection between American Jim Crowe laws and the Indian Caste system. 

The book, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Isabel Wilkerson, is an Oprah’s Book Club pick and national bestseller. 

“I like that it’s really thought provoking,” Altman-Shafer said. It made me think about race in America in ways that I never did before.” 

The program is part of the LOMED series (Learning Opportunity for Milwaukee Educators), though it is open to the public. Registration is required to access the Zoom session. RSVP by emailing Altman-Shafer at 

The program is offered in connection with “To Paint is to Live: The Artwork of Eric Lichtblau-Leskly,” an exhibit on display at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee through May 30, 2021.