May the Fourth Be With You – May 4, 2022

Please join us with authors Rabbi Dr. Barry DOV Schwartz and Gerald Everett Jones.

Rabbi Dr. Barry DOV Schwartz, author of “A Man of Spirit: A Rabbi Navigates a Half-Century of Sweeping Change” – A rabbi must at times go along with the spirit and the winds of society, but at the same time be prepared to go against those winds. Ultimately a rabbi must be a bridge and remain both steadfast and flexible. This philosophical position is a delicate balance that means a rabbi must cultivate a keen awareness of who they are as well as their changing circumstances. A rabbi should be at once spirited, spiritual, empathetic, sympathetic, full of compassion, but always true to his calling, no matter the consequence. Above all, a rabbi must also have the qualities described in Numbers 27:18. A leader must be “ish asher ruach bo,” a man who harbors the spirit of the Almighty deep within him. This requires wisdom, piety, courage, and most of all, an unyielding love for the people he serves. This memoir describes such a rabbi, Rabbi Barry Dov Schwartz, a man of spirit.


Gerald Everett Jones, author of “Harry Harambee’s Kenyan Sundowner” – A lonely widower from Los Angeles buys a tour package to East Africa on the promise of hookups and parties. What he finds instead are new reasons to live. Aldo Barbieri, a slick Italian tour operator, convinces Harry to join a group of adventuresome “voluntourists.” In a resort town on the Indian Ocean, Harry doesn’t find the promised excitement with local ladies. But in the supermarket, he meets Esther Mwemba, a demure widow who works as a bookkeeper. The attraction is strong and mutual, but Harry gets worried when he finds out that Esther and Aldo have a history. They introduce him to Victor Skebelsky, rumored to be the meanest man in town. Skebelsky has a plan to convert his grand colonial home and residential compound into a rehab center – as a tax dodge. The scheme calls for Harry to head up the charity. He could live like a wealthy diplomat and it won’t cost him a shilling! Harry has to come to terms with questions at the heart of his character: Is corruption a fact of life everywhere? Is all love transactional?

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