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One Book | One Community 2015

One Book | One Community 2015

Thursday, October 1, 2015 to Sunday, December 6, 2015

Debut memoir by young Soviet émigré
chosen as 2015 Chicago Jewish Community

For the fifth year in a row, Spertus Institute is proud to spearhead One Book | One Community, in which a single Jewish book is selected as the focal point of discussions and events across the Greater Chicago Jewish community.

The One Book | One Community initiative is a centerpiece of our community’s celebration of Jewish Book Month. 

It is our pleasure to announce
that this year's book is
A Backpack, a Bear, and
Eight Crates of Vodka
by Lev Golinkin. 

"A perceptive, unflinching, and unexpectedly funny look at a life sculpted by history."
—Amazon Best Book of the Month

"[A] hilarious and heartbreaking story of a Jewish family’s escape from oppression....whose drama, hope and heartache Mr. Golinkin captures brilliantly."
The New York Times

"An awesome intercontinental whirlwind, funny and smart."
—Gary Shteyngart, bestselling author of Little Failure

Author Lev Golinkin was born in Kharkov, Ukraine in 1980, during the twilight of the Soviet Union, a time of virulent antisemitism. When immigration is briefly possible in response to international pressure, the Golinkins risk everything to make a new life for Lev and his sister. Years later, Lev, now an American adult just out of college, retraces his family's long trek. To offer his thanks, he locates the strangers who helped his family and fought for their freedom, and in the process, gains a new future by better understanding his past.

A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka is available in hardbackebook, and audio versions. It will be available in paperback in October. 

In conjunction with this year’s One Book | One Community selection, Spertus will present a series of programs about Jewish life in the former Soviet Union, capped by two appearances by author Lev Golinkin. Full program information will be announced soon.

Resources for book groups and individual readers will be available online this fall.

Mark your calendar for Sunday, December 6.

Lev Golinkin will join us for two special author appearances, one at North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park and one at Spertus Institute.




We'd love to keep in touch


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JUF News is the media sponsor
of One Book | One Community.

About the Author

Lev GolinkinLev Golinkin came to the United States as a child refugee from the Ukraine in the Soviet Union. He is a graduate of Boston College who currently resides in New Jersey.