Last year I spent a few days in Atlanta, and at one point I passed the beautiful Temple on Peachtree Street. I hadn’t yet read Melissa Fay Greene’s 1996 book, The Temple Bombing, but I’d heard about it (it was a National Book Award Finalist), and I knew the basic story it told: the Temple, Atlanta’s oldest synagogue, was bombed in 1958. Thankfully, no one had been hurt.
Now I’m reading Greene’s book, and while I haven’t yet finished it, I’m very glad that I’ve finally gotten to it. The book not only chronicles the bombing, but offers a rich history of Atlanta Jewry; a detailed portrait of Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, the Temple’s leader in 1958; and a reminder of just how difficult the struggles for integration and civil rights in the South really were.
At about 500 pages (with footnotes), it’s a challenging read. But very much worth the effort.