Reading Guide for SHELTER US

1. Sarah yearns for a connection to her late mother. When she remembers her examples of “welcoming the stranger,” is it her mother’s voice whispering in her head, or her own conscience? Is there a difference?

2. Who are today’s “strangers” and what are our responsibilities to them?

3. Sarah says her typical reaction to homeless people was “to give them food, or a dollar, or do nothing.” Why does Josie spark such a strong, different reaction from Sarah?

4. Can reaching out to try to help others heal our own wounds? Does it work for Sarah?

5. How do values get passed down? What values do you trace to your parents? What are the values you want to pass to your children, and how do you communicate them?

6. Sarah says she doesn’t believe in God. Is that true? What are your feelings about the presence of a Divine Being?

7. Although Sarah claims to be surprised to see Brian in Berkeley, do you think she wanted to see Brian? Have you orchestrated “accidents” because you didn’t want to admit that you directly wanted something?

8. Sarah blamed her father for her mother’s death. If he had reacted differently after her death – playing “Mr. Mom” – how would that have made a difference in their relationship?

9. Do you think Sarah will connect more with Judaism moving forward, as she realizes the role it played in helping her move from her stuck place by helping a stranger?