Amer­i­can Judas

January 1, 2013

Seth and Mag­gie Gins­berg do their best to nav­i­gate an oppres­sive theoc­ra­cy where fun­da­men­tal Chris­tian­i­ty is the only legal reli­gion, and abor­tion, homo­sex­u­al­i­ty, and adul­tery are out­lawed. When a co-work­er outs Seth as a Jew, Seth escapes to Mex­i­co, while Mag­gie is sent to a Sav­ior Camp. Amer­i­can Judas is a dystopi­an tale about a young couple’s life after oppor­tunis­tic U.S. politi­cians abol­ish the wall of sep­a­ra­tion between Church and State.

Discussion Questions

Cour­tesy of Mick­ey Dubrow

  1. Amer­i­can Judas includes radio tran­scripts. Why do you think the author decid­ed to include them? Did the radio host, Pauly Pil­grim, remind you of any con­tem­po­rary radio hosts?

  2. On page 13, Seth says that he believes that God doesn’t grade us on atten­dance, but rather accord­ing to what’s in our hearts and by how we treat each oth­er. Rab­bi Leah responds by say­ing, Jews come togeth­er to wor­ship because we need each oth­er.” How do you feel about their con­ver­sa­tion about reli­gion? Do you agree or disagree?

  3. Parts of the nov­el are satir­i­cal. Did humor make the nov­el eas­i­er to read or was it distracting?

  4. Who is your favorite char­ac­ter in the nov­el and why?

  5. Which char­ac­ter changed the most from how they were at the begin­ning of the nov­el, and in what way?

  6. How did you feel about Seth’s deci­sion to attend an under­ground syn­a­gogue, but not tell his wife?

  7. Describe the rela­tion­ship between Reg­gie and Seth. Were you sur­prised that Reg­gie betrayed Seth? Do you think he had a good rea­son for turn­ing him in?

  8. In the nov­el, Amer­i­ca has become a repres­sive Chris­t­ian theoc­ra­cy. Do you think this could actu­al­ly hap­pen? Are there ways in which it is already hap­pen­ing? If so, dis­cuss any per­son­al expe­ri­ences you’ve had that illus­trate how Amer­i­ca is like a Chris­t­ian theocracy.

  9. Why do you think the author wrote this? What is his most impor­tant message?

  10. Do you think the nov­el had a hope­ful end­ing? Why or why not?