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Between the Lines

A Book Club by the Penn Museum

The Penn Museum invites you to unlock the human experience through literature by reading “between the lines.” Join us for our twist on the classic book club, featuring carefully curated books with cultural connections, moderated by Penn Museum curators and special guests. A new book will be featured each month, from February through April.

Between the Lines Book Club

Each month, Between the Lines participants will meet twice through interactive video conferencing: a kickoff and a concluding meeting at the end of the book. Readers are encouraged to continue the conversation and chat beyond these virtual meetings in the private Between the Lines Facebook Group. The moderator will share additional connections to the collection, supplemental readings and videos, and guiding questions through the virtual meetings and Facebook group.

$5 Per Book

Includes 2 meetings.


The Penn Museum is committed to making this group accessible. Limited scholarships, which include a digital copy of the book and waived registration fees, are available. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with subject line “Between the Lines Scholarship” to express your interest.


Yaroub Al-Obaidi

Join special guest speakers and moderator Yaroub Al-Obaidi for a twist on the classic book club as we explore food and love as a means for universal connection. Participants will be invited to try recipes in the comfort of their own home while we dive into the historical context of dishes enjoyed throughout the Middle East.


We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders: A Memoir of Love and Resistance by Linda Sarsour

We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders
A Memoir of Love and Resistance

by Linda Sarsour

It was a chilly spring morning in Brooklyn when a 19-year-old Linda Sarsour stared at her reflection, dressed in a hijab and, for the first time, showing the woman she was growing to be: unapologetic in her faith and her activism. We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders tells the story of a young Palestinian American woman discovering her innate sense of justice in the aftermath of 9/11.

Now famous for her award-winning leadership of the Women's March on Washington, Sarsour shares her intimate coming-of-age story, describing how growing up Muslim American, feminist, and empowered moved her to become a globally recognized activist on behalf of marginalized communities. From her father's bodega where she learned the real meaning of intersectionality to protesting in the streets of DC, Sarsour's story portrays what it means to find one's voice and use it for the good of others.


A House with a Date Palm Will Never Starve by Michael Rakowitz

A House with a Date Palm Will Never Starve

by Michael Rakowitz

Date syrup has been central to Iraqi cooking and home life for centuries. In this unique book, a fusion of contemporary art and food, Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz and 41 celebrated chefs present delicious dishes using this staple of Middle Eastern cuisine.

In 2018, Rakowitz unveiled a winged bull sculpture on the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square, a life-size replica of a Mesopotamian lammasu made from thousands of date syrup cans. The artist’s choice of material was laden with historical significance: for decades, until the industry was decimated by war and disease, dates had been Iraq’s second biggest export after oil. As his winged bull sat upon the Fourth Plinth, Rakowitz invited chefs from around the world to create new and classic recipes using date syrup. Chefs and food writers including Yotam Ottolenghi, Alice Waters, Claudia Roden, and others, created dozens of sweet and savory dishes with date syrup, now collected in this cookbook.

We are pleased to end this season of Between the Lines with a very special guest speaker - the author of this month's title Michael Rakowtiz. Participants will learn the context of Rakowtiz's work during our first meeting (on April 12) and enjoy the author in conversation with our Moderator Yaroub Al-Obaidi for the final session, on April 26.

For questions for more detail, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Between the Lines Events



Between the Lines

A House with a Date Palm Will Never Starve by Michael Rakowitz - Meeting 2 of 2

Monday | April 26 | 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm ET


Learning and Public Engagement Department