Michelle Cameron BabylonHistorical novelist Michelle Cameron of Chatham was intrigued by the question of whether, throughout history, Jewish people have chosen to assimilate or to hold fast to the customs and traditions of their forebears. And her latest novel, Babylon, centers around this very question. Cameron was the special guest speaker for the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), West Morris Paid-Up Membership Brunch on Sunday, Nov. 12, at 10 a.m. at a private home in Mendham.

The event was free for all paid-up NCJW, West Morris members. A one-year membership is $40; a three-year membership is $108. A membership form is available at https://ncjwwestmorris.org/membership/.

When the ancient Judeans were exiled to the mighty kingdom of Babylon, they struggled to discover how to maintain their Hebrew identity when the riches and gods of their captors were very real temptations to this captive people.

This is a thread that weaves its way through all of Cameron’s work, and it speaks to Jews here in America today. How much assimilation into the larger society is desirable? And how much endangers the Jews’ survival as a people?

Cameron’s new book is the epic saga of a Judean family exiled to Babylon, set against the deadly ambition of Nebuchadnezzar’s royal court and the struggle of biblical prophets and scribes to keep the Hebrew faith alive.

Michelle Cameron is the author of Jewish historical fiction, including the award-winning Beyond the Ghetto Gates and The Fruit of Her Hands: The Story of Shira of Ashkenaz. She has also published a verse novel, In the Shadow of the Globe. Napoleon’s Mirage, the sequel to Beyond the Ghetto Gates, is forthcoming in August 2024. Cameron is a director of The Writers Circle, a NJ-based creative writing program serving children, teens, and adults.