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"Love Atop a Keyboard: A Memoir of Late-Life Love" — Beth Am Women Book Talk

Sunday, April 7, 2024 28 Adar II 5784

3:00 PM - 5:00 PMBeit Kehillah

Sponsored by Beth Am Women; All Are Welcome

Emma Goss, reporter for J. The Jewish News of Northern California as well as NBC Bay Area, will interview Janet Silver Ghent about Love Atop a Keyboard: A Memoir of Late-Life Love

Divorced and fifty-five, Janet stood in tears at Jerusalem’s Western Wall in the winter of 1998 and pressed a paper between the cracks. “Please, God, find me a match,” she wrote. She should have marked it "rush". As 1999 dawned, the Alameda resident took matters into her own hands and penned a quirky personal ad in the Jewish Bulletin (forerunner of J.), where she was an editor: “Cute writer seeks leading man for long-playing drama.” The ad lured Allen Podell, a singing Silicon Valley engineer, to a tryst in a San Francisco toy store. They tapped out tunes with their toes on a giant mat piano. He wooed her with song, and she harmonized.

Under their marriage canopy in 2000, he promised her “a merry chase,” and they camped among snorting wildebeests during Tanzania’s Grand Migration. They shared a white-knuckled tuk-tuk trip through Bangkok. They climbed the peaks of Machu Picchu, and wherever they traveled, they sang.

At their wedding, Janet had vowed never to take Allen “for granite.” But when his lab tests uncovered two brutal conditions, she became the rock. Instead of Angkor Wat, they visited Stanford hospital. As Allen’s health stabilized and the pandemic eased, they set off for South America, but their bucket lists sprang a leak. For Janet and Allen, when things go awry — abroad or at home — there’s always a story, a song or a book. Learn more at

Please register by Friday, April 5, 4:00 PM using the form below. Books will be available for signing and purchase at $20 (cash or check made out to "Janet Silver Ghent"). A portion of the sales will be donated to Beth Am Women.

Janet Silver Ghent, the daughter of a New York publishing executive, grew up in a house full of books and was determined to write them. With two degrees in English—a bachelor’s cum laude from Oberlin and a master’s from the University of Michigan, plus study at University of Glasgow—she considered herself doubly unemployable. Nonetheless, she became an award-winning journalist, writing features for San Francisco Bay Area newspapers. Now semi-retired, she is a columnist for J. The Jewish News of Northern California, where she was previously senior editor. Janet and Allen, an engineer-inventor-baritone, live in Palo Alto. They sing together in three chorales and travel worldwide. At home, they enjoy time with their four children and eight grandchildren, and they are active at Beth Am and with Building Interfaith Bridges. A self-described haphazard gourmet, Janet makes her own bone broth, grows her own herbs, and takes pride in her pesto.

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Tue, April 16 2024 8 Nisan 5784