For Immediate Release

Longstanding member of Temple Beth Or, R. Barbara Gitenstein,
returns to read from her Memoir

Experience is the Angled Road: Memoir of an Academic

New York, NY (February 8, 2022)– R. Barbara (Bobby) Gitenstein announced she will return to her childhood synagogue Temple Beth Or to read from her book Experience is the Angled Road: Memoir of an Academic Sunday March 5 at 2 pm central. This event will be virtual, accessible on Zoom.
“This is a special event for Temple Beth Or members as Bobby and her parents were members of our congregation since the early 1950s. We are very excited and proud to host R. Barbara Gitenstein as she has been recognized nationally for her book and successful career as an academic,” comments Mae Cohen, President of the Beth Or board.
When Temple Beth Or moved from its location at Sayre and Clayton, built in 1902, the gorgeous stained glass windows were preserved by Bobby’s father Seymour Gitenstein and now are still in Bobby’s hometown Florala where her father placed the Temple Beth Or windows to grace the front of a community hospital. “We are grateful to the Gitensteins particularly Bobby for reminding us of the history of our congregation and our long-term members,” adds Cohen.

Experience is the Angled Road: Memoir of An Academic (published by Koehler Books in August 2022) tells the story of Gitenstein’s early years as a child born to Jewish Manhattanites who moved to Florala, a small town in south Alabama, near the panhandle of Florida. Her parent’s decisions and state of mind had an impact on Gitenstein’s formative years. Seymour Gitenstein moved South to operate the family shirt factory, the town’s largest employer. Bobby’s mother struggled to find her place in a foreign and lonely existence. The Gitenstein family identity as Jews was evident in almost everything about their existence as outsiders, as northerners, as resistors to Southern racial attitudes. When she left for boarding school in the 8th grade, she discovered that it was more than being Jewish and a Yankee that made her an oddity. Bobby was an intellectual; she loved classical music.

After 15 years as a full time academic (in the Midwest and upstate New York), she focused her research on Jewish-American and American Literature, Gitenstein made the plunge into academic administration, culminating in 19 years as President of The College of New Jersey. Her Jewish identity informed her commitment to leading from the periphery. Throughout her life, she learned resilience and leadership from generous and powerful mentors and from overcoming painful loss and life-changing challenges. Gitenstein now resides with her husband in New York City.

Gitenstein has received praise from several media outlets including Southern Jewish Life and The New York Journal of Books. The memoir also received advance praise from Thomas Kean, former Governor of the State of New Jersey (1982-1990) which he described as “a warm but thoroughly honest account. This is an unflinching courageous story of love, exasperation, argument and forgiveness.”
Experience is the Angled Road: Memoir of an Academic is not about her years as President at The College of New Jersey, but describes the platform on which she led the College. Her next book will tell her experience as President of The College of New Jersey.
If you want to attend the reading, please send an email to Mae Cohen at and she will direct you to the zoom link to attend.
Books are available for purchase on Amazon here.

Media Contact
Susan Assadi
347 977 7125