Books about Judaism

This page provides links to selected books about various aspects of Judaism but is not a comprehensive list. The links below will take you back to the Amazon site where more information about the individual books is available (and from where you may buy the books if you wish).

JUDAISM – GENERAL & INTRODUCTORY BOOKS

Jewish Literacy Revised Ed: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People, and Its History This book is an excellent introduction to the many aspects of Judaism. Written in a clear, easy-to-read style, chapters are short (usually 1-3 pages) unlike many other ‘introductory’ books; resulting benefits to the reader are that it is possible to easily find information on a specific aspect of Judaism and that it is possible to read the book in short snatches and yet acquire worthwhile knowledge about Judaism. The book is authored by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, an American Modern (or ‘Centrist’) Orthodox rabbi who presents a balanced viewpoint and a vast wealth of information about all things Jewish, including Jewish history. 

Exploring Jewish Tradition: A Transliterated Guide to Everyday Practice and Observance Written by the American Rabbi Abraham Witty and his wife Rachelle, this is another excellent and readable introduction to Judaism, this one focusing on practical aspects of being an observant Jew.

To Be A Jew: A Guide To Jewish Observance In Contemporary Life Written by Rabbi Hayim Donin, this is another well-regarded introduction to Judaism written from an Orthodox perspective.

Living Judaism: The Complete Guide to Jewish Belief, Tradition, and Practice

This Is My God by Herman Wouk. Although this book was first published in 1959, it is still a well-regarded and enlightening introduction to Orthodox Judaism.

How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household by Blu Greenberg. This books includes lots of advice about the practicalities of running an Orthodox Jewish home.

Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism by Dennis Prager and Rabbi Joseph Telushkin. A thought-provoking consideration of Judaism; particularly recommended for those considering converting to Judaism.

JEWISH HOLYDAYS (GENERAL)

For information on Jewish holidays, also see the section above (Judaism – General & Introductory Books) as all these books (except ‘Nine Questions…’) include sections on Jewish holydays. Our pages on the various holydays also have links to books on specific holydays.

Celebrating the Jewish Year: The Fall Holidays: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot

Celebrating the Jewish Year: The Winter Holidays: Hanukkah, Tu B’shevat, Purim

Celebrating the Jewish Year: The Spring and Summer Holidays: Passover, Shavuot, The Omer, Tisha B’Av

The Jewish Holidays

The Book of Jewish Holidays

JEWISH LIFECYCLE EVENTS

The Complete Book of Hebrew Baby Names An excellent introduction to the meaning and significance of Hebrew names for children.

New Jewish Baby Book: Names, Ceremonies & Customs, A Guide for Today’s Families

The Comprehensive Dictionary of English & Hebrew First Names

Putting God on the Guest List: How to Reclaim the Spiritual Meaning of Your Child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah

The Jewish Way in Love & Marriage

Made in Heaven: A Jewish Wedding Guide

The Everything Jewish Wedding Book: Mazel tov! From the chuppah to the hora, all you need for your big day (The Everything® Kids Series)

The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning

Mourning & Mitzvah: A Guided Journal for Walking the Mourner’s Path Through Grief to Healing

A Time to Mourn, a Time to Comfort: A Guide to Jewish Bereavement (The Art of Jewish Living)

CRAFT, ACTIVITY & SONG BOOKS

Jewish Holiday Origami (Dover Origami Papercraft)

Celebrating with Jewish Crafts

Crafting Jewish: Fun holiday crafts and party ideas for the whole family

Jewish Holiday Craft Book,The

The International Jewish Songbook (Book only)

Jewish Songs for Children: 15 Favorites to Play and Sing

Favorite Hebrew Songs For Piano (Tara Books)

STORIES FOR CHILDREN

Classic Bible Stories for Jewish Children

JPS Illustrated Children’s Bible

Stories for Children

The Wise Men of Helm and Their Merry Tales

It Could Always Be Worse: A Yiddish Folk Tale (Michael Di Capua Books)

Something From Nothing

Reb Yitzchak’s Jewel

For children’s story books about specific Jewish holidays, please see our Holiday pages which include links to books about specific holidays.

RECIPE BOOKS

The Children’s Jewish Holiday Kitchen: 70 Fun Recipes for You and Your Kids, from the Author of Jewish Cooking in America

1,000 Jewish Recipes (1,000 Recipes)

The New York Times Jewish Cookbook: More than 825 Traditional & Contemporary Recipes from Around the World

The Essential Book of Jewish Festival Cooking: 200 Seasonal Holiday Recipes and Their Traditions

Jewish Vegetarian Cooking: An Irresistible Choice For Those Who Love Good Food

The World Of Jewish Desserts: More Than 400 Delectable Recipes from Jewish Communities

Passover Seders Made Simple (Cooking/Gardening)

The New York Times Passover Cookbook : More Than 200 Holiday Recipes from Top Chefs and Writers

Passover Made Easy

The Hadassah Jewish Holiday Cookbook: Traditional Recipes from Contemporary Kosher Kitchens

JEWISH HISTORY

A Short History of the Jewish People: From Legendary Times to Modern Statehood

A History of the Jews

Jewish Literacy Revised Ed: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People, and Its History

A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People: From the Time of the Patriarchs to the Present

Jewish History: The Big Picture

The Timechart History of Jewish Civilization (Timechart series)

The Cambridge Guide to Jewish History, Religion, and Culture (Comprehensive Surveys of Religion)

The Chosen Few: How Education Shaped Jewish History, 70-1492 (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World)

An Illustrated History of the Jewish People: The epic 4,000-year story of the Jews, from the ancient patriarchs and kings through centuries-long persecution to the growth of a worldwide culture

JEWISH PRAYER

The Synagogue Survival Kit – An excellent introduction not only to a wide range of Jewish prayers but also to all things related to being in a synagogue (including how to dress and behave).

To Pray As A Jew: A Guide To The Prayer Book And The Synagogue Service

Entering Jewish Prayer: A Guide to Personal Devotion and the Worship Service

A Guide to Jewish Prayer

Making Prayer Real: Leading Jewish Spiritual Voices on Why Prayer Is Difficult and What to Do about It

The Way Into Jewish Prayer

Entering the High Holy Days: A Complete Guide to the History, Prayers, and Themes

Seven Prayers That Can Change Your Life: How to Use Jewish Spiritual Wisdom to Enhance Your Health, Relationships, and Daily Effectiveness

JEWISH ETHICS & VALUES

The Jewish Encyclopedia of Moral and Ethical Issues by R. Nachum Amsel. An excellent reference, fully referenced.

The Encyclopedia of Jewish Values Another excellent book by R Nachum Amsel.

A Code of Jewish Ethics: Volume 1: You Shall Be Holy by R. Joseph Telushkin.

The Book of Jewish Values: A Day-by-Day Guide to Ethical Living by R. Joseph Telushkin.

The Jewish Ethicist: Everyday Ethics for Business and Life Focuses primarily on business and financial ethics but is an informative and entertaining read. Available in both hard cover and paperback.

A Short History of Jewish Ethics: Conduct and Character in the Context of Covenant

Jewish Ethics for the Twenty-First Century: Living in the Image of God (Library of Jewish Philosophy)

Jewish Biomedical Law: Legal and Extra-legal Dimensions

Judaism and Environmental Ethics: A Reader

JEWISH BIBLES & PRAYER BOOKS (ORTHODOX)

JPS Hebrew-English Tanakh Has a contemporary English translation which still remains faithful to the original Hebrew text; each page has a column of Hebrew text and, alongside it, the corresponding English text.

The Jewish Bible: A JPS Guide (JPS Guides)

The Jewish Study Bible: Featuring The Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation

Tanach the Stone edition – Student Size (Hebrew and English Edition)

The Chumash: The Stone Edition, Full Size (ArtScroll) (English and Hebrew Edition) The Torah: Haftaros and Five Megillos with a Commentary Anthologized from the Rabbinic Writings The Chumash is a version of the Bible specially designed to assist those in synagogue follow along with the readings – widely used in synagogues.

The Koren Sacks Siddur: Hebrew/English Translation and Commentary, Compact Ashkenaz (Hebrew Edition)

Koren Sacks Rosh HaShana Mahzor (Hebrew and English Edition)

Koren Sacks Yom Kippur Mahzor (Hebrew and English)

Machzor Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur 2 Vol Slipcased Set Full Size Asheknaz (English and Hebrew Edition)

Artscroll Children’s Siddur: The Peritz Edition (Artscroll Youth Series) (Hebrew and English Edition)

The Koren Mibereshit Siddur: An Illustrated Hebrew Prayer Book for Preschoolers (Hebrew Edition)

Blessed Are You: Traditional Everyday Hebrew Prayers

KASHRUT (KEEPING KOSHER)

How to Keep Kosher: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Jewish Dietary Laws

A Practical Guide to the Laws of Kashrut

The Kosher Kitchen: A Practical Guide : Feuereisen Edition (Artscroll Halachah; the Kosher Kitchen)

HEBREW LANGUAGE

Teach Yourself to Read Hebrew by Ethelyn Simon and Joseph Anderson. A teach-yourself guide for adult learners. The pronunciation taught is Modern Israeli. (Note: a high level of commitment is required to successfully teach yourself to read Hebrew from a book. Many people may prefer to use a software program such as Davka’s Learn to Read Hebrew or TES’ Read & Speak Hebrew for Adults).

How the Hebrew Language Grew by Edward Horowitz. An engaging book telling the story of how the Hebrew language grew and developed new vocabulary over time. This book helps the reader develop skills in deciphering the meaning of Hebrew words. (Note: the book assumes the reader is familiar with the Hebrew alphabet and can read it.)
Oxford Dictionary: English-Hebrew/Hebrew-English (Hebrew Edition) edited by Yaakov Levy. This is probably the best of the English-Hebrew/Hebrew-English dictionaries currently available for Modern (Israeli) Hebrew. However, it is a general-purpose dictionary and does not include jargon or specialised vocabulary (which is fine for most people, but may not suit advanced users).

The Oxford English-Hebrew Dictionary by The Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. The great strength of this large volume is its inclusion of Hebrew idioms and its nuanced translation of words (explaining in which context a particular word is the correct translation for what you wish to say). The translation is in one direction only – from English into Hebrew as there is no section dealing with translating Hebrew into English. Its large size makes it a reference book destined to live on a bookshelf or desk and not to be carried around.

Modern Hebrew: An Essential Grammar (Routledge Essential Grammars). The best of the grammar books dealing specifically with Modern Hebrew grammar. Note that a number of grammar books specifically for Biblical Hebrew are available, but these are only partially applicable to Modern Hebrew which has simpler grammar than Biblical Hebrew.

Hebrew Verb Tables  For those already familiar with Hebrew grammar and who understand the system of Hebrew verb conjugations, this is an excellent compact resource as it sets out the conjugations of numerous verb roots in table form.

501 Hebrew Verbs (501 Verb Series) by Shmuel Bolozky. This Hebrew verb reference is more suited than the previous book to beginning students of Hebrew but at the price of being a much larger (and heavier) book. It includes many examples of the verbs being used in actual sentences and idioms. Note that this book is a reference for Modern Hebrew, not Biblical Hebrew.

©2015 NSW Board of Jewish Education | All rights reserved
Design & SEO by Result Driven SEO | Sitemap