Suggested Books with Jewish Themes

Diamant, Anita.  The Red Tent, 1997. This well constructed tale is of Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, and Jacob’s four wives who all touched upon Dinah’s life at different times. This novel vividly recounts the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of Biblical women.

Goldstein, Rebecca.  Mazel, 1995. This winner of the 1995 National Jewish Book Award focuses on three generations of Jewish women and the role that “luck” has played in their lives.

Goldberg, Myla.  Bee Season, 2000. This is a bittersweet coming-of-age novel in which wise little Eliza Neumann’s passion for spelling bees unites and divides her family.

Goodman, Allegra.  Kaaterskill Falls, 1998. Set during the summer of 1976, a small Orthodox Jewish community in upstate New York is torn between traditions and the secular society in this well developed portrait.

Hamill, Pete.  Snow in August, 1997. Set in Brooklyn in the late 1940’s, this story is about the special friendship that develops between an eleven year old boy and an Orthodox Rabbi, and the miracle that saves them from a deadly gang.

Mirvis, Tova.  The Ladies Auxiliary, 1999. When Orthodox convert Batsheva moves south to the community of her deceased husband, she must deal with the traditions and small-mindedness of the women of Memphis.

The Oxford Book of Jewish Stories, 1998. This anthology contains the work of more than 50 notable Jewish writers, spanning from the mid 1800’s to the present, covering such themes as the Diaspora, domestic affairs, and the Holocaust.

Park, Jacqueline.  The Secret Book of Grazia dei Rossi, 1998. Travel back in time to Renaissance Italy where Grazia dei Rossi, a remarkable young woman who is an heiress to a Jewish banking dynasty, is torn between two cultures.

Potok, Chaim.  The Chosen, 1967. This classic novel full of warmth and wisdom, deals with such themes as friendship, the relationship between fathers and sons, and the journey into adulthood.

Ragen, Naomi.  The Ghost of Hannah Mendes, 1998. In this charming tale, a 16th century ghost helps her present day descendent, a matriarch of an old Sephardic family, preserve her family’s Jewish heritage by having the granddaughters search for a lost medieval manuscript.

Zimler, Richard.  The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon, 1998. An intelligent young manuscript illuminator searches for the killer of his uncle, a renowned kabbalist, in this gripping thriller set in 16th century Portugal.



Cohen, Rich.  Tough Jews: Fathers, Sons and Gangster Dreams, 1998. Cohen sets the historical record straight about the Jewish gangsters of the ’20’s and ’30’s.

Dubner, Stephen J.  Turbulent Souls: A Catholic Son’s Return to His Jewish Family, 1998. Stephen Dubner, the youngest son of a couple who had converted to Catholicism, embarks on a road of discovery as he traces his Jewish roots.

Ehrlich, Elizabeth.  Miriams’s Kitchen, 1997. Ehrlich writes of the relationship with her mother-in-law, a Holocaust survivor, and how it rekindles interest in her Jewish heritage.

Freedman, Samuel G.  Jew vs. Jew, 2000. Freedman expertly sketches the major conflicts in American Judaism in a thoughtful and beautifully written assessment of today’s Jews.

Grossman, Grace Cohen. Jewish Art, 1995. This beautifully illustrated work comprehensively covers the history of Jewish art from antiquity to the present, displaying numerous examples of illuminated manuscripts, illustrated prayer books and marriage contracts, seder plates, Torah scrolls and cases, and mosaics.

Jaffe, Azriela.  Two Jews Can Still Be a Mixed Marriage: Reconciling Differences Over Judaism in Your Marriage, 2000. Observance and beliefs vary among Jews. This book aids couples in deciding which traditions to follow and how to compromise.

Kessel, Barbara.  Suddenly Jewish: Jews Raised as Gentiles Discovering Their Jewish Roots, 2000. Kessel based her book on over 160 interviews with people raised as non-jews who later learned they were of Jewish descent. The book speaks to crucial issues of  identity, selfhood and spiritual community.

McBride, James.  The Color of Water, 1996. Mr. McBride paints a powerful portrait of his mother, a daughter of an Orthodox Rabbi who moved to Harlem and established a Baptist Church in her living room.

Meek, H. A.  The Synagogue, 1995. This magnificent survey of synagogues begins with its origins in the Tabernacle, through the ornate Venetian buildings of the Renaissance, to the classic simplicity of the modern period. The synagogue’s significance as a focal point for the Jewish community, as well as a spiritual center is carefully examined.

Rosen, Jonathan.  Talmud and the Internet, 2000. Rosen finds in the Talmud the key to living with the multiple worlds he has inherited with an assist from the Internet. The book is a meditation on faith, technology, literature and love.

Rosen, Robert.  Jewish Confederates, 2000. In his latest study of the Civil War, Rosen reveals the remarkable breadth of Southern Jewry’s participation in the war and strength of Jewish commitment to the Confederate cause.

Ross, Lesli Koppelman.  Celebrate! The Complete Jewish Holidays Handbook, 1994. Ross includes the historical development, religious importance, and personal significance of each Jewish holiday in a way that is useful to beginners as well as those knowledgeable in Jewish practice.

Wertheimer, Jack, ed.  Jews in the Center: Conservative Synagogues and their Members, 2000. Written by a team of scholars, Jews in the Center offers the most comprehensive study of any movement in American Judaism.

Wiesel, Elie.  Night, 1960. A terrifying account of the author’s memories of the horrors of the Holocaust, this masterpiece probes the inequity and maddening riddles of life.


Bibliography compiled by the Reader Services Department of the East Meadow Public Library.

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