DID YOU KNOW that these and other top Jewish books are now listed in a searchable index on bestjewishkidsbooks.com?
In spite of TV and the internet, good ol’ fashioned books are still relevant to inspiration and wisdom. You can take a book to the beach. You can pull out a book while waiting in line. You can share a book with a friend. You can write in a book, underline, highlight. A book never needs re-charging, just pull it off the shelf. Classes and other experiences can fade with time, but a book in hand keeps on giving. For all of these reasons, JSL promotes the use of user-friendly paperbacks as a follow-up tool to any kind of Jewish programming, whether you are the teacher or the student. Below is our judicious yet growing list of recommendations.
The Art of Amazement How do you feel when watching a breathtaking sunset? Why are such moments so fleeting? This book is a step-by-step manual on how to nurture that sense of amazement every day, in every area of life. After reading this book, you will see Judaism as a masterful ancient spiritual system for unleashing the power of amazement.
The Art of Amazement – Hebrew Edition (אמנות ההתפעלות) Know an Israeli or Hebrew speaker who is looking for a deeper Jewish spiritual connection without becoming “religious”? This ground-breaking book is for them. Get it here in North America or here in Israel or read more about it here.
The Art of Kavana The foundation of pleasure and the basis of Jewish spirituality is the discipline of mental control, of focusing the mind at will.
Get it here.
Jewish Meditation: A Practical Guide by R. Aryeh Kaplan. For readers who have mastered The Art of Amazement, Rabbi Kaplan’s Jewish Meditation is a natural follow-up. Presents a guide to a variety of meditative techniques.
Get Jewish Meditation here.
Meditation and the Bible by R. Aryeh Kaplan. This is what they should have taught us in Sunday School – that meditation is central to Judaism.
Click here to watch Rabbi Kaplan (z”l) explaining Kabbalah.
Worldmask by R. Akiva Tatz. We don’t like recommending hardcover books because they tend to stay at home. We prefer portable books that you’ll take with you and read. But this book is worth it. Rabbi Tatz presents the fundamental Jewish philosophy that our senses deceive us reality is very different than what we perceive. He then shows how our life circumstances and various Jewish practices are custom-designed to teach us this wisdom. Get World Mask
Living Inspired by R. Akiva Tatz. Rabbi Akiva Tatz shows how an understanding of some of the deeper ideas and patterns of Torah thought can illuminate our everyday experiences. He brings into focus life in general and its ordeals in particular in the areas of relationships and unexpected events. Problems and doubts become springboards to inspiration. Get Living Inspired
Jewish Matters by Doron Kornbluth (ed). In this lightweight, pocketsize book, twenty-three Jewish leaders, thinkers, and educators offer their insights and knowledge on topics as varied as relationships, prayer, mysticism and happiness.
Get Jewish Matters
Jewish Women Speak about Jewish Matters by Doron and Sarah Tikvah Kornbluth (ed). Each of the twenty-four top-notch essays illuminates a different issue affecting Jewish women of today.
Get Jewish Women Speak
The Little Book of Big Jewish Questions: 130 Questions About Life, the Universe & Everything by David Ordan. This book is for people who enjoy asking and thinking about good questions (and want to have fun along the way!)
Get The Little Book
Between Silence and Speech: Essays on Jewish Thought by R. Nathan T. Lopes Cardozo. One of the most renowned author and lecturers from Jerusalem examines some of the most controversial topics in Jewish thought and law.
Get Between Silence and Speech
The Lonely Man of Faith by R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik. A profound Jewish approach to existentialism, built on the story of the creation of Adam, who represents humanity and whose predicament represents the human condition.
Get Lonely Man of Faith
Do One Nice Thing: Little Things You Can Do to Make the World a Lot Nicer by Debbie Tenzer. An upbeat collection of easy ideas for small deeds that anyone can do to make the world a better place.
Get it here.
The Anthology of Jewish Mysticism by R. Raphael Ben Zion. This collection includes English translations of some of the major works in Jewish mysticism: including the spiritual-Mussar work Tomar Devorah (Palm Tree of Devorah) and the complex dissertation, “Patach Eliyahu” (The Speech of Elijah, an introduction to the Tikkunei Zohar).
Get Anthology of Jewish Mysticism
Book of Our Heritage by R. Eliyahu Kitov. The greatest overview of the Jewish lifecycle ever written. No matter what your level of Jewish knowledge, you will find that this wellspring of information and stories will engage you year after year.
Get Book of Our Heritage
The Committed Life This modern classic by Holocaust survivor Esther Jungreis weaves together true anecdotes to inspire readers toward increased commitment, responsibility, charity, peace, prayer, forgiveness, banishing fear, compassion, faith, hope, and gratitude.
Get The Committed Life and watch Rebbetzin Jungreis speak about anger.
Remember My Soul by Lori Palatnik. A comforting voice of wisdom at life’s most painful moment. A guided journey through shiva and the stages of Jewish mourning.
Get Remember My Soul
The First Hebrew Primer: The Adult Beginner’s Path to Biblical Hebrew Nothing beats a great live teacher, but for going it alone, this book is the best we’ve seen. You will be reading and understanding Biblical passages in only a couple weeks.
Get it here.
The Science of God by Dr. Gerald L. Schroeder. “Schroeder, a physicist and Bible scholar, attempts to reconcile the Genesis account of creation with current scientific knowledge about the origin of life…. His biblical interpretations draw on an exclusively Jewish tradition, including Kabbalah, Maimonides, and selected passages from the Talmud….”
Get Science of God
To Become One by R. Ezriel Tauber. The secret to a successful marriage is contained in Genesis 2:24, and those who know the secret can improve their relationship with their spouse immediately. For over three decades, Rabbi Tauber has been counseling and helping couples, from newlyweds to those married for many years.
Get To Become One
The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet by R. Michael L. Munk. This fascinating best-seller weaves these golden threads into a glorious tapestry, presenting hundreds of ideas and comments on the Aleph-Bet.
Get Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet
The Word: The Dictionary that Reveals the Hebrew Source of English by Isaac Mozeson. This landmark book features massive data suggesting that the roots of all human words are universal. Recommended for word buffs and anyone learning Hebrew.
Get The Word
Soveya’s Incredibly Easy & Healthy Cookbook: 300 No Sugar, No Flour Recipes (Gluten Free) by Zakah Glaser. If you would like to eat healthier, but are daunted by food preparation or simply don’t enjoy spending hours in the kitchen, this cookbook is for you. Soveya is a non-profit organization educating and coaching adults, children, communities and schools about nutrition, wellness and obesity-prevention. Get it here.
On the Reliability of the Old Testament by Kenneth Kitchen. Prof. Kitchen is one of the few archaeologists who has world-class credentials in BOTH Egyptology and Biblical Studies. In this fascinating book, he takes Biblical revisionists to task and offers a firm foundation for the historicity of biblical texts.
Get The Reliability of the Old Testament
Pharaohs and Kings by David Rohl. Egyptologist Rohl concludes that that some pharaohs ruled simultaneously, shifting the established timeline by several centuries. Along the way, he finds possible historical matches for biblical characters such as Joseph and Moses. Even if you are unconvinced by his argument, his high-quality illustrations, charts and maps will take you on a journey through Egyptian archaeology worthy of a PBS special….Get Pharaohs and Kings
Gossip: Ten Pathways to Eliminate It from Your Life and Transform Your Soul by Lori Palatnik and Bob Burg. The purpose of this book is to extinguish the fire of evil speech and help us live in a gossip-free environment. The result? Positive interactions with the people around us, the healing of relationships and a more complete self.
Knee Deep in the Funk: Understanding the Connection Between Spirituality and Music by Tzvi Gluckin. Music is spiritual – find out how. Learn about the power of the intuitive experience in music; the links between music, intimacy, spirituality, meditation, prayer, human communication and so much more.
Click here to get the book or here to watch Tzvi jamming.
Spice and Spirit: The Complete Kosher Jewish Cookbook This cookbook is a staple in many Jewish homes, with practical guidelines interwoven with spiritual insights into many aspects of Jewish life and observance. Recipes range from traditional favorites such as blintzes and chicken soup to Szechuan chicken, aduki-squash soup and many other international and gourmet specialties. Clear, easy-to-use format with helpful symbols, charts and illustrations. Get Spice and Spirit
The Secrets of the Stars: The Significance of the Night Sky For many of us, whose knowledge of the heavenly spheres is limited to planetarium visits and school projects, the night sky represents a vague, unexplored territory of secular terms and explanations. Yet there is an entire cosmos concealed above ours encompassing our past, present and future. Discover the myriad secrets teeming in the night sky. The Secrets of the Stars
Josephus: The Jewish War Josephus is one of the most influential historians in history. And not only was he Jewish, the focus of his writings is the Jewish people. He is our only non-archaeological source of much information about ancient Israel, such as the Masada story. A must-have for every Jewish bookshelf. Get Josephus: The Jewish War
The Moon’s Lost Light is a short (134 pages) scholarly interpretation of the spiritual greatness of Jewish women. From an Amazon reviewer: “A surprisingly interesting take on the changing role of women as reflected in seemingly contradictory passages in the Talmud and other sources. Enlightens as to why the reality of the modern woman is actually foretold in the original accounting of the creation of the moon. Highly recommended.” Get The Moon’s Lost Light