Top 100 Jewish Books

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5. The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning, Maurice Lamm. As a Congregationalist minister friend of mine says, "Jews really understand how to mourn."

6. Practical Medical Halachah, Fred Rosner & Moshe Tendler

7. The Challenge of Wealth: A Jewish Perspective on Earning and Spending Money, Meir Tamari. Some philanthropist should provide free copies for corporate executives.

8. Women & Jewish Law: An Exploration of Women's Issues in Halakhic Sources, Rachel Biale.

9. The Right and the Good: Halakhah and Human Relations, by Daniel Z. Feldman. Persuasive, detailed, and incredibly well-researched.

10. Evolving Halakhah: A Progressive Approach to Traditional Jewish Law, Moshe Zemer.

Liturgy/Home Practice

1. Prayer Book (Siddur). Crib notes for communing with God, mixed with popular philosophy and poetry.

2. Machzor for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

3. A Different Night (Passover Haggadah), Noam Zion. Lots of questions, fewer answers, for people who like to talk.

4. The Jewish Catalog, compiled and edited by Michael and Sharon Strassfeld, the best of 1970s "do-it-yourself-ism"; where else to find out how to tie-dye tallitot (prayer shawls).

5. It's a Mitzvah!: Step-By-Step to Jewish Living, Bradley Shavit Artson. Sort of a Jewish Catalog for the '90s.

6. Voices of Wisdom, Francine Klagsbrun. A great anthology.

7. Words that Hurt, Words that Heal: How to Choose Words Wisely and Well, Joseph Telushkin. One of the most powerful books I know. Rabbi Telushkin spices his books with examples and includes chapters about how we talk to members of our own family, the ethics of what we say, and much more.

8. Mourning and Mitzvah, Anne Brenner.A guided journal for helping people walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

9. To Be a Jew: A Guide to Jewish Observance in Contemporary Life, Hayim Halevy Donin. Basic guide to Jewish observance and practice from a very traditional point of view.

10. The Jewish Religion: A Companion, Louis Jacobs. Reliable, trans-denominational.


1. The Jewish War, Josephus. Can we learn history from a turncoat traitor?

2. A Social and Religious History of the Jews, Salo Baron. Can we learn history from someone who does not subscribe to the "oy vey" theory of Jewish history?

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Rabbi Miriam Spitzer is the Judaic Studies Curriculum Coordinator and School Rabbi at the South Area Solomon Schechter Day School in Stoughton, Mass.