Fiction? Probably Chaim Potok. I like Faye Kellerman also, most of the time (LA policeman novels). Early on, I read all the Rabbi Small books I could find (Kemelman). Herman Wouk, although I haven't read anything of his in quite a while.
I love A. J. Heschel! Kushner (both of them) reward re-reading. Irving Greenberg, his wife Blu, Arthur Waskow can make you think. I also read Rabbi Neil Gillman's books, especially 'the Death of Death', 'Sacred Fragments' and 'Doing Jewish Theology'. If you have non-Jewish friends you want to give a book to, his book 'The Jewish Approach to God, a Brief Introduction for Christians', is really good. I've read Death of Death so much, it is held together by rubber bands.
Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson has written some good books, especially his books for kids and teens - like 'It's a Mitzvah', and 'The Everyday Torah' - he's dean at the Ziegler Rabbinic school at American Jewish University in LA.
Richard Friedman's books - I can read those over and over - 'Who Wrote the Bible', and 'The Hidden Book in the Bible' and so on.
Those last two - the last three, really, I am acquainted with. I took a theology class online from Gillman, and Rabbi Brad was camp rabbi at Ramah several times when we attended family camp a decade or so ago. We met Dick Friedman at Ramah also.
I like reading the Faye Kellerman and the Jonathan Kellerman books, not just because they're well written, but because ritual observances, such as Shabbat, are just a normal everyday part of the world created within the covers of the books. And also its cute that sometimes a character from one of Faye's books visits Jonathan's book and vice versa.
I enjoy Herman Wouk's books, both fiction and his non fiction book "This is My God" - a good introduction to Judaism.
When my kids were little we could find lots of 'little kid' Jewish books - Karben is a great resource, but as they grew, it got a lot harder - it seemed like EVERY teen/YA novel with Jewish characters or themes was a Holocaust story, or a 'poor east European Jewish immigrant in New York' story. Hardly anything really that they could relate too! (Suburban/small town Jewish kids in mostly Christian neighborhood/school) Any writers out there? Get cracking!
I, too, like the Kellerman books for the 'naturalness' of modern day Jewish observance.
If you have small children, look for the K'tonton stories, and stories about the Wise Men of Chelm (or Helm). Classics and VERY good.
For the pre-bar/bat mitzvah parents - or their kid - Putting God on the Guest List and Putting God on the Guest List for Kids are very good.
online book resources: Feldheim Artscroll Karbet Eichlers JudaicaBookstore
there are certainly others - we get our textbooks for our tiny weekend 'Hebrew school' mostly from either Behrman House (fairly mainstream - and some of their 'classics' are clearly 1950's era - old and tired - but they have a growing 'new/newer' list and some great adult ed books) or Torah Aura (Reform - very innovative and attractive, but not as 'complete' as Behrman House).
If you live close to a larger synagogue, you don't have to worry about your child's education so much, but we live in a small town in a rural region, and us few Jews here have banded together to 'do things' including teaching our children.
This has branched a bit off topic, if somebody (shira) wants to move it, go ahead.
It is hard to only choose one... Some of my favorites include Primo Levi, Isaac Bashevis Singer. I have to add also Stefan Zweig and Joseph Roth , some of my favorite Viennese writers. And Leo Perutz. I have read him in French and am not sure of titles in English... but I had an interesting discovery last march.. I spent a few days in the Austrian town of Bad Ischl, which is mostly famous for being the Habsburg summer residence and also a spa town. I picked up some info at the tourist information center and found out that Leo Perutz is buried there... the only jewish grave in the end corner of the christian cemetery, with a beautiful view of the mountains.
Hi Isabelle, sorry I didn't see your post earlier. I like all the Jonathan Kellerman books. I've just finished reading "Obsession". Mind you, they're not high literature, just a good read. The sort of book I read and recycle, not a keeper.
I've also just finished reading Code Ezra, by Gay Courter - don't know if Gay is Jewish or not, but this novel is all about an Israeli spy, Eli, and his network of women. It is more thought provoking than Jonathan's books. She has written another book also - "Flowers in the Blood" which is set in the Jewish community in India - I'll have to find a copy - has anyone else read it?
Post by yohannan61 on Oct 11, 2013 13:58:53 GMT -5
Chaim Grade, whose works have been hard to find in English after his death, when his widow (d. 2010) kept everything under lock and key. "The Yeshiva" especially (sadly, I think I must've sold my copy). Gershom Scholem, whose "Sabbatai Sevi" was a revelation (happily, not sold off when money was short). S.Y. Agnon, especially "Only Yesterday," "A Guest for the Night" and his wonderfully accessible "Days of Awe". Cynthia Ozick, especially "The Messiah of Stockholm", "The Pagan Rabbi and Other Stories", as well as her essays. "The Chosen" and "The Promise" were the books that began pointing me homeward in the '80s; Bruno Schulz, tho' I don't know if the stories resurrected by the "Writers from the Other Europe" series back then are still in print. Isaac Asimov was my favorite sf author in my teens (evidently, the rest of the family were Hasids). Another of Milton Steinberg's novels has been resurrected,
With films, the very difficult to find "Crossing Delancey", a film for every book-loving romantic and romantic book-lover. "The Pianist" and "Life is Beautiful", the first for capturing the utter bewilderment of the trapped individual in the Holocaust, and "Life is Beautiful", a reminder that the parading posturing fascisti were ridiculous to common sense.
I'm really drawn to the South African Jewish writer, Nadine Gordimer. She has a keen sense of social justice. She exposes the brutality and injustice of apartheid and in her later novels she concentrates on contemporary themes such as ecological concerns. She features a Jewish protagonist in the book I am reading at the moment, A Sport of Nature. Her essays and short stories are also excellent. Nadine was secular and married twice - both husbands were Jewish. There's some fascinating literary criticism that concentrates on her representation of Jewish characters and Judaism.
Last Edit: Aug 30, 2016 19:21:23 GMT -5 by seapoint