Suggestions for Reading from the Library Committee

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The Library Committee’s

Suggestions for Reading

Are you settling-in for some more months of "physical distancing?" Have you already put a big dent in the reading list you prepared last March? The Library Committee is here to help with suggestions for what to read next. In fact, we’re exploring possible programs to build on a few of these works. So, stay tuned for program announcements and, in the meantime, let’s all keep reading and expanding our horizons!


The Social Construction of Whiteness & the Black/White Divide

Karen Brodkin, How Jews Became White Folks and What That Says about Race in America (1998)

Matthew Frye Jacobson, Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race (1999)

Neil Irvin Painter, The History of White People (2011)


Black-Jewish Interactions


Adina Back and Jack Salzman, Bridges and Boundaries: African Americans and American Jews (1992).


Susan Messer, Grand River and Joy (2009)

Michael Chabon, Telegraph Avenue (2013)

Renee Rosen, Windy City Blues (2017)

More here:


Memoirs by Black Jewish Authors

Tiffany Haddish, The Last Black Unicorn (2017)

Marra B. Gad, The Color of Love: A Story of a Mixed-Race Jewish Girl (2019)


Books by Black Jewish Authors




Lev Golkin, A Backpack, a Bear and Eight Crates of Vodka (2014)

Massoud Hayoun, When We Were Arabs: A Jewish Family's Forgotten History (2019)

Ilana Kurshan, If All the Seas Were Ink (2019)

Mimi Lemay, What Will We Become? A Mother, a Son, and a Journey of Transformation (2019)



Abraham Cahan, The Rise of David Levinsky (1917)

Anzia Yezierska, The Bread Givers (1925)

Martin J. Gidron*, The Severed Wing (2000)

Hortense Calisher, Sunday Jews (2002)

Michael Lavigne, The Wanting (2013)

     *aka Martin Berman-Gorvine, older son of Harold and Natalie Gorvine


Pandemic Fiction

Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron (+/- 1350); G. H. McWilliam, (Introduction; Translator); Penguin Classics (2003)

Myla Goldberg, Wickett’s Remedy (2010)

Etgar Keret, Outside (2020) (Short Story)


Short Stories

(Many can be found online.)

Edna Ferber, The Gay Old Dog (1917)

Tillie Olsen, I Stand Here Ironing (1957)

Bernard Malamud, The Magic Barrel (1958)

Philip Roth, The Conversion of the Jews (1959)

Bernard Malamud. The Jewbird (1963)

Grace Paley, Friends (1980)

Jonathan Englander, For the Relief of Unbearable Urges (1999)

Amos Oz, Where the Jackals Howl (2012)



Janet Ruth Falon, In the Spirit of the Holidays: Readings to Enrich Every Jewish Holiday (2018)


Zionism & Israel

Daniel Kupfert Heller, Jabotinsky's Children: Polish Jews and the Rise of Right-Wing Zionism (2017)

Amy Kaplan, Our American Israel: The Story of an Entangled Alliance (2018)

Susie Linfield, The Lions' Den: Zionism and the Left from Hannah Arendt to Noam Chomsky (2019)


Jewish Life & Thought

S. Schechter, Some Aspects of Rabbinic Theology (1909)

Neil Gillman, Sacred Fragments: Recovering Theology for the Modern Jew (1990)

Rabbi Alan Lew, This is Real, and You Are Completely Unprepared (2003)

Susan A. Glenn and Naomi B. Sokoloff, Editors, Boundaries of Jewish Identity (2010)

Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin, Editor, Text Messages: A Torah Commentary for Teens (2012)

Jeremy Dauber, Jewish Comedy: A Serious History (2018)

Adam Ferziger et al., Editors, Yitz Greenberg and Modern Orthodoxy: The Road Not Taken (2019)

Rabbi Arthur Ocean Waskow, Dancing in God's Earthquake: The Coming Transformation of Religion (2020)


General Interest

Jacob M. Appel, M.D., Who Says You’re Dead? Medical & Ethical Dilemmas for the Curious & Concerned (2019)

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