Books I Like

To Be A Jew,  Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin – Excellent summery of observant Judaism.  This is the book I turn to when I’m looking for a basic answer to some question.  It doesn’t go into a lot of depth on any one subject, but it covers the big things enough so that you know what questions to ask.  This is also the book I recommended to my parents to read about Judaism.

To Pray As A Jew, Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin.  I’ve seen this book listed as a siddur, but it’s not.  I don’t think you could reasonable daven out of it, or lead services out of it, but I also don’t think it’s meant to be used that way.  It talks in a reasonable amount of detail about the history of the liturgy and the structure and content of the liturgy.  This was the book that helped me finally understand the choreography of services, and the organization of all the prayers. 

Artscroll Interlinear Siddur.  Love this siddur more than I can say.  I know that some people don’t like it to daven out of, but for me there is nothing better than having the Hebrew translated right underneath the words.  It’s such a help when trying to learn Hebrew.  Also, because the English is in a weird format, I’m less likely to give up and switch to the English when I’m tired.  Admittedly, what siddur you use probably as much a personal preference as anything else, but for me, this one is it. 

This Is My God. Herman Wouk.  In the same vein as To Be A Jew, but this book focuses more on theology and belief than on specifics of observance.  It’s a defense of faith, and of Jewish tradition (and I mean that in the best way).  A wonderful read for anyone looking for the basics of orthodox Jewish theology. 

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3 responses

8 02 2007
Lilian

You may have got beyond this level by now, but have you read “Choosing a Jewish Life” by Anita Diamant? Also “On being Jewish” by Julia Neuberger is a good read, although she is coming from a British perspective and was born Jewish.

8 02 2007
Emily

I have read Choosing a Jewish Life. It’s a good book, but it’s definatly from a reform persepective. It’s not one of the books that I keep coming back to as a reference the way I do with the books above. I havn’t heard of the other one, I’ll have to get it from the library.

3 07 2007
tholmes1

I’m creating a blog similar to yours and was wondering if you could give a few pointers: nearlyajew.wordpress.com
While your’s was my inspiration, I am not trying to mimic you, so give me a few pointers with layout, yeah?

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