Basic Jewish Library

Reference Works

Atlases, Dictionaries, Encyclopedias 

  • A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People: From the Time of the Patriarchs to the Present, Eli Barnavi, ed., (New York: Schocken Books, 1992) 
  • The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion, R.J. Zwi Werblowsky and Geoffrey Wigoder, eds. in chief (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997) 
  • The Jewish Religion: A Companion, Louis Jacobs (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995) 
  • Encyclopedia Judaica (Jerusalem: Keter Publishing; New York: Macmillan, 1972; CD-ROM, Davka). 


  • The Jewish Study Bible, Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler, Michael Fishbane, eds. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004) 
  • Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary, David L. Lieber, Jules Harlow, eds. (New York: Rabbinical Assembly and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, 2001). 
  • The Torah: A Modern Commentary, W. Gunther Plaut, ed. (New York: Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1981, 2005). 
  • The Chumash: The Stone Edition, Nosson Scherman, ed. (New York: Mesorah, 1993). 


  • Siddur Sim Shalom for Shabbat and Festivals (New York: Rabbinical Assembly and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, 1998) 
  • Siddur Sim Shalom for Weekdays (New York: Rabbinical Assembly and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, 2002). 
  • Gates of Prayer (New York: Central Conference of American Rabbis, 1975) 
  • Kol Haneshamah (Wyncote, PA: Reconstructionist Press, 1994) 
  • Complete ArtScroll Siddur, (Brooklyn, NY: Mesorah Publications Ltd, 1984). 

Introduction to Judaism 

  • Telushkin, Joseph, Jewish Literacy 
  • Steinberg, Milton, Basic Judaism 

The Bible 

  • Alter, Robert, The Art of Biblical Narrative (New York: Basic Books, 1981) and The Art of Biblical Poetry (New York: Basic Books, 1985). 
  • Friedman, Richard Elliot, Who Wrote the Bible? (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1997). 
  • Levenson, Jon D., Sinai and Zion: An Entry into the Jewish Bible (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1985). 

Rabbinic Judaism 

Primary Documents 

  • Talmud Bavli, Schottenstein Edition (Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications); English edition, 73 volumes, begun in 1990, completed in 2005. 
  • Bialik, Hayim Nahman and Yehoshua Hana Ravnitzky, eds., The Book of Legends: Sefer Ha-Aggadah: Legends from the Talmud and Midrash, translated by William G. Braude (New York: Schocken Books, 1992). 
  • Ginzberg, Louis, Legends of the Jews (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society); first edition, seven volumes, 1938, translated by Henrietta Szold; new edition, two volumes, 2003, introduction by David Stern). 

Understanding Rabbinic Judaism 

  • Hauptman, Judith, Rereading the Rabbis: A Woman’s Voice (Boulder: Westview Press, 1998). 
  • Rubenstein, Jeffrey, Rabbinic Stories (New York: Paulist Press, 2002). 
  • Neusner, Jacob, Invitation to the Talmud: A Teaching Book (New York: Harper & Row, 1984). 


Primary Documents 

  • Marcus, Jacob Rader, The Jew in the Medieval World: A Source Book: 315–1791 (Cincinnati: Sinai Press, 1938; Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1999). 
  • Mendes-Flohr, Paul and Jehuda Reinharz, eds., The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980, 1995). 

Understanding Jewish History 

  • Ben Sasson, H.H., A History of the Jewish People (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985). 
  • Sarna, Jonathan, American Judaism: A History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004). 
  • Johnson, Paul, A History of the Jewish People 

Israel & Zionism 

  • Hammer, Reuven, The Jerusalem Anthology: A Literary Guide (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1995). 
  • Hertzberg, Arthur, The Zionist Idea: A Historical Analysis and Reader (Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Herzl Press, 1959; reissued, Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1997). 
  • Sachar, Howard M., A History of Israel (2 volumes), (New York: Knopf, 1996). 

  Philosophy & Theology

Primary Documents 

  • Frank, Daniel H, Oliver Leaman, and Charles H. Manekin, eds., The Jewish Philosophy Reader(London: Routledge, 2000). 

Understanding Jewish Philosophy and Theology 

  • Borowitz, Eugene, Choices in Modern Jewish Thought: A Partisan Guide (West Orange: Behrman House, 1995). 
  • Gillman, Neil, Sacred Fragments 

Law, Ethics, and Observance 

  • Berkovits, Eliezer, Not in Heaven: The Nature and Function of Halakha (New York: KTAV, 1983). 
  • Dorff, Elliot N. and Louis E. Newman, eds., Contemporary Jewish Ethics and Morality: A Reader (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995). 
  • Klein, Isaac, A Guide to Jewish Religious Practice (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 1979, 1992). 
  • Strassfeld, Michael, The Jewish Holidays 

Spirituality and Mysticism 

  • Jacobs, Louis, The Schocken Book of Jewish Mystical Testimonies (New York: Schocken Books, 1996). 
  • Lamm, Norman, ed., The Religious Thought of Hasidism: Text and Commentary (New York: Yeshiva University Press, 1999). 
  • Matt, Daniel, The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1995). 

Prayers and Holy Days 

  • Hammer, Reuven, Entering Jewish Prayer: A Guide to Personal Devotion and the Worship Service (New York: Schocken Books, 1985). 
  • Greenberg, Irving, The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays (New York: Touchstone, 1993). 

Women and Gender 

  • Heschel, Susannah, ed., On Being a Jewish Feminist: A Reader (New York: Schocken Books, 1983). 
  • Grossman, Susan and Rivka Haut, eds., Daughters of the King: Women and the Synagogue(Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1992).