Shalom From the Shabbat Lady
By Laura Seymour

Dear Families,
I love lists and I love books, so when I got the book “100 Essential Books for Jewish Readers” I was thrilled. The book was published in 1998; now there are many more books to be added to the list (and, of course, I have my favorites). However, there are some that every Jewish home should have on their bookshelf. If you received gift cards to bookstores for Chanukah, now is your chance to add to your Jewish bookshelf.
Here are a few suggestions from the book:

  • The Tanach (pick your choice of many)
  • “Does God have a Big Toe?” by Marc Gellman
  • “On Women and Judaism” by Blu Greenberg
  • “The First, Second and Third Jewish Catalogs” by Michael Strassfeld
  • “Basic Judaism” by Milton Steinberg
  • “I and Thou” by Martin Buber
  • “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Victor Frankl
  • “Jews, God and History” by Max Dimont
  • “Heroes and Hustlers, Hard Hats and Holy Men” by Ze’ev Chafets
  • “The Wall” by John Hersey
  • “The Sunflower” by Simon Wiesenthal
  • “On Being a Jewish Feminist” edited by Susannah Heschel
  • “Jephte’s Daughter” by Naomi Ragen
  • “This is My God” by Herman Wouk

This is a great beginning but only the beginning. We are called the People of the Book yet we are really the “people of the books.” There are so many wonderful Jewish books — old ones, new ones, classic texts (I can’t believe that Pirke Avot was not listed — it is a must on every family’s bookshelf and should be read often), irreverent novels and more. Send me your favorites ( and I will pass them along.
Laura Seymour is director of camping services and Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.

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