100 books like 52 Shabbats

By Faith Kramer,

Here are 100 books that 52 Shabbats fans have personally recommended if you like 52 Shabbats. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The Jewish Cookbook

Benedetta Jasmine Guetta Author Of Cooking alla Giudia

From my list on Jewish cookbooks you should own.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a food writer and photographer, and my area of expertise is Jewish cuisine. I'm pretty much a nerd when it comes to cookbooks and I think I own all of the available literature on kosher/Jewish cuisine. I was born in Milan, but I live and work in Santa Monica, California, where I also own a tiny business, Café Lovi. In 2009, I co-founded a website called Labna, the only Jewish/Kosher cooking blog in Italy, specializing in Italian and Jewish cuisine. Since then, I have been spreading the word about the marvels of Jewish food, and Italian Jewish food in particular, in Italy and abroad. Cooking alla Giudia is my English-language debut.

Benedetta's book list on Jewish cookbooks you should own

Benedetta Jasmine Guetta Why did Benedetta love this book?

There is a reason why this book is called The Jewish Cookbook: it’s because this is the Jewish cookbook you need to have. Among the recently published books on the topic of Jewish cuisine, Leah’s is well researched, comprehensive and extensive (over 400 recipes from the Middle East to the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa!) yet accurate. The photos are beautiful too. I believe I own pretty much all the classic Jewish cookbooks, but this one is by far one of the best on the topic and one whose recipes I’ll be cooking from over and over again. 

By Leah Koenig,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Jewish Cookbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A rich trove of contemporary global Jewish cuisine, featuring hundreds of stories and recipes for home cooks everywhere

The Jewish Cookbook is an inspiring celebration of the diversity and breadth of this venerable culinary tradition. A true fusion cuisine, Jewish food evolves constantly to reflect the changing geographies and ingredients of its cooks. Featuring more than 400 home-cooking recipes for everyday and holiday foods from the Middle East to the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa - as well as contemporary interpretations by renowned chefs including Yotam Ottolenghi, Michael Solomonov, and Alex Raij - this definitive compendium of Jewish cuisine introduces…


Book cover of King Solomon's Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World: A Cookbook

Benedetta Jasmine Guetta Author Of Cooking alla Giudia

From my list on Jewish cookbooks you should own.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a food writer and photographer, and my area of expertise is Jewish cuisine. I'm pretty much a nerd when it comes to cookbooks and I think I own all of the available literature on kosher/Jewish cuisine. I was born in Milan, but I live and work in Santa Monica, California, where I also own a tiny business, Café Lovi. In 2009, I co-founded a website called Labna, the only Jewish/Kosher cooking blog in Italy, specializing in Italian and Jewish cuisine. Since then, I have been spreading the word about the marvels of Jewish food, and Italian Jewish food in particular, in Italy and abroad. Cooking alla Giudia is my English-language debut.

Benedetta's book list on Jewish cookbooks you should own

Benedetta Jasmine Guetta Why did Benedetta love this book?

Joan Nathan is really an authority on Jewish cooking and her latest book, King Solomon's Table, is a wonderful compendium of Jewish recipes from all around the world and across the ages. The book manages to be both culturally informative and mouth-watering, thorough to a T, and at the same time approachable also for the less experienced home cooks.

This book makes a great gift for friends – newlyweds in particular - and is an amazing conversation starter as well: it fits equally well on a coffee table as in the kitchen.

By Joan Nathan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked King Solomon's Table as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A definitive compendium of Jewish recipes from around the globe and across the ages, from the James Beard Award-winning, much-loved cookbook author and “the queen of American Jewish cooking” (Houston Chronicle)

Driven by a passion for discovery, the biblical King Solomon is said to have sent emissaries on land and sea to all corners of the ancient world, initiating a mass cross-pollination of culinary cultures that continues to bear fruit today. With Solomon’s appetites and explorations in mind, in these pages Joan Nathan gathers together more than 170 recipes, from Israel to Italy to India and beyond.

Here are classics…


Book cover of Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors from My Israeli Kitchen: A Cookbook

Benedetta Jasmine Guetta Author Of Cooking alla Giudia

From my list on Jewish cookbooks you should own.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a food writer and photographer, and my area of expertise is Jewish cuisine. I'm pretty much a nerd when it comes to cookbooks and I think I own all of the available literature on kosher/Jewish cuisine. I was born in Milan, but I live and work in Santa Monica, California, where I also own a tiny business, Café Lovi. In 2009, I co-founded a website called Labna, the only Jewish/Kosher cooking blog in Italy, specializing in Italian and Jewish cuisine. Since then, I have been spreading the word about the marvels of Jewish food, and Italian Jewish food in particular, in Italy and abroad. Cooking alla Giudia is my English-language debut.

Benedetta's book list on Jewish cookbooks you should own

Benedetta Jasmine Guetta Why did Benedetta love this book?

Sababa is an Arabic word used in very colloquial Hebrew: it means something along the lines of “everything is cool.” Nothing describes Adeena’s book better than the title of the ebook itself: Sababa is really pretty cool, and so are all the recipes in it. Adeena takes the readers on an imaginary journey to shuk hacarmel, the vibrant street market of Tel Aviv, to shop for ingredients, and proceeds to share recipes for dishes that are fresh, healthy, full of bright and bold flavors. If you are going to read one book about modern Israeli cuisine, this should be it. 

By Adeena Sussman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sababa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"We should all be cooking like Adeena Sussman."
--The Wall Street Journal

"Sababa is a breath of fresh, sunny air."
--The New York Times

In an Israeli cookbook as personal as it is global, Adeena Sussman celebrates the tableau of flavors the region has to offer, in all its staggering and delicious variety

In Hebrew (derived from the original Arabic), sababa means "everything is awesome," and it's this sunny spirit with which the American food writer and expat Adeena Sussman cooks and dreams up meals in her Tel Aviv kitchen. Every morning, Sussman makes her way through the bustling stalls…


Book cover of Jew-ish: A Cookbook: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch

Benedetta Jasmine Guetta Author Of Cooking alla Giudia

From my list on Jewish cookbooks you should own.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a food writer and photographer, and my area of expertise is Jewish cuisine. I'm pretty much a nerd when it comes to cookbooks and I think I own all of the available literature on kosher/Jewish cuisine. I was born in Milan, but I live and work in Santa Monica, California, where I also own a tiny business, Café Lovi. In 2009, I co-founded a website called Labna, the only Jewish/Kosher cooking blog in Italy, specializing in Italian and Jewish cuisine. Since then, I have been spreading the word about the marvels of Jewish food, and Italian Jewish food in particular, in Italy and abroad. Cooking alla Giudia is my English-language debut.

Benedetta's book list on Jewish cookbooks you should own

Benedetta Jasmine Guetta Why did Benedetta love this book?

I have never met Jake Cohen but his book, Jew-ish, makes me wish we were friends, and not only because he has the best book title pun ever. Jew-ish offers a brilliantly modern take on Jewish food and Jake’s personality really shines through every page of it. Jake’s enthusiasm for Jewish food is contagious. I often get annoyed when authors tweak traditional recipes in extravagantly creative ways, but the liberties that Jake takes on Jewish dishes really add a new dimension to them. I thought I’d dread things like Cacio e Pepe Rugelach (rugelach? salty? is it even legal?!), but I must say I’m a fan now: I’m a Jew-ish convert! :)

By Jake Cohen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jew-ish as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Jew-ish, he reinvents the food of his Ashkenazi heritage and draws inspiration from his husband's Persian-Iraqi traditions to offer recipes that are modern, fresh, and enticing for a whole new generation of readers. Imagine the components of an everything bagel wrapped into a flaky galette and latkes dyed vibrant yellow with saffron for a Persian spin on the potato pancake, plus best-ever hybrid desserts like Macaroon Brownies and Pumpkin Spice Babka! From elevated, yet approachable classics like Jake's Perfect Challah, Roasted Tomato Brisket, Short Rib Cholent, and Iraqi Beet Kubbeh Soup to innovative creations like Cacio e Pepe Rugelach,…


Book cover of Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli

Ian MacAllen Author Of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American

From my list on when you’re hungering for history.

Why am I passionate about this?

My wife and I were at a red sauce joint in the West Village of Manhattan drinking a bit of wine when we posed the question: who invented all this? We knew Italian American food didn’t look all that much like the food we ate in Italy. Later, at home, I started Googling for answers. None were satisfactory. I read a few books before finding myself at the New York Public library sleuthing through JSTOR. After examining my notes, I said to myself, “oh, I guess I’m writing a book.”

Ian's book list on when you’re hungering for history

Ian MacAllen Why did Ian love this book?

The Jewish-style delicatessen is one of the great gifts to food enthusiasts. Merwin’s extensive history details how Jewish immigrant cuisine arrived in America and evolved from an object of ethnic foreignness into part of mainstream culture. There are a large number of parallels between Jewish immigrant and Italian immigrant experiences, especially centered on food in places like New York City’s Lower East Side, where both groups congregated. Merwin mixes in pop cultural references alongside deep research. My favorite detail Merwin revealed was that by 1926, New York City had more than 900 different sandwich combinations.

By Ted Merwin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pastrami on Rye as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2015 National Jewish Book Award in Education and Jewish Identity from the Jewish Book Council
The history of an iconic food in Jewish American culture
For much of the twentieth century, the New York Jewish deli was an iconic institution in both Jewish and American life. As a social space it rivaled-and in some ways surpassed-the synagogue as the primary gathering place for the Jewish community. In popular culture it has been the setting for classics like When Harry Met Sally. And today, after a long period languishing in the trenches of the hopelessly old-fashioned, it is…


Book cover of The Babka Sisters

Martha Seif Simpson Author Of Esther's Gragger: A Toyshop Tale of Purim

From my list on fun picture books about Jewish holidays.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a retired children’s librarian with years of experience choosing books and presenting storytimes. I’m also a picture book author. My first three published picture books were about holidays. I recently served on the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee, so I had the opportunity to read all the Jewish picture books published from 2020-2023. Many were about holidays, and the books I selected are among my favorites because they are fun to read and they express the joy of these celebrations. (And yes, I consider Shabbat to be a holiday!)

Martha's book list on fun picture books about Jewish holidays

Martha Seif Simpson Why did Martha love this book?

It’s about babka! What’s not to like?

I love the clever wordplay in this story. The sisters’ names are Esther and Hester, and their pets are Lester and Chester. Both sisters claim they bake the best babka, and they ask their new neighbor, Sylvester (whose name also rhymes), to judge their friendly competition. Will he choose Esther’s cinnamon-filled babka or Hester’s chocolate-filled one?

I enjoy the sprinkling of Yiddish words (there’s a glossary in the back), the lively illustrations, and Sylvester’s witty resolution. There’s even a recipe for this traditional Jewish bread. A yummy book for Shabbat or any other day!

By Leslea Newman, Tika And Tata Bobokhidze (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Babka Sisters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The great babka bake-off is on! Esther and Hester’s new neighbor, Sylvester, will gladly be their babka tester, and decide which sister’s Babka is the best. With cat Lester and dog Chester, the new friends enjoy a delicious Shabbat.


Book cover of The Shabbat Elevator and other Sabbath Subterfuges: An Unorthodox Essay on Circumventing Custom and Jewish Character

Karen Levy Author Of Data Driven: Truckers, Technology, and the New Workplace Surveillance

From my list on human stories about technology.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a sociologist, and I study how technology shapes and is shaped by people. I love my job because I am endlessly fascinated by why people do the things they do, and how our cultures, traditions, and knowledge affect how we interact with technology in our daily lives. I picked these books because they all tell fascinating stories about how different communities of people have designed, used, or been affected by technological tools.

Karen's book list on human stories about technology

Karen Levy Why did Karen love this book?

Everyone who knows me has at some point had to hear me recount at least one anecdote from this book! Dundes was a professor of folklore, and this book is about all the ways Orthodox Jews navigate the prohibitions of the Sabbath. It includes a lot of incredible history about how technology plays a role in helping people do what they need to do without technically breaking the rules—like the Shabbat elevator in the title, which stops automatically at every floor in a building so that observant Jews don’t have to press a button to operate the elevator (which is prohibited). This book changed how I think about automation, and it’s so richly and respectfully written. One of my all-time favorites.

By Alan Dundes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Shabbat Elevator and other Sabbath Subterfuges as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There are literally hundreds if not thousands of books written about Judaism and Jews, but this book is unlike any previously published. It focuses on the topic of 'circumventing custom' with special emphasis on the ingenious ways Orthodox (and other) Jews have devised to avoid breaking the extensive list of activities forbidden on the Sabbath. After examining the sources of Sabbath observance as set forth in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and rabbinical writings, some of the most salient forms of circumvention are described. These include: riding a special Shabbat elevator, unscrewing the lightbulb in the refrigerator, constructing an…


Book cover of The Shabbat Box

Sylvia A. Rouss Author Of Sammy Spider's First ABC

From my list on for Jewish preschool children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe that good Jewish stories are important tools in building Jewish identity. But when I first taught preschoolers, the books were either too didactic or written for older children. One day, when the children in my class were enthusiastically discussing the Christmas display at the mall, the idea came to me that maybe an eight-legged Spider celebrating the eight days of Hanukkah could compete with Frosty the Snowman. When Sammy Spider asks to spin a dreidel, he is told, “Spider’s don’t spin dreidels. Spiders spin webs.” The response became a favorite with Jewish children and a form of the phrase is part of all the Sammy Spider holiday and values books.

Sylvia's book list on for Jewish preschool children

Sylvia A. Rouss Why did Sylvia love this book?

The Shabbat Box is by Lesley Simpson. Ira’s preschool uses a box to store all the Shabbat objects and when school ends on Shabbat, one of the students gets to take the box home. But when it’s Ira’s turn to take it home, he loses it in the snow. Upset, he decides to make a new Shabbat Box for his class. On Monday, at sharing time, his friends are all surprised and pleased by Ira’s new Shabbat Box. And, then to the children’s delight, the teacher tells them she found the missing Shabbat Box, and now they have two! The story is a favorite of preschoolers.

I love how The Shabbat Box transfers the Shabbat classroom experience into an experience at home. For many of the children, Shabbat occurs only in the classroom and this story helps both the child and the family see how they can celebrate Shabbat at…

By Lesley Simpson, Nicole In Den Bosch (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Shabbat Box as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's finally Ira's turn to take home the Shabbat Box from school. But a bad storm blows open his book bag and the box is lost. What will Ira do? A warm introduction to Shabbat for preschoolers.


Book cover of Chik Chak Shabbat

Caryn Yacowitz Author Of Shoshi's Shabbat

From my list on Jewish children’s picture stories to read aloud.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was young, my father made up stories to tell me, my brother, and my sister each night. One of my favorites was an ongoing series entitled The Lady with the Big Toe. The Lady and her Toe enjoyed daring adventures but the best part was hearing my dad’s voice, being near him and my siblings. I’m not great at making up stories on the spot but because of my study of Jewish texts, languages, and traditions, I knew I wanted to share story-telling and Jewish culture with my own children and grandchildren. Picture books, which are meant to be read aloud, are a magical vehicle for culture/values. 

Caryn's book list on Jewish children’s picture stories to read aloud

Caryn Yacowitz Why did Caryn love this book?

Reading Chik Chak Shabbat always makes me hungry. And it makes me happy as well for its inclusive and loving ode to community and hospitality as well as attention to the weekly holiday of Shabbat. Apartment living is another factor that makes Chik Chak one of my favorites. So many children’s books feature one family dwellings.

Every Shabbat Goldie invites her multi-cultural neighbors for cholent, the traditional slow-cooked dish observant Jews make for the Sabbath, when no cooking is permitted.

But when they don’t smell cholent and discover Goldie is sick, each family brings their own ethnic dish to share chik chak (Hebrew for quickly). With charming text and equally charming and apt illustrations, Chik Chak Shabbat is a delight.

By Mara Rockliff, Kyrsten Brooker (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Chik Chak Shabbat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

“As warm and comforting as a bowl of cholent, this does a fine job of showing how the American mosaic can also be a satisfying whole.” — Booklist (starred review)

When Goldie Simcha doesn’t joyfully throw open her door to welcome everyone into her apartment for a meal of her famouscholent, her neighbors wonder what could be wrong. Little Lali Omar knocks on the door to 5-A, only to learn that Goldie was feeling too sick on Friday to cook, and everyone knows you can’t make cholent in a hurry, right away, chik chak! But it just isn’t Shabbat without…


Book cover of Shoshi's Shabbat

Kerry M. Olitzky Author Of A Whale of a Tale: A Sabbath Summer Solstice Story

From my list on kids reads that simplify complicated Jewish ideas.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a rabbi, educator and author. I have had the privilege of writing many books over the course of my rabbinate. Over the past five years, I have turned the attention of my writing to children’s books. And I am especially attuned to those books that take complicated Jewish ideas and tell them in words and pictures that young children can understand. I try to do this in my own writing, as well. 

Kerry's book list on kids reads that simplify complicated Jewish ideas

Kerry M. Olitzky Why did Kerry love this book?

This is a sweet book that focuses on the essential idea of Shabbat: rest and refraining from work.

It also teaches an idea that is part of the ancient lesson of the Sabbath—everyone rests on the Sabbath including work animals. I like this book—and its lovely illustrations—because it takes a difficult idea that is culled from rabbinic sources. 

By Caryn Yacowitz, Kevin Hawkes (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shoshi's Shabbat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

The virtues of taking a break - and of being thankful - are extolled in the gentle story of a stubborn ox, an impatient farmer, and a day of rest.

Long ago, in the hills near Jerusalem, lived a young ox. For six days each week, she and her owner would toil in the fields, and on the seventh day both would rest. Then it came to be that this young ox was sold. For six days, she toiled in her new owner's fields, and on the seventh day the farmer brought out the yoke and plough, expecting to spend…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Jewish history, presidential biography, and the Holocaust?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Jewish history, presidential biography, and the Holocaust.

Jewish History Explore 456 books about Jewish history
Presidential Biography Explore 18 books about presidential biography
The Holocaust Explore 383 books about the Holocaust