100 books like As a Driven Leaf

By Milton Steinberg,

Here are 100 books that As a Driven Leaf fans have personally recommended if you like As a Driven Leaf. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of God Was Not in the Fire: The Search for a Spiritual Judaism

Kerry M. Olitzky Author Of The Sisters Z

From my list on introducing Jewish ideas to others.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a rabbi, educator, scholar and author who has led congregations, organizations and taught in rabbinical seminaries. As a result, I have always straddled the world of the practitioner and the academician. These books have informed my personal religious practice and outlook, as well as my academic approach to Judaism.

Kerry's book list on introducing Jewish ideas to others

Kerry M. Olitzky Why did Kerry love this book?

In the current search for spirituality, many people inside and outside of the Jewish community are looking for the Jewish path to spirituality.

This is a powerful introduction to the various practices in Judaism that offer such a spiritual path for the seeker. The book contains a vehicle to enhancing one’s connection to the Divine or finding it for the first time. I found it helpful on a personal level. 

By Daniel Gordis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked God Was Not in the Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Simon & Schuster, God Was Not in the Fire is Daniel Gordis' fascinating and exhilarating search for a spiritual judaism.

Contemporary Jews seeking a path toward spirituality and a renewal of faith will find it in this fresh look at the traditional rituals, prayers, celebrations, and ethical teachings of Judaism.


Book cover of Judaism Disrupted: A Spiritual Manifesto for the 21st Century

Kerry M. Olitzky Author Of The Sisters Z

From my list on introducing Jewish ideas to others.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a rabbi, educator, scholar and author who has led congregations, organizations and taught in rabbinical seminaries. As a result, I have always straddled the world of the practitioner and the academician. These books have informed my personal religious practice and outlook, as well as my academic approach to Judaism.

Kerry's book list on introducing Jewish ideas to others

Kerry M. Olitzky Why did Kerry love this book?

By the author of the most well-known and useful DIY book (The Jewish Catalogue), this is one of the most important books of the current generation.

The author gives us a blueprint for navigating a positive and productive Jewish future and the steps for getting there. I found the book intriguing. Since I consider myself a Jewish futurist, this book projects a possible trend in the future—which I find to be quite provocative and potentially “prophetic.”

By Michael Strassfeld,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


"I can't remember the last time I felt pulled to underline a book constantly as I was reading it, but Judaism Disrupted is exactly that intellectual, spiritual and personal adventure. You will find yourself nodding, wrestling, and hoping to hold on to so many of its ideas and challenges. Rabbi Strassfeld reframes a Torah that demands breakage, reimagination, and ownership. Not only did I learn so much from Strassfeld's 11 principles; I was changed by them."

-Abigail Pogrebin, author, My Jewish Year; 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew


How do you hold on to faith in a modern world? Rabbi Michael…


Book cover of The New Jewish Canon

Kerry M. Olitzky Author Of The Sisters Z

From my list on introducing Jewish ideas to others.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a rabbi, educator, scholar and author who has led congregations, organizations and taught in rabbinical seminaries. As a result, I have always straddled the world of the practitioner and the academician. These books have informed my personal religious practice and outlook, as well as my academic approach to Judaism.

Kerry's book list on introducing Jewish ideas to others

Kerry M. Olitzky Why did Kerry love this book?

As a result of vast outpouring of important Jewish writing over the last century, it is difficult to navigate what is important and what should be included in the mainstream of Jewish life.

This is a curated collection of some of the most important writing and documentation of the period. I found it personally helpful to know what I should be reading and what I should be aware of. It also provides a helpful blueprint for those of us who are educators—what should be teaching in the years ahead to raise literate Jews of this generation, as well as those of other faith communities who may be interested in the trajectory of Jewish intellectual and religious life of this period.

By Yehuda Kurtzer (editor), Claire E. Sufrin (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries have been a period of mass production and proliferation of Jewish ideas, and have witnessed major changes in Jewish life and stimulated major debates. The New Jewish Canon offers a conceptual roadmap to make sense of such rapid change. With over eighty excerpts from key primary source texts and insightful corresponding essays by leading scholars, on topics of history and memory, Jewish politics and the public square, religion and religiosity, and identities and communities, The New Jewish Canon promises to start conversations from the seminar room to the dinner table. The New Jewish…


Book cover of Renewing the Covenant: A Theology for the Postmodern Jew

Kerry M. Olitzky Author Of The Sisters Z

From my list on introducing Jewish ideas to others.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a rabbi, educator, scholar and author who has led congregations, organizations and taught in rabbinical seminaries. As a result, I have always straddled the world of the practitioner and the academician. These books have informed my personal religious practice and outlook, as well as my academic approach to Judaism.

Kerry's book list on introducing Jewish ideas to others

Kerry M. Olitzky Why did Kerry love this book?

Eugene Borowitz was the leading liberal Jewish theologian of the 20th and early 21st century. Although this book may be challenging for those disinclined to read dense theology, it is presented in a more popular way and contains a theology that has informed the lives of many Jews, including myself. 

By Eugene B. Borowitz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Borowitz creatively explores his theory of Covenant, linking self to folk and God through the contemporary idiom of relationship.


Book cover of The Living Talmud

Ronald W. Pies Author Of The Ethics of the Jewish Mystics: An Introduction and Commentary

From my list on Jewish ethical teachings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a psychiatrist and medical ethicist—not a theologian or rabbinical scholar. And yet, for more than thirty years, I have had a kind of love affair with rabbinical ethics and have written several books on the topic. This is particularly ironic, since, in my youth, I rebelled against my own rabbi’s teachings and my father’s adherence to Orthodox Judaism. Much later in life, I took courses in Jewish ethics and studied briefly with a local rabbi. I eventually came to appreciate the deep psychological wisdom in so much of Jewish and rabbinical ethics. 

Ronald's book list on Jewish ethical teachings

Ronald W. Pies Why did Ronald love this book?

Professor Judah Goldin’s new translation of Pirke Avot, along with his introductory essay on the Talmud, provides a concise, easily understood introduction to Jewish ethics. Prof. Goldin also provides some of the first English translations of many classical commentaries on Pirke Avot, all in a compact, paperback format. By making these translations available to the general public, Goldin has performed a valuable service.  

By Judah Goldin,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of The Pirkei Avos Treasury

Ronald W. Pies Author Of The Ethics of the Jewish Mystics: An Introduction and Commentary

From my list on Jewish ethical teachings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a psychiatrist and medical ethicist—not a theologian or rabbinical scholar. And yet, for more than thirty years, I have had a kind of love affair with rabbinical ethics and have written several books on the topic. This is particularly ironic, since, in my youth, I rebelled against my own rabbi’s teachings and my father’s adherence to Orthodox Judaism. Much later in life, I took courses in Jewish ethics and studied briefly with a local rabbi. I eventually came to appreciate the deep psychological wisdom in so much of Jewish and rabbinical ethics. 

Ronald's book list on Jewish ethical teachings

Ronald W. Pies Why did Ronald love this book?

Pirke Avos—often translated as “The Ethics of the Fathers” or “The Chapters of the Sages”—is the only book of the Talmud devoted exclusively to ethics. (The Talmud is a collection of rabbinical commentaries on the Torah, or “Old Testament”). Don’t be put off by the “gendered” title. Pirke Avos is a treasure trove of ethical guidance and psychological insight for anyone seeking a richer spiritual life. This particular edition brings together scores of sages and scholars in one volume. 

By Moshe Lieber, Nosson Scherman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ethics Of The Fathers, the sages' guide to living.


Book cover of Rifka Takes a Bow

Gloria Koster Author Of Dance the Hora, Isadora

From my list on lighthearted picture books with Jewish characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a school and public librarian as well as a writer. I also serve as a member of the Children’s Book Committee of the Bank Street College of Education. We review hundreds of books each year for consideration of a place on our list –The Best Children’s Books of the YearI've chosen to recommend some lighthearted picture books with Jewish characters or themes because a number of my own books fit into this category. Mitzi’s Mitzvah, Little Red Ruthie, and Dance the Hora, Isadora! are three of my Jewish themed books. Each of these titles has been selected by PJ Library, an organization that sends a book each month to children.

Gloria's book list on lighthearted picture books with Jewish characters

Gloria Koster Why did Gloria love this book?

This book reflects the author’s own experience as a child during the heyday of Yiddish theater. It’s an exciting story that will engage kids with a slice of history as they imagine themselves taking to the stage and enjoying the thrill of the limelight. So many Jewish-themed books focus on the holidays, so it’s refreshing to have others that just reflect Jewish life in the past or the present.

By Rebecca Rosenberg Perlov, Cosei Kawa (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rifka Takes a Bow 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?

Rifka's parents are actors in the Yiddish Theater in New York, but one day Rifka finds herself center stage in a special role! A slice of immigrant life on New York's Second Avenue, this is a unique book about a vanished time and a place – the Yiddish theater in the early 20th century―made real through the telling of the true life story of the 96-year-old author as a little girl.


Book cover of Black Zion: African American Religious Encounters with Judaism

Cheryl Lynn Greenberg Author Of Troubling the Waters: Black-Jewish Relations in the American Century

From my list on Black-Jewish relations.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor who teaches and works in the field of African American History. Because I am both white and Jewish, I’ve been repeatedly asked to give talks about relationships between African Americans and white Jewish Americans, and about what “went wrong” to shatter the “grand alliance” of the civil rights movement embodied by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. I had no answer, but I suspected that none of the stories that we had been told, whether good or bad, were fully true. So I went back to the sources and uncovered a complex and multilayered history. Black and Jewish collaboration was never a given, and underlying tensions and conflicts reflected the broader realities of race and class in the U.S. In the book I explored how these historical and political forces operated, and continue to resonate today.

Cheryl's book list on Black-Jewish relations

Cheryl Lynn Greenberg Why did Cheryl love this book?

Too often “Black-Jewish relations” focuses on Jewish engagement in the Black civil rights struggle, a largely one-sided political narrative. This book broadens that horizon in two ways. First, it focuses on the Black experience and encounter with the other, rather than the Jewish one. Second, it explores the religious dimension that political discussions often ignore – that the Black experience with Jews and Judaism is as much rooted in religion as in politics.

By Yvonne Patricia Chireau (editor), Nathaniel Deutsch (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Black Zion explores the myriad ways in which African American religions have encountered Jewish traditions, beliefs, and spaces. The collection's unifying argument is that religion is the missing piece of the cultural jigsaw puzzle, that much of the recent turmoil in black-Jewish relations would be better understood, if not alleviated, if the religious roots of those relations were illuminated. Toward that end, the contributors look a number of provocative
topics, including the concept of the Chosen People, the typological identification of blacks with Jews, the actual identification of blacks as Jews, the sacredness of space and symbols, the importance of…


Book cover of The Right and the Good: Halakhah and Human Relations

Ronald W. Pies Author Of The Ethics of the Jewish Mystics: An Introduction and Commentary

From my list on Jewish ethical teachings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a psychiatrist and medical ethicist—not a theologian or rabbinical scholar. And yet, for more than thirty years, I have had a kind of love affair with rabbinical ethics and have written several books on the topic. This is particularly ironic, since, in my youth, I rebelled against my own rabbi’s teachings and my father’s adherence to Orthodox Judaism. Much later in life, I took courses in Jewish ethics and studied briefly with a local rabbi. I eventually came to appreciate the deep psychological wisdom in so much of Jewish and rabbinical ethics. 

Ronald's book list on Jewish ethical teachings

Ronald W. Pies Why did Ronald love this book?

Judaism is sometimes accused of being obsessed with rituals and laws, at the expense of interpersonal relationships. Rabbi Feldman’s insightful book debunks that charge, focusing in psychologically astute ways on human relationships. Topics include revenge, violence, love, and generosity. While scholarly in content, this book has a friendly, informal tone, such as the chapter titled, “One strike and you’re out: hitting and raising a hand in violence.” 

By Daniel Z. Feldman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In an effort to respond to the baseless criticism that Jewish law is overly preoccupied with religious ritual at the expense of issues having to do with interpersonal relationships, the author presents a detailed exploration of the vast attention that the masters of Jewish thought have given to relations between and among individuals. This book is not a legal guide to interpersonal relationships in Jewish life, nor is it a volume of moral exhortation. Rather, Rabbi Feldman aims to convey the importance of his subject by exhibiting its hallowed place within the structure of Jewish law and within the analysis…


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