100 books like God Was Not in the Fire

By Daniel Gordis,

Here are 100 books that God Was Not in the Fire fans have personally recommended if you like God Was Not in the Fire. 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 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 As a Driven Leaf

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?

A well-loved classic, to be sure, this book introduces readers to the theological searches and struggles of the individual.

The book is well-written as a novel, cleverly informed implicitly by the stories of the Talmud and its rabbis. I like to say that I was raised on this novel. It took me to places that I didn’t know existed until I later entered those worlds. The main character of this book is a bit of an antihero, an outlier, someone to whom I always related.

By Milton Steinberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked As a Driven Leaf as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The age of the Talmud is brought to life in a breathtaking saga. First published in 1939, this masterpiece of modern fiction tells the gripping tale of renegade Talmudic sage Elisha ben Abuyah's struggle to reconcile his faith with the allure of Hellenistic culture. Set in Roman Palestine, As a Driven Leaf draws readers into the dramatic era of Rabbinic Judaism. Watch the great Talmudic sages at work in the Sanhedrin, eavesdrop on their arguments about theology and Torah, and agonize with them as they contemplate rebellion against an oppressive Roman rule.

Steinberg's classic novel also transcends its historical setting…


Book cover of Everyday Holiness: The Jewish Spiritual Path of Mussar

Mark E. Leib Author Of Image Breaker

From my list on Jewish life and ethics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started studying Judaism as an adult in 1982, and in the 40 or so years that have passed since then I’ve read voraciously on the subject and have discussed it at length with Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform rabbis from Boston to Tampa. I’ve come to see over that time that Judaism’s objective is to shape conscientious, caring human beings who will bring light and compassion to the earth in spite of all the forces that want to keep trouble and insensitivity there. The books that I’ve listed are among the best in communicating the Jewish vision for the planet. I think you’ll learn much from them.

Mark's book list on Jewish life and ethics

Mark E. Leib Why did Mark love this book?

This is a book about the Jewish movement called “Musar” – devoted to turning well-meaning but clumsy humans into upright, caring adults with a positive impact on all who know them.

Morinis is particularly good at helping the reader determine where in his/her personality the most attention is needed. And Morinis’s consideration of “the inner adversary” – the impulse that tempts us to mitigate our goodness every time we think of expressing it – is masterful.

The next time you decide to do a good deed – and then suddenly find reasons not to do it – you’ll remember Morinis and Musar. And you might do the good deed after all. 

By Alan Morinis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Mussar is an illuminating, approachable, and highly practical set of teachings for cultivating personal growth and spiritual realization in the midst of day-to-day life. Here is an accessible and inspiring introduction to this Jewish spiritual path, which until lately has been best known in the world of Orthodox Judaism. The core teaching of Mussar is that our deepest essence is inherently pure and holy, but this inner radiance is obscured by extremes of emotion, desire, and bad habits. Our work in life is to uncover the brilliant light of the soul. The Mussar masters developed transformative teachings and practices—some of…


Book cover of A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume

Tama J. Kieves Author Of This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love

From my list on to help you stay true to yourself and your calling.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am moved by the deepest potential in all of us. Having graduated from Harvard Law School and working as an unfilled attorney, I finally left everything to follow my true desire to write. So, I know how vital it is to have support for our inspiration instead of our fears. That’s why I’ve written 5 books to champion visionary minds, creative souls, freedom junkies, and more. And as a TEDx speaker and USA Today featured visionary career coach, I am always reading for my own growth and for my students. I recommend these books because they helped me to trust in greater possibilities. I hope they support your dreams. 

Tama's book list on to help you stay true to yourself and your calling

Tama J. Kieves Why did Tama love this book?

I recommend this book because this spiritual text helped me—more than any other—to see and choose from love instead of fear in my own life. When I left my prestigious law job, I had a storm of fears weaken my creative dreams. This book helped me to find and trust my own inner authority. It also helped me to feel more secure in life, no matter what was going on. At first, I found the language off-putting because it “sounded” religious at times. But this path is not about any religion, other than the love and infinite power in all of us. There are gazillions of spiritual books on the market, but this one is a powerhouse, a classic, and a gamechanger.    

By Dr. Helen Schucman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Course in Miracles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the edition of "A Course in Miracles" ("the Course") that its two scribes, Drs. Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford, authorized for publication by the Foundation for Inner Peace in 1975. It is now available in translation in 27 languages and is widely used by students in thousands of Course study groups around the world.
"A Course in Miracles" is a unique spiritual self-study program—a course in mind-training—designed to undo the illusion that you are separate in any way from God or your fellow humans. At the level of the mind we are all united as one. When we…


Book cover of Crafting a Rule of Life: An Invitation to the Well-Ordered Way

Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung Author Of Glittering Vices: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies

From my list on spiritual formation and Christian virtue.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a moral philosopher, I ask practical questions: What kind of person am I becoming? What kind of life will I live? What loves, hopes, and fears drive my choices and shape my relationships? Character formation moves us from vice to virtue. It starts with self-reflection and moves toward intentional practice. Over time, those practices shape us and add up to a way of life. You will be formed—but how? Glittering Vices, like my job, combines my passions for character development and wise teaching. Enduring the fiery furnace of cancer treatment made formation an urgent, life-changing topic for me. I hope these books open your life to renewal too.

Rebecca's book list on spiritual formation and Christian virtue

Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung Why did Rebecca love this book?

This is the most “how-to” book on the list. Whether we are reflective about it or not, our character will be shaped and our lives transformed into something—the only question is In what way? and For what end? John Stott once said that “Spirituality is not a condition into which we can drift.” Steve’s book teaches you how not to drift through life. 

Steve’s ministry (Leadership Transformations) helps Christian leaders and laypeople live renewed and beautiful lives. This book walks you through a process of self-reflection and intentional choice to create a “rule of life”—an intentional rhythm or pattern of our days that primes us for spiritual growth and attentiveness to God.

By Stephen A. Macchia,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Crafting a Rule of Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Your personal rule of life is a holistic description of the Spirit-empowered rhythms and relationships that create, redeem, sustain and transform the life God invites you to humbly fulfill for Christ's glory. All of us have an unwritten personal rule of life. We wake at certain times, get ready for our days in particular ways, use our free time for assorted purposes and practice rhythms of work, hobbies, and worship. There is already a rule in place that you are following. Isn?t it time to give up your unwritten rule and prayerfully write one that more closely matches the heartbeat…


Book cover of God: A Biography

Mohamed Rabie Author Of The Global Debt Crisis and Its Socioeconomic Implications: Creating Conditions for a Sustainable, Peaceful, and Just World

From my list on serving humanity and revealing misleading secrets.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired professor, was raised in a refugee camp, one of a family of 9 living in one tent. studied in Palestine, Egypt, Germany, and America, have Ph.D. in economics; scholarships financed my education journey. I lived a life no human has lived or can live, because some of the times I lived had come and gone and cannot come back again. I taught at 11 universities on 4 continents, published 60 books in Arabic and English: books on economics, politics, culture, history, conflict resolution, philosophy, racism, novels, and poetry. True intellectuals cannot stay in one area because issues that shape mankind's history and man’s destiny are interconnected. 

Mohamed's book list on serving humanity and revealing misleading secrets

Mohamed Rabie Why did Mohamed love this book?

Believers in God see him as the creator of man and women in his own image. Firm believers tried throughout history to model themselves as they imagined God. But God, the author says, evolves through his relationship with man, and man becomes rival to God. So believers and non-believers discover that God, the protector of the poor and weak, becomes a warrior who nearly destroys all humans and animals he created by causing the flood. So rational people realize that God is a tribal chief who gets angry, kills, destroys, loves some and forgets many more. This book is a must-read for all believers and non-believers. I found this book unusual in telling amazing stories about God and his actions and reactions. 

By Jack Miles,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked God as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE

What sort of "person" is God? What is his "life story"? Is it possible to approach him not as an object of religious reverence, but as the protagonist of the world's greatest book—as a character who possesses all the depths, contradictions, and abiguities of a Hamlet? This is the task that Jack Miles—a former Jesuit trained in religious studies and Near Eastern languages—accomplishes with such brilliance and originality in God: A Biography.

Using the Hebrew Bible as his text, Miles shows us a God who evolves through his relationship with man, the image who in…


Book cover of Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation

Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung Author Of Glittering Vices: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies

From my list on spiritual formation and Christian virtue.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a moral philosopher, I ask practical questions: What kind of person am I becoming? What kind of life will I live? What loves, hopes, and fears drive my choices and shape my relationships? Character formation moves us from vice to virtue. It starts with self-reflection and moves toward intentional practice. Over time, those practices shape us and add up to a way of life. You will be formed—but how? Glittering Vices, like my job, combines my passions for character development and wise teaching. Enduring the fiery furnace of cancer treatment made formation an urgent, life-changing topic for me. I hope these books open your life to renewal too.

Rebecca's book list on spiritual formation and Christian virtue

Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung Why did Rebecca love this book?

I love Barton’s personal and practical approach to a key cluster of spiritual disciplines in this accessible overview. She explores how to encounter God in Scripture and in prayer, how to practice solitude, self-examination and discernment, how to honor the body and keep sabbath. Individual chapters are framed by an introduction to spiritual formation and book-ended by combining them into a single rule of life. Think of this book as a fresh update of Richard Foster’s classic, Celebration of Discipline. (See her Transforming Center website for more.)

By Ruth Haley Barton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Do you long for a deep, fundamental change in your life with God? Do you desire a greater intimacy with God? Do you wonder how you might truly live your life as God created you to live it? Spiritual disciplines are activities that open us to God's transforming love and the changes that only God can bring about in our lives. Picking up on the monastic tradition of creating a "rule of life" that allows for regular space for the practice of spiritual disciplines, Ruth Haley Barton takes you more deeply into understanding seven key disciplines along with practical ideas…


Book cover of Be Still and Get Going: A Jewish Meditation Practice for Real Life

Brenda Shoshanna Author Of Jewish Dharma: A Guide to the Practice of Judaism and Zen

From my list on Zen and Judaism.

Why am I passionate about this?

A lifelong practitioner and teacher of both Zen and Judaism, I am also a psychologist, who has constantly grappled with human needs, suffering, and the craving for meaning. The focus of my life has been to integrate the profound teachings of East and West and provide ways of making these teachings real in our everyday lives. An award-winning author, I have published many books on Zen and psychology, and have been the playwright in residence at the Jewish Repertory Theater in NY. Presently, I offer two weekly podcasts, Zen Wisdom for Your Everyday Life, and One Minute Mitzvahs. I also provide ongoing Zen talks both for Morningstar Zen and Inisfada Zen, workshops, and other talks for the community.

Brenda's book list on Zen and Judaism

Brenda Shoshanna Why did Brenda love this book?

Combining the teachings of Zen and Judaism Rabbi Lew creates a wonderful balance between stillness and activity. The book includes both Buddhist and Jewish teachings and addresses the pain and psychological issues we grapple with daily.

By Alan Lew,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Be Still and Get Going as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written in a warm, accessible, and intimate style, Be Still and Get Going will touch those who are searching for an authentic spiritual practice that speaks to them in their own cultural language. Lew is one of the most sought-after rabbis on the lecture circuit. He has had national media exposure for his dynamic fusion of Eastern insight and Bible study, having been the subject of stories on ABC News, the McNeil Lehrer News Hour, and various NPR programs. In the past five years there have been national conferences on Jewish meditation in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Miami where…


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