100 books like Jew-ish

By Jake Cohen,

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

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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 52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen

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?

Every week on Thursday afternoon I find myself thinking “what will I cook today, to celebrate Shabbat tomorrow?” Even as a food writer, sometimes I run out of ideas. Since December last year, when 52 Shabbats came out, I have a new resource to refer to when I need inspiration. Faith's book includes a variety of classics and new dishes, organized in a way that makes dinner planning a breeze. In particular, I enjoy the fact that the main course recipes are organized by season, with reference to other courses that would complement them well.

The recipes are easy to follow, even if you have never cooked or tasted that specific Jewish dish before.

By Faith Kramer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 52 Shabbats as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

AS SEEN IN THE NEW YORK TIMES

"Gorgeous" —The Washington Post 

Whether you are a longtime host of weekly Shabbat dinners or new to this global Jewish tradition, 52 Shabbats will spice up your Friday night in one way or another. This book offers a holistic scope of the Shabbat tradition for every reader, Jewish or otherwise. In it you'll find:

Over fifty primary recipes to anchor your menuMore than twenty recipes for side dishes, accompaniments, and dessertsShort essays that detail global foodways and historiesExplanation of the Shabbat ritual

Faith Kramer outlines recipe pairings in a mix-and-match friendly format, incorporating…


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 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 Coming of Age in Medieval Egypt: Female Adolescence, Jewish Law, and Ordinary Culture

Uriel Simonsohn Author Of Female Power and Religious Change in the Medieval Near East

From my list on women in medieval Near Eastern history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian of Muslim – non-Muslim relations in medieval Islam. In all of my publications I've been concerned with the social intersections of different religious communities in the medieval Islamic world, whether through human agency or via institutional arrangements. My goal has been to de-center Islamic history by approaching it from its margins. Hence the choice to study the role of women as agents of religious change in my last monograph Female Power and Religious Change in the Medieval Near East. In this book I address two historical questions which I've always been passionate about, namely the Islamization of the Near East and the place of women in pre-modern Near Eastern societies. 

Uriel's book list on women in medieval Near Eastern history

Uriel Simonsohn Why did Uriel love this book?

Krakowski's Coming of Age in Medieval Egypt offers not only offers a sophisticated critique of scholarship on medieval kinship arrangements, but also casts light on the social agency of young women during the few years between the age of their formal maturity and their matrimonial engagement.

Krakowski's wonderful achievement is made possible thanks to her exceptional familiarity with the documents of the Cairo Geniza and her ability to take a step back and observe the broad social picture they reflect.

By Eve Krakowski,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Coming of Age in Medieval Egypt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Much of what we know about life in the medieval Islamic Middle East comes from texts written to impart religious ideals or to chronicle the movements of great men. How did women participate in the societies these texts describe? What about non-Muslims, whose own religious traditions descended partly from pre-Islamic late antiquity?

Coming of Age in Medieval Egypt approaches these questions through Jewish women's adolescence in Fatimid and Ayyubid Egypt and Syria (c. 969-1250). Using hundreds of everyday papers preserved in the Cairo Geniza, Eve Krakowski follows the lives of girls from different social classes-rich and poor, secluded and physically…


Book cover of Jewish Spirituality: From the Bible through the Middle Ages

Daniel C. Matt Author Of God and the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony Between Science and Spirituality

From my list on Jewish spirituality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a scholar of Kabbalah. My father was a rabbi and I grew up studying Torah with him. He was deeply spiritual, and that drew me to exploring the mystical Judaism. After completing my Ph.D. in Jewish studies, I traveled to India, meditated in the Himalayas, and discovered how mystical teachings East and West are remarkably similar. I taught Jewish spirituality for 20 years at a graduate school in Berkeley. Then a wealthy family approached me and commissioned me to translate the Zohar, the masterpiece of Kabbalah. This took me 18 years and the translation was published in 9 volumes by Stanford University. Now I teach Zohar online.

Daniel's book list on Jewish spirituality

Daniel C. Matt Why did Daniel love this book?

This is a rich survey of Jewish spirituality, starting from the Bible and continuing through the 20th century, including the Talmud, Kabbalah, Ḥasidism, and modern Jewish thought.

Each essay is written by a different prominent scholar. Among the topics covered are: prophecy, the spirituality of Psalms, the relation between law and spirit, the mystical meaning of the mitzvot (commandments), meditation, mystical experience, and the Ḥasidic rebbe.

I like that each essay is based on solid scholarship and yet is very readable.

By Arthur Green (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book is the first of two columes on the spiritual life as manifest in the history of Judaism. This first volume deals with the classic ages of the Jewish tradition: the biblical, the rabbinic, and the medieval.


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…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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