100 books like Moses Maimonides

By Herbert A. Davidson,

Here are 100 books that Moses Maimonides fans have personally recommended if you like Moses Maimonides. 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 Cambridge Companion to the Talmud and Rabbinic Literature

Joshua A. Fogel Author Of Maiden Voyage: The Senzaimaru and the Creation of Modern Sino-Japanese Relations

From my list on Jewish history.

Who am I?

I’m a historian of China and Japan whose work has hewed close to the cultural interactions between Chinese and Japanese over recent centuries. I’m now working on the history of the Esperanto movement in China and Japan from the first years of the twentieth century through the early 1930s. The topic brings together my interests in Sino-Japanese historical relations, linguistic scholarship, and Jewish history (the creator of Esperanto was a Polish-Jewish eye doctor). Over the last couple of decades, I have become increasingly interested in Jewish history. I think by now I know what counts as good history, but I’m still an amateur in Jewish history. Nonetheless, these books all struck me as extraordinary.

Joshua's book list on Jewish history

Joshua A. Fogel Why did Joshua love this book?

The collection of essay on the Talmud and early rabbinic literature is part of the immense “Companion” series that Cambridge University Press has been bringing out for some time.  I have read their volume on baseball and the Beatles and one or two more.  Each one of the essays in the Talmud volume is astonishingly insightful and, not always concomitant, a delight to read.  These are not the usual words associated with the Talmud.  In short, I enjoyed it immensely.

By Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert (editor), Martin S. Jaffee (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cambridge Companion to the Talmud and Rabbinic Literature as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This volume introduces students of rabbinic literature to the range of historical and interpretative questions surrounding the rabbinic texts of late antiquity. The editors, themselves well-known interpreters of Rabbinic literature, have gathered an international collection of scholars to support students' initial steps in confronting the enormous and complex rabbinic corpus. Unlike other introductions to Rabbinic writings, the present volume includes approaches shaped by anthropology, gender studies, oral-traditional studies, classics, and folklore studies.


Book cover of Spinoza: A Life

Joshua A. Fogel Author Of Maiden Voyage: The Senzaimaru and the Creation of Modern Sino-Japanese Relations

From my list on Jewish history.

Who am I?

I’m a historian of China and Japan whose work has hewed close to the cultural interactions between Chinese and Japanese over recent centuries. I’m now working on the history of the Esperanto movement in China and Japan from the first years of the twentieth century through the early 1930s. The topic brings together my interests in Sino-Japanese historical relations, linguistic scholarship, and Jewish history (the creator of Esperanto was a Polish-Jewish eye doctor). Over the last couple of decades, I have become increasingly interested in Jewish history. I think by now I know what counts as good history, but I’m still an amateur in Jewish history. Nonetheless, these books all struck me as extraordinary.

Joshua's book list on Jewish history

Joshua A. Fogel Why did Joshua love this book?

Over the past decade or so, I’ve probably read six or seven biographies of Spinoza, some considerably more helpful than others. Nadler’s study is a striking success of scholarship and biography. Spinoza’s story of being this deft thinker but also being excommunicated in Holland (and we still don’t exactly know why) can make for a great story, but that was not the case before Nadler’s book appeared. I was fortunate to be able to tell the author how I felt about his book in person.

By Steven Nadler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) was one of the most important philosophers of all time; he was also one of the most radical and controversial. The story of Spinoza's life takes the reader into the heart of Jewish Amsterdam in the seventeenth century and, with Spinoza's exile from Judaism, into the midst of the tumultuous political, social, intellectual, and religious world of the young Dutch Republic. This new edition of Steven Nadler's biography, winner of the Koret Jewish Book Award for biography and translated into a dozen languages, is enhanced by exciting new archival discoveries about his family background, his youth, and…


Book cover of Nachman Krochmal: Guiding the Perplexed of the Modern Age

Joshua A. Fogel Author Of Maiden Voyage: The Senzaimaru and the Creation of Modern Sino-Japanese Relations

From my list on Jewish history.

Who am I?

I’m a historian of China and Japan whose work has hewed close to the cultural interactions between Chinese and Japanese over recent centuries. I’m now working on the history of the Esperanto movement in China and Japan from the first years of the twentieth century through the early 1930s. The topic brings together my interests in Sino-Japanese historical relations, linguistic scholarship, and Jewish history (the creator of Esperanto was a Polish-Jewish eye doctor). Over the last couple of decades, I have become increasingly interested in Jewish history. I think by now I know what counts as good history, but I’m still an amateur in Jewish history. Nonetheless, these books all struck me as extraordinary.

Joshua's book list on Jewish history

Joshua A. Fogel Why did Joshua love this book?

I have been for years intrigued by the character of Nachman Krochmal, the Jewish Hegelian scholar of the eighteenth century who wrote in Hebrew, but I was never able to find a coherent analysis of the man, his works, and his times that made satisfying sense—until I read Harris’s study.

By Jay M. Harris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A well-organized and engaging read."
Religious Studies Review
The first in-depth look at...an important nineteenth century Jewish thinker and historian. Well-written [and] well- researched."
The Jerusalem Post Magazine
"A significant contribution to our understanding of the rise of modern Judaism in its East European manifestation."
Choice
Harris examines Nachman Krochmal's work, particularly as it aimed to guide Jews through the modern revolution in metaphysical and historical thinking, thus enabling them to commit themselves to Judaism without sacrificing intellectual integrity.


Book cover of Jesus the Magician

Joshua A. Fogel Author Of Maiden Voyage: The Senzaimaru and the Creation of Modern Sino-Japanese Relations

From my list on Jewish history.

Who am I?

I’m a historian of China and Japan whose work has hewed close to the cultural interactions between Chinese and Japanese over recent centuries. I’m now working on the history of the Esperanto movement in China and Japan from the first years of the twentieth century through the early 1930s. The topic brings together my interests in Sino-Japanese historical relations, linguistic scholarship, and Jewish history (the creator of Esperanto was a Polish-Jewish eye doctor). Over the last couple of decades, I have become increasingly interested in Jewish history. I think by now I know what counts as good history, but I’m still an amateur in Jewish history. Nonetheless, these books all struck me as extraordinary.

Joshua's book list on Jewish history

Joshua A. Fogel Why did Joshua love this book?

Finally, I offer Morton Smith’s earlier study of the real-life Jesus. Everything Smith wrote was worth the time to read.  His prose bristles with occasional invective, but always at the expense of figures from long ago. He takes no prisoners, shall we say, in his scholarship, and Jesus the Magician is exhibit A.

By Morton Smith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A twentieth-century classic, uncannily smart, incredibly learned."--from the foreword by Bart Ehrman

This book challenges traditional Christian teaching about Jesus. While his followers may have seen him as a man from heaven, preaching the good news and working miracles, Smith asserts that the truth about Jesus is more interesting and rather unsettling.

The real Jesus, only barely glimpsed because of a campaign of disinformation, obfuscation, and censorship by religious authorities, was not Jesus the Son of God. In actuality he was Jesus the Magician. Smith marshals all the available evidence including, but not limited to, the Gospels. He succeeds in…


Book cover of Osnat and Her Dove: The True Story of the World's First Female Rabbi

Erica Lyons Author Of Zhen Yu and the Snake

From my list on illustrated stories that are Jewish&.

Who am I?

As a Jew that is both Ashkenazi and Persian that lives in Hong Kong where I’m raising my Jewish Chinese children, I see Judaism for its rich diversity. I’m passionate about changing people’s perceptions about what Jews look like and where we hail from. We are not a single story. To further that goal, in 2009, I founded Asian Jewish Life - a journal of spirit, society, and culture, have penned book chapters and articles on Jewish Asia, have written children’s books about communities that are Jewish&, and have lectured internationally on related topics. These books are about Jewish communities, but they’re really about family and tradition. Read diverse books! 

Erica's book list on illustrated stories that are Jewish&

Erica Lyons Why did Erica love this book?

Osnat and her Dove is so much more than a book that reflects Iraqi Jewish culture.

It is a book that will inspire girls to see the limitless possibilities that they have to choose their own paths. It’s a window into a community and history that readers likely know little about. The layered gouache illustrations create the illusion of texture and make the book even more magical. 

By Sigal Samuel, Vali Mintzi (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Osnat and Her Dove 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?

Osnat was born five hundred years ago - at a time when almost everyone believed in miracles. But very few believed that girls should learn to read.

Yet Osnat's father was a great scholar whose house was filled with books. And she convinced him to teach her. Then she in turn grew up to teach others, becoming a wise scholar in her own right, the world's first female rabbi!

Some say Osnat performed miracles - like healing a dove who had been shot by a hunter! Or saving a congregation from fire!

But perhaps her greatest feat was to be…


Book cover of Rabbi Harvey Rides Again: A Graphic Novel of Jewish Folktales Let Loose in the Wild West

Barbara Lehman Author Of Little Red and the Cat Who Loved Cake

From my list on upcycled tales for children all told with a twist.

Who am I?

I love the experience of reading a book that combines a known (to me or not!) story combined with elements that make it new again. It could be a parody, a “fractured fairy tale,” or a new retelling, funny or serious. For my book Little Red and the Cat Who Loved Cake, I read so many nursery rhymes and fairy tales in order to populate the town with fun versions of recognizable characters for Little Red to encounter, it makes me appreciate these books even more.

Barbara's book list on upcycled tales for children all told with a twist

Barbara Lehman Why did Barbara love this book?

In another Wild West setting twist, an advice dispensing Rabbi is the vehicle for upcycling traditional folk tales. And it is funny: whether the Rabbi is busting through saloon doors to beat someone to the punchline of an Abe Lincoln joke or using his wits to outsmart bandits or simply helping out with a frontier domestic issue, I find myself literally laughing out loud. The illustrations are charmingly folky, and there is a glossary for the story sources which often turn out to be tales that are many hundreds of years old.

By Steve Sheinkin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rabbi Harvey Rides Again as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Rabbi Harvey is Back with Ten Hilarious New Adventures

In this follow-up to the popular The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey: A Graphic Novel of Jewish Wisdom and Wit in the Wild West, the Rabbi returns to the streets of Elk Spring, Colorado. Part Wild West sheriff, part old world rabbi, Harvey protects his town and delivers justice, wielding only the weapons of wisdom, wit, and a bit of trickery. These adventures combine Jewish and American folklore by creatively retelling comic Jewish folktales and setting them loose on the western frontier of the 1870s.

As his fame grows throughout the Rocky…


Book cover of The Pagan Rabbi and Other Stories

Andrew Ridker Author Of Hope

From my list on Jewish life in America.

Who am I?

As an American, a Jew, and a novelist—though not necessarily in that order—I’ve always been interested in Jewish-American literature, and the Jewish-American experience in general. What was it like for the first Jews in America? What accounted for their success? What were the costs of assimilation? And where are they—we—headed? These books are a great starting point for anyone looking for answers to these questions. But be warned: in keeping with the Jewish tradition, they often answer those questions with more questions. Not, to quote the Jewish sage Jerry Seinfeld, that there’s anything wrong with that.

Andrew's book list on Jewish life in America

Andrew Ridker Why did Andrew love this book?

The golden age of Jewish-American literature began in the early 1950s and lasted until the early 1980s.

Pulitzers abounded: Saul Bellow won Humboldt’s Gift, and Bernard Malamud won for The Fixer. Norman Mailer won twice, in nonfiction and in fiction, for The Armies of the Night and The Executioner’s Song. (Grace Paley would win one in 1994 for stories originally published in this period.)

Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint, a novel about jerking off, sold more than 400,000 copies in hardcover in its first year. But you can’t talk about the golden age without mentioning Cynthia Ozick. The Pagan Rabbi, published in 1971, contains such essential stories as “Envy; or, Yiddish in America,” one of the most searing (and hilarious) indictments of assimilation—and writerly envy—ever printed.

By Cynthia Ozick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Pagan Rabbi and Other Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Named by Thomas M. Disch in Twilight Zone Magazine in 1983 as one of The 13 All-Time Classics of Fantasy.


Book cover of The Weight of Ink

Cathy Tsang-Feign Author Of Keep Your Life, Family and Career Intact While Living Abroad: What Every Expat Needs to Know

From my list on to equip yourself for living abroad.

Who am I?

As a psychologist, I've worked with countless emigrants and international expatriates. People relocate to various parts of the world for different reasons. However, each person’s life struggles, cultural background, experiences, and knowledge help make the world more colorful and richer in so many ways. I encourage people to open themselves to see the world and be receptive and tolerant to those who are different from them. It teaches us to be humbler and more respectful, and to enrich our life in general. My choices are about preparing your mind and your heart for life in another culture. Sometimes a well-crafted novel can offer insights that other media can’t express.

Cathy's book list on to equip yourself for living abroad

Cathy Tsang-Feign Why did Cathy love this book?

This beautiful and skillfully written novel transports the reader into the world of a remarkable female emigrant in the 1660s who, along with her entire Jewish community, fled Inquisition-era Lisbon to Amsterdam and finally to London.

But her real journey is inward, a quest for knowledge and freedom while conforming to strict rules of both her own community and the surrounding society. The story is about a young Jewish woman, uprooted from her land of birth and clandestinely learning to read and write, skills forbidden to women. She pushes against many boundaries to embark on a passage of learning and knowledge.

Besides being in many ways an immigrant story, it also echoes my own journey of creating my own opportunities for education and breaking away from the traditional confinements of my Chinese roots. I think this novel will be relatable to many emigrants, exiles, and expatriates who don’t necessarily share…

By Rachel Kadish,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Weight of Ink as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF A NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD A USA TODAY BESTSELLER "A gifted writer, astonishingly adept at nuance, narration, and the politics of passion."-Toni Morrison Set in London of the 1660s and of the early twenty-first century, The Weight of Ink is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect: Ester Velasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history. As the novel opens, Helen has been summoned by a former student to view a…


Book cover of For the Relief of Unbearable Urges: Stories

Andrew Ridker Author Of Hope

From my list on Jewish life in America.

Who am I?

As an American, a Jew, and a novelist—though not necessarily in that order—I’ve always been interested in Jewish-American literature, and the Jewish-American experience in general. What was it like for the first Jews in America? What accounted for their success? What were the costs of assimilation? And where are they—we—headed? These books are a great starting point for anyone looking for answers to these questions. But be warned: in keeping with the Jewish tradition, they often answer those questions with more questions. Not, to quote the Jewish sage Jerry Seinfeld, that there’s anything wrong with that.

Andrew's book list on Jewish life in America

Andrew Ridker Why did Andrew love this book?

The story of many American Jews is a story of tension: between assimilation and continuity, universalism and particularism, Jewishness and Americanness.

The stories in Nathan Englander’s debut collection, a number of which are set in the sealed-off world of Orthodox Jews, center on tensions between the spiritual and the secular, the sacred and the profane.

To wit: the title story is about a Hasidic Jew whose rabbi permits him to see a sex worker “for the relief of unbearable urges.” Englander, who grew up Orthodox himself, is a master of the short story form, and his work gives readers a glimpse into a complex, cloistered corner of American Jewish life.

By Nathan Englander,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked For the Relief of Unbearable Urges as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ruchama, a wigmaker from an ultra-orthodox Brooklyn enclave, journeys into Manhattan for inspiration, frequenting a newsstand where she flips through forbidden fashion magazines. An elderly Jew with a long, white beard reluctantly works as a department store Santa Claus every year - until he can take it no longer. And a Hasidic man, frustrated by his wife's lack of interest, gets a dispensation from a rabbi to see a prostitute for the relief of unbearable urges.


Book cover of Jewish Wisdom for Growing Older: Finding Your Grit and Grace Beyond Midlife

Susan H. McFadden Author Of Dementia-Friendly Communities: Why We Need Them and How We Can Create Them

From my list on innovative approaches to living with dementia.

Who am I?

I have been teaching college students about aging since I was in my late 20s. The audacity! Now that I am officially in the “young-old” category I used to describe to my students, I more fully appreciate the social constructions of aging that affect elders, the medical conditions that can derail plans for “a good old age,” and the challenges we all face in attempting to live with meaning and purpose as we grow older. In addition to teaching, writing about, and researching various aspects of aging, especially aging with various type of dementia, my work has addressed the positive and negative ways religious faith can shape how people cope with aging.

Susan's book list on innovative approaches to living with dementia

Susan H. McFadden Why did Susan love this book?

Rabbi Dayle Friedman’s wisdom about aging can be appreciated by people of all religions and no religion. Her honest engagement with some of the most difficult issues aging persons face leaves readers with hope rather than despair. Her many years as a chaplain for people living in long-term care with dementia undergird her suggestions on how to make sense of what she calls “dementia’s brokenness”. She concludes each chapter with a spiritual practice readers can employ to engage more deeply with the chapter’s topics, and also at the end of each chapter, she offers readers a blessing for their own efforts to flourish as they age.  

By Dayle A. Friedman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Growing Older Can Be a Time of Growing in Depth and Wisdom

"My sense is that the whole journey beyond midlife is a mysterious blend of light and dark, wholeness and fragility…. We have a chance beyond midlife to become the person we were truly meant to be. We can draw on everything we have experienced so far to contribute to the people around us and the wider world, and to find strength and resilience amid the challenges."
―from the Introduction

Whether you are fifty-five or seventy-five, approaching retirement or age one hundred, growing older brings remarkable opportunities but often…


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