100 books like The Art of Leaving

By Ayelet Tsabari,

Here are 100 books that The Art of Leaving fans have personally recommended if you like The Art of Leaving. 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 The Girl from Foreign

Zilka Joseph Author Of Sweet Malida: Memories of a Bene Israel Woman

From my list on the Jewish immigrant experience and Bene Israel culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Mumbai, lived in Kolkata for most of my life, and am an educator and poet who lives in the US. I am a Bene Israel Jew from India. As a child, I was fascinated by all kinds of literature, mythology, folktales, and stories. I have been influenced by everything around me. My passion for literature probably inspired me to become a teacher and later a writer who is constantly exploring, creating, re-imagining, and evolving. My books are about the immigrant experience, displacement, racism, women’s issues, nature, the animal kingdom, to name a few. But within these themes, I also explore identity and belonging, death, loss and recovery. 

Zilka's book list on the Jewish immigrant experience and Bene Israel culture

Zilka Joseph Why did Zilka love this book?

Sadia Shepard is the child of a white Protestant father from Colorado and a Muslim mother from Pakistan, who grew up outside Boston. In her visionary and moving memoir, she embarks on a search for her Bene Israel roots when her maternal grandmother, who she thought was a Muslim from Pakistan like everyone else in their family, tells her that her real name is Rachel Jacobs.

She hears about the Bene Israel community and reads about their origins. It's a fascinating account of a cross-cultural childhood, a journey to India to explore her grandmother’s family tree, discovering the secrets of her grandparents’ marriage, encountering the complicated history of India and Pakistan and the Partition, and at the same time, making sense of her complex influences and legacy. The author undertakes journeys on several levels that delve into her family history, her ancestors, her grandmother’s story, and her own identity.

What…

By Sadia Shepard,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Girl from Foreign as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A search for shipwrecked ancestors, forgotten histories, and a sense of home

Fascinating and intimate , The Girl from Foreign is one woman's search for ancient family secrets that leads to an adventure in far-off lands. Sadia Shepard, the daughter of a white Protestant from Colorado and a Muslim from Pakistan, was shocked to discover that her grandmother was a descendant of the Bene Israel, a tiny Jewish community shipwrecked in India two thousand years ago. After traveling to India to put the pieces of her family's past together, her quest for identity unlocks a myriad of profound religious and…


Book cover of Collected Poems

Zilka Joseph Author Of Sweet Malida: Memories of a Bene Israel Woman

From my list on the Jewish immigrant experience and Bene Israel culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Mumbai, lived in Kolkata for most of my life, and am an educator and poet who lives in the US. I am a Bene Israel Jew from India. As a child, I was fascinated by all kinds of literature, mythology, folktales, and stories. I have been influenced by everything around me. My passion for literature probably inspired me to become a teacher and later a writer who is constantly exploring, creating, re-imagining, and evolving. My books are about the immigrant experience, displacement, racism, women’s issues, nature, the animal kingdom, to name a few. But within these themes, I also explore identity and belonging, death, loss and recovery. 

Zilka's book list on the Jewish immigrant experience and Bene Israel culture

Zilka Joseph Why did Zilka love this book?

As a student in Kolkata, India, we read Indian writing in English, and only then I understood that we had our own identity, style, and voice. No one has proven that to me more than the poet who is called the “Father of Indian Poetry,” Nissim Ezekiel. He was quite revolutionary for those times, and a modern poet. He is particularly important to me as he is not only a trailblazer in Indian literary history, but he is from the Bene Israel community to which I belong.

Ezekiel’s book, published by Oxford University Press, is invaluable, as are all his poetry books. Ezekiel broke away from Romanticism and offered critical insights into everyday life in India and its contradictions, which made it possible for poets like me to explore my own voice and stories.

Though I constantly heard stories about him from writers and poets (and continue to do so…

By Nissim Ezekiel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This new edition of Nissim Ezekiel's Collected Poems (OUP 1989) comes with a critical introduction reevaluating Ezeikiel's place in the modernist canon by John Thieme, and a preface by Leela Gandhi.


Book cover of The Bene Israel of India

Zilka Joseph Author Of Sweet Malida: Memories of a Bene Israel Woman

From my list on the Jewish immigrant experience and Bene Israel culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Mumbai, lived in Kolkata for most of my life, and am an educator and poet who lives in the US. I am a Bene Israel Jew from India. As a child, I was fascinated by all kinds of literature, mythology, folktales, and stories. I have been influenced by everything around me. My passion for literature probably inspired me to become a teacher and later a writer who is constantly exploring, creating, re-imagining, and evolving. My books are about the immigrant experience, displacement, racism, women’s issues, nature, the animal kingdom, to name a few. But within these themes, I also explore identity and belonging, death, loss and recovery. 

Zilka's book list on the Jewish immigrant experience and Bene Israel culture

Zilka Joseph Why did Zilka love this book?

This nonfiction book has groundbreaking research and details about the ancient community of the Bene Israel of Western India. It has laid the foundation for researchers from all over the world who studied (or currently study) the Jews of India, and in particular the Bene Israel, their history, customs, and culture. 

It is a book rich with facts and discussions and superbly educative. It is a book I return to often, not just to read and enjoy, but to refer to for my own history and my writing, especially for my recent book, where I trace my own ancestry and explore my childhood in Mumbai and Kolkata.

B.J. Israel’s books are a globally respected and recognized resource. His works appear in the Judaic Encyclopedia. He is the author of several milestone books, containing his research on the three best-known Jewish communities of India, the Bene Israel of the Konkan, the…

By Benjamin J. Israel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Bene Israel are a small community of Jews that have lived for many centuries on the west coast of India, just south of Bombay, in complete isolation from their co-religionists elsewhere. The studies in this volume range over the history, religious evolution, some social and demographic aspects of the life of the community; its reunification with world Jewry since the eighteenth century; and its strong Indian character, in relation to its assimilation in Israel. The Introduction provides a comprehensive historical account of India’s three Jewish communities – the Cochinis, the Bene Israel and the Baghdadis –their relations and interactions.…


Book cover of Bene Appetit: The Cuisine of Indian Jews

Zilka Joseph Author Of Sweet Malida: Memories of a Bene Israel Woman

From my list on the Jewish immigrant experience and Bene Israel culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Mumbai, lived in Kolkata for most of my life, and am an educator and poet who lives in the US. I am a Bene Israel Jew from India. As a child, I was fascinated by all kinds of literature, mythology, folktales, and stories. I have been influenced by everything around me. My passion for literature probably inspired me to become a teacher and later a writer who is constantly exploring, creating, re-imagining, and evolving. My books are about the immigrant experience, displacement, racism, women’s issues, nature, the animal kingdom, to name a few. But within these themes, I also explore identity and belonging, death, loss and recovery. 

Zilka's book list on the Jewish immigrant experience and Bene Israel culture

Zilka Joseph Why did Zilka love this book?

This is a very important book for us all. It is very close to my heart (and stomach) as it is the only current collection of recipes, and perhaps the most comprehensive collection, from the five different communities of Jews of India: The Bene Israel, the Cochin Jews of Kerala, the Baghdadi Jews, and the more recently discovered Bene Ephraim from Mizoram and the Bnei Menashe from Andhra Pradesh.

David, a renowned and beloved novelist as well as a sculptor and artist from Ahmedabad, India, received a grant from Hadassah for her project. She traveled to various cities and towns and to remote parts of India to personally interact with, research, and record these invaluable recipes and customs and write notes on her findings. David has created a legacy not only for the dwindling communities of Indian Jews but also for writers like myself, for whom Esther David has been…

By Esther David,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Like Everyone Else but Different: The Paradoxical Success of Canadian Jews

David S. Koffman Author Of No Better Home?: Jews, Canada, and the Sense of Belonging

From my list on Canadian Jewish life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised as both an anglophone Canadian and a diaspora Jew. After living in Montreal, Jerusalem, and New York for a total of about 15 years, I returned to my hometown of Toronto and took up the position of the J. Richard Shiff Chair for the Study of Canadian Jewry at York University, where I work as a professor of history. I teach undergraduate students, graduate students, fellow academics, community leaders, and the wide public about all sorts of dimensions of this very religiously diverse, culturally diverse, socio-economically diverse, and politically diverse community of 400,000+ souls, with its 260+-year-old history. 

David's book list on Canadian Jewish life

David S. Koffman Why did David love this book?

I love this book’s sprawling effort to answer all sorts of basic questions about the living, vibrant Jews of Canada.

The book was so solid and sold so well when it originally came out with a trade publisher it was re-issued. It uses good social science and approachable theories.

I found it highly informative, intuitive, and curiosity-provoking. What’s more, it’s really funny. If you’re a Canadian Jew, you’ll learn something about yourself or some part of the Jewish world of which you’re a part of. And if you’re not both Canadian and Jewish, you’ll get a very good grounding in understanding the world’s fourth-largest Jewish community. 

By Morton Weinfeld,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Like Everyone Else but Different as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Liberal democratic societies with diverse populations generally offer minorities two usually contradictory objectives: the first is equal integration and participation; the second is an opportunity, within limits, to retain their culture. Yet Canadian Jews are successfully integrated into all domains of Canadian life, while at the same time they also seem able to retain their distinct identities by blending traditional religious values and rituals with contemporary cultural options. Like Everyone Else but Different illustrates how Canadian Jews have created a space within Canada's multicultural environment that paradoxically overcomes the potential dangers of assimilation and diversity. At the same time, this…


Book cover of The New Spice Box: Contemporary Jewish Writing

David S. Koffman Author Of No Better Home?: Jews, Canada, and the Sense of Belonging

From my list on Canadian Jewish life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised as both an anglophone Canadian and a diaspora Jew. After living in Montreal, Jerusalem, and New York for a total of about 15 years, I returned to my hometown of Toronto and took up the position of the J. Richard Shiff Chair for the Study of Canadian Jewry at York University, where I work as a professor of history. I teach undergraduate students, graduate students, fellow academics, community leaders, and the wide public about all sorts of dimensions of this very religiously diverse, culturally diverse, socio-economically diverse, and politically diverse community of 400,000+ souls, with its 260+-year-old history. 

David's book list on Canadian Jewish life

David S. Koffman Why did David love this book?

This collection of Canadian Jewish fiction gave me 33 different short fiction, personal essays, and poetry windows into the hearts and minds, longings, fears, and dreams of Canadian Jews.

I can’t think of another volume that captures so much life at the intersection of Jewish literary vitality and Canadian content–understood liberally. I think I was most moved by David Bezmozgis’ and Isa Milman’s contributions.

By Ruth Panofsky (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The New Spice Box includes short fiction, personal essays, and poetry by Jewish writers from a broad range of cultural backgrounds. Fresh and relevant, profound and lasting, this anthology features works by acclaimed short story writers David Bezmozgis, Mireille Silcoff, and Ayelet Tsabari; groundbreaking memoirists Bernice Eisenstein and Alison Pick; and award-winning poets Isa Milman, Jacob Scheier, and Adam Sol.

The driving force behind The New Spice Box is the desire to uncover the twin touchstones of original expression and writerly craft, and to balance the representation of genres, styles, and authorial perspectives. Here, authors summon the past as they…


Book cover of Search Out the Land: The Jews and the Growth of Equality in British Colonial America, 1740-1867

David S. Koffman Author Of No Better Home?: Jews, Canada, and the Sense of Belonging

From my list on Canadian Jewish life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised as both an anglophone Canadian and a diaspora Jew. After living in Montreal, Jerusalem, and New York for a total of about 15 years, I returned to my hometown of Toronto and took up the position of the J. Richard Shiff Chair for the Study of Canadian Jewry at York University, where I work as a professor of history. I teach undergraduate students, graduate students, fellow academics, community leaders, and the wide public about all sorts of dimensions of this very religiously diverse, culturally diverse, socio-economically diverse, and politically diverse community of 400,000+ souls, with its 260+-year-old history. 

David's book list on Canadian Jewish life

David S. Koffman Why did David love this book?

I love this book’s choc-a-block presentation of actual archival fragments from Jewish life in the British colonies that would eventually become Canada.

I also like that the book’s husband-wife, antiquarian, author team aimed to fuse together two objectives in one book: on the one hand, to paint a relatable picture of what Jewish life looked like during this period when Upper Canada was still being formed, and on the other hand, to account for the step-by-step process of Jews gaining civil rights in the new world.

When I teach Canadian Jewish history, I not only read this book with my students but also bring them into the archives that contain Godfrey’s trove of archival fragments of early Jewish Canadiana, which they collected before and while writing the book.

By Sheldon J. Godfrey, Judith C. Godfrey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Mapping the history of Canadian Jews from the arrival of the first settlers before 1750 through to the 1860s, Search Out the Land introduces a new set of colourful players on Canada's stage. Ezekiel Solomons, John Franks, Jacob Franks, Chapman Abraham, Rachel Myers, Moses David, Samuel Hart, Elizabeth Lyons, and a host of others now take their appropriate place in Canadian history. Focusing on the significant role played by Jews in British North America in the fight for civil and political rights, the authors compare the development of Canadians' rights with that in other British jurisdictions of the time and…


Book cover of Tales & Lies My Baba Told Me

Dorothy Mandy Author Of The Longing: A Canadian Family's World War II Odyssey

From my list on WWII impact on German, Jewish families.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in a log house in Alberta, Canada. I was nineteen months old in August 1939 when my parents decided we should visit my grandmother in Germany and thirteen when we returned. I have been deeply affected by the stories of ordinary families and the trauma they experienced after WWII. To this day, like thousands of others, I feel tremendous inherited discomfort from Nazism and the Holocaust. Our parents' generation did not talk about their wartime experiences, so we must preserve this important part of history and help to relieve the guilt many innocent individuals still harbor while raising awareness of this immensely damaging aspect of war.

Dorothy's book list on WWII impact on German, Jewish families

Dorothy Mandy Why did Dorothy love this book?

I like the way the author weaves a unique tale of a Ukrainian family’s escape at the end of WWII with present-day events. The book demonstrates that WWII’s long-lasting impact on families was not limited to Germans and Jews. Like me and my children, the author had no part in the war, yet we are all impacted by it and its aftermath.

By Jennie Tschoban,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tales & Lies My Baba Told Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What happens when a smart, young stay-at-home mom decides to go back to work and hires her Ukrainian mom to nanny her two kids for 6 years? A witty, brutally honest and true story of freedom, resilience and pivotal moments in life that change the story forever. Get a peek into the life, relationship and influence that grows between grandmother and grandkids when mom decides to grab her briefcase and go back to the working world. Pull up a chair to the kitchen table and witness all the imperfections, idiosyncrasies and bloopers that drive mother and daughter to argue and…


Book cover of Beach Moose & Amber: Finding My Jewish History

Dorothy Mandy Author Of The Longing: A Canadian Family's World War II Odyssey

From my list on WWII impact on German, Jewish families.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in a log house in Alberta, Canada. I was nineteen months old in August 1939 when my parents decided we should visit my grandmother in Germany and thirteen when we returned. I have been deeply affected by the stories of ordinary families and the trauma they experienced after WWII. To this day, like thousands of others, I feel tremendous inherited discomfort from Nazism and the Holocaust. Our parents' generation did not talk about their wartime experiences, so we must preserve this important part of history and help to relieve the guilt many innocent individuals still harbor while raising awareness of this immensely damaging aspect of war.

Dorothy's book list on WWII impact on German, Jewish families

Dorothy Mandy Why did Dorothy love this book?

This moving story awakened new empathy in me for my extended Canadian family as they waited for news of us for so many years. It gave me a new understanding of the effects of war on families, even at such great distances. 

A daughter and granddaughter tells the story of her family’s escape from the holocaust in 1939. Safely in Canada, the country we left for Germany, in the same year, they fear for their family in Lithuania as telegrams of desperation arrive and news of events in Germany become known. 

By Sharon Easton, Rachel Dunstan Muller (editor), Cindy Folk (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beach Moose & Amber as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Sharon found typewritten pages tucked in the back of her deceased father’s accordion folder, she had no idea she was holding an invitation to the greatest writing adventure of her life. The pages were her mother’s final attempt to record her Jewish family’s history — a history that she had kept secret for decades. Sharon’s mother was clear in her writing, “All I ask is that you not forget me.”
With her mother’s written permission to explore the past, Sharon embarked on a journey that would take her from the Russian Revolution to Nazi-occupied Lithuania, onto rural Nova Scotia,…


Book cover of The Ever-Dying People?: Canada's Jews in Comparative Perspective

David S. Koffman Author Of No Better Home?: Jews, Canada, and the Sense of Belonging

From my list on Canadian Jewish life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised as both an anglophone Canadian and a diaspora Jew. After living in Montreal, Jerusalem, and New York for a total of about 15 years, I returned to my hometown of Toronto and took up the position of the J. Richard Shiff Chair for the Study of Canadian Jewry at York University, where I work as a professor of history. I teach undergraduate students, graduate students, fellow academics, community leaders, and the wide public about all sorts of dimensions of this very religiously diverse, culturally diverse, socio-economically diverse, and politically diverse community of 400,000+ souls, with its 260+-year-old history. 

David's book list on Canadian Jewish life

David S. Koffman Why did David love this book?

I love books written by multiple authors. Some of the greatness of this multi-author work comes from the fact that 28 different scholars have contributed to it, many of them working in pairs to create new insights they might not have been able to achieve alone.

Some chapters compare an aspect of Canadian Jewish life with that of another religious or ethnic minority in Canada (for example, Chinese, Muslims, and Métis). Other chapters compare an aspect of Canadian Jewish life with that of Jewish communities in other countries (including Australia, France, and the Former Soviet Union).

So, I reaped the benefit of learning about Canadian Jews through various comparative perspectives. I found virtually all of the essays in it to be stimulating, approachable, and punchy-short, so I didn’t feel compelled to read the whole thing cover to cover, uninterrupted by another book. I just went back to it, bit…

By Robert Brym (editor), Randal F. Schnoor (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ever-Dying People? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Demise by assimilation or antisemitism is often held to be the inevitable future of Jews in Canada and other diaspora countries. The Ever-Dying People? shows that the Jewish diaspora, while often held to be in decline, is influenced by a range of identifiable sociological and historical forces, some of which breathe life into Jewish communities, including Canada's.

Bringing together leading Canadian and international scholars, The Ever-Dying People? provides a landmark report on Canadian Jewry based on recent surveys, censuses, and other contemporary data sources from Canada and around the world. This collection compares Canada's Jews with other Canadian ethnic and…


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Interested in Canada, Israel, and Jewish history?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Canada, Israel, and Jewish history.

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