100 books like The Shabbat Elevator and other Sabbath Subterfuges

By Alan Dundes,

Here are 100 books that The Shabbat Elevator and other Sabbath Subterfuges fans have personally recommended if you like The Shabbat Elevator and other Sabbath Subterfuges. 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 Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome

Karen Levy Author Of Data Driven: Truckers, Technology, and the New Workplace Surveillance

From my list on human stories about technology.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a sociologist, and I study how technology shapes and is shaped by people. I love my job because I am endlessly fascinated by why people do the things they do, and how our cultures, traditions, and knowledge affect how we interact with technology in our daily lives. I picked these books because they all tell fascinating stories about how different communities of people have designed, used, or been affected by technological tools.

Karen's book list on human stories about technology

Karen Levy Why did Karen love this book?

This is one of those books that you have to read either alone or among tolerant friends, because every few pages you’ll be moved to read some bit of it aloud to everyone around you. Alondra Nelson is a brilliant sociologist of science and technology, and this book tells the story of how genetic science and racial politics intersect, sometimes in surprising ways. I love how this book intertwines cultural and political history with clear-eyed analysis of genomics, genealogy, and the life sciences—it’s a great example of how to write about the human stakes of scientific research and innovation.

By Alondra Nelson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Social Life of DNA as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


A Favorite Book of 2016, Wall Street Journal
2017 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Nonfiction (Finalist)
2017 Day of Common Learning Selection, Seattle Pacific University
2020 Diana Forsythe Prize (Honorable Mention)
2020 Best Books of the Year, Writers' Trust of Canada

The unexpected story of how genetic testing is affecting race in America
We know DNA is a master key that unlocks medical and forensic secrets, but its genealogical life is both revelatory and endlessly fascinating. Tracing genealogy is now the second-most popular hobby amongst Americans, as well as the second-most visited online category. This billion-dollar industry has spawned popular television…


Book cover of Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo

Karen Levy Author Of Data Driven: Truckers, Technology, and the New Workplace Surveillance

From my list on human stories about technology.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a sociologist, and I study how technology shapes and is shaped by people. I love my job because I am endlessly fascinated by why people do the things they do, and how our cultures, traditions, and knowledge affect how we interact with technology in our daily lives. I picked these books because they all tell fascinating stories about how different communities of people have designed, used, or been affected by technological tools.

Karen's book list on human stories about technology

Karen Levy Why did Karen love this book?

I think I’m on my third or fourth copy of this book, because I keep giving it away! This is an absolutely stunning, gorgeously illustrated book about the spacesuits worn by Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong during the moon landing. The bid to design the suits was won by the Playtex Corporation—the lingerie company!—over a bunch of industrial materials suppliers, because Playtex knew how to design for the body in ways the other firms didn’t. The book is organized into twenty-one chapters, in homage to the twenty-one layers of the spacesuit, and it’s a thing of beauty. It weaves together the history of aeronautics, the politics of the Space Race, technology design, and mid-century fashion so seamlessly, and makes you think about each of these topics differently.

By Nicholas de Monchaux,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the lunar surface in July of 1969, they wore spacesuits made by Playtex: 21 layers of fabric, each with a distinct yet interrelated function, custom-sewn for them by seamstresses whose usual work was fashioning bras and girdles. This book is the story of that spacesuit. It is a story of the triumph over the military-industrial complex by the International Latex Corporation, best known by its consumer brand of "Playtex" - a victory of elegant softness over engineered hardness, of adaptation over cybernetics.

Playtex's spacesuit went up against hard armor-like spacesuits designed by…


Book cover of The Joy of Keeping Score: How Scoring the Game Has Influenced and Enhanced the History of Baseball

Karen Levy Author Of Data Driven: Truckers, Technology, and the New Workplace Surveillance

From my list on human stories about technology.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a sociologist, and I study how technology shapes and is shaped by people. I love my job because I am endlessly fascinated by why people do the things they do, and how our cultures, traditions, and knowledge affect how we interact with technology in our daily lives. I picked these books because they all tell fascinating stories about how different communities of people have designed, used, or been affected by technological tools.

Karen's book list on human stories about technology

Karen Levy Why did Karen love this book?

A book about pencil-and-paper baseball scorekeeping might seem like an odd one to include on a list about technology! But that’s precisely the point: even though by-hand scoring seems like an unnecessary relic in the digital age, this book so beautifully explains why people do it anyway, and how much richness and storytelling and personality there can be in a practice that, at first glance, seems like it might just be rote transcription. Recording data isn’t a science—it can be an art, a tradition, and a joy unto itself.

By Paul Dickson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The history of scorekeeping, practical scoring techniques, notable scorekeeping blunders and idiosyncrasies, facsimiles of famous scorecards, and more-it’s all here in this “celebration of one of baseball’s most divine and unique pleasures” (USA Today Baseball Weekly).


Book cover of The Fires: How a Computer Formula, Big Ideas, and the Best of Intentions Burned Down New York City--and Determined the Future of Cities

Karen Levy Author Of Data Driven: Truckers, Technology, and the New Workplace Surveillance

From my list on human stories about technology.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a sociologist, and I study how technology shapes and is shaped by people. I love my job because I am endlessly fascinated by why people do the things they do, and how our cultures, traditions, and knowledge affect how we interact with technology in our daily lives. I picked these books because they all tell fascinating stories about how different communities of people have designed, used, or been affected by technological tools.

Karen's book list on human stories about technology

Karen Levy Why did Karen love this book?

My copy of this book has so many dog-eared pages and “!”s scrawled in the margins that it’s almost ridiculous. This is the story of how, in the 1960s, New York City and the RAND Corporation used algorithmic modeling to decide where to locate fire stations in the city. It was pretty much a disaster: because of the choices the modelers made about what to measure and how to measure it, they ended up cutting services to many of the poorest neighborhoods in NYC. Joe Flood is a journalist, and it shows—this book is stunning in how it combines the stories of human beings with crystal-clear accounts of the technical decisions made by the computing “whiz kids.”

By Joe Flood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New York City, 1968. The RAND Corporation had presented an alluring proposal to a city on the brink of economic collapse: Using RAND's computer models, which had been successfully implemented in high-level military operations, the city could save millions of dollars by establishing more efficient public services. The RAND boys were the best and brightest, and bore all the sheen of modern American success. New York City, on the other hand, seemed old-fashioned, insular, and corrupt-and the new mayor was eager for outside help, especially something as innovative and infallible as "computer modeling." A deal was struck: RAND would begin…


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 Shoshi's Shabbat

Kerry M. Olitzky Author Of A Whale of a Tale: A Sabbath Summer Solstice Story

From my list on kids reads that simplify complicated Jewish ideas.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a rabbi, educator and author. I have had the privilege of writing many books over the course of my rabbinate. Over the past five years, I have turned the attention of my writing to children’s books. And I am especially attuned to those books that take complicated Jewish ideas and tell them in words and pictures that young children can understand. I try to do this in my own writing, as well. 

Kerry's book list on kids reads that simplify complicated Jewish ideas

Kerry M. Olitzky Why did Kerry love this book?

This is a sweet book that focuses on the essential idea of Shabbat: rest and refraining from work.

It also teaches an idea that is part of the ancient lesson of the Sabbath—everyone rests on the Sabbath including work animals. I like this book—and its lovely illustrations—because it takes a difficult idea that is culled from rabbinic sources. 

By Caryn Yacowitz, Kevin Hawkes (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shoshi's Shabbat 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?

The virtues of taking a break - and of being thankful - are extolled in the gentle story of a stubborn ox, an impatient farmer, and a day of rest.

Long ago, in the hills near Jerusalem, lived a young ox. For six days each week, she and her owner would toil in the fields, and on the seventh day both would rest. Then it came to be that this young ox was sold. For six days, she toiled in her new owner's fields, and on the seventh day the farmer brought out the yoke and plough, expecting to spend…


Book cover of The Shabbat Box

Sylvia A. Rouss Author Of Sammy Spider's First ABC

From my list on for Jewish preschool children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe that good Jewish stories are important tools in building Jewish identity. But when I first taught preschoolers, the books were either too didactic or written for older children. One day, when the children in my class were enthusiastically discussing the Christmas display at the mall, the idea came to me that maybe an eight-legged Spider celebrating the eight days of Hanukkah could compete with Frosty the Snowman. When Sammy Spider asks to spin a dreidel, he is told, “Spider’s don’t spin dreidels. Spiders spin webs.” The response became a favorite with Jewish children and a form of the phrase is part of all the Sammy Spider holiday and values books.

Sylvia's book list on for Jewish preschool children

Sylvia A. Rouss Why did Sylvia love this book?

The Shabbat Box is by Lesley Simpson. Ira’s preschool uses a box to store all the Shabbat objects and when school ends on Shabbat, one of the students gets to take the box home. But when it’s Ira’s turn to take it home, he loses it in the snow. Upset, he decides to make a new Shabbat Box for his class. On Monday, at sharing time, his friends are all surprised and pleased by Ira’s new Shabbat Box. And, then to the children’s delight, the teacher tells them she found the missing Shabbat Box, and now they have two! The story is a favorite of preschoolers.

I love how The Shabbat Box transfers the Shabbat classroom experience into an experience at home. For many of the children, Shabbat occurs only in the classroom and this story helps both the child and the family see how they can celebrate Shabbat at…

By Lesley Simpson, Nicole In Den Bosch (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It's finally Ira's turn to take home the Shabbat Box from school. But a bad storm blows open his book bag and the box is lost. What will Ira do? A warm introduction to Shabbat for preschoolers.


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 Dinosaur on Shabbat

Sylvia A. Rouss Author Of Sammy Spider's First ABC

From my list on for Jewish preschool children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe that good Jewish stories are important tools in building Jewish identity. But when I first taught preschoolers, the books were either too didactic or written for older children. One day, when the children in my class were enthusiastically discussing the Christmas display at the mall, the idea came to me that maybe an eight-legged Spider celebrating the eight days of Hanukkah could compete with Frosty the Snowman. When Sammy Spider asks to spin a dreidel, he is told, “Spider’s don’t spin dreidels. Spiders spin webs.” The response became a favorite with Jewish children and a form of the phrase is part of all the Sammy Spider holiday and values books.

Sylvia's book list on for Jewish preschool children

Sylvia A. Rouss Why did Sylvia love this book?

This is a favorite of mine and my students. Every preschool child loves dinosaurs, and nothing is more exciting and fun than a dinosaur celebrating Shabbat! Laughter abounds when the silly dinosaur makes mistakes just like the mistakes that the children hearing the book have made at Shabbat. The rhymes have a nice flow that keeps the attention of young listeners.

By Diane Levin Rauchwerger, Jason Wolff (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dinosaur on Shabbat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 2, 3, 4, and 5.

What is this book about?

An eager and excited dinosaur causes chaos when he arrives to help a boy and his family celebrate Shabbat.


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…


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