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Home > Index: Building a Jewish Library > Building a Jewish Library: Fiction and Literature


Building a Jewish Library

CONTENTS

Bible and Torah Commentary
Children's Books
Contemporary Jewish Life
Cookbooks for the Jewish Home
Family Life and Parent's Guides
Fiction and Literature
Hebrew Language
History and Archeology
Holocaust
Israel and Zionism
Jewish Holidays
Jewish Thought
Kashrut
Prayer Books and Guides
Reference
Spirituality
Talmud and Rabbinic Literature
Women's Voices and Ritual

Fiction and Literature

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Cahan, Abraham. The Rise of David Levinsky. Harper & Row. 1993. AISN/ISBN: 0140186875.

The first book to explore the American Jewish immigrant experience has stood the test of time and has become a prototype for other similar volumes. The author, editor of the;Forward;, focuses on problems common to that time and society;parent-child separation, religious adherence and the freedom of America, materialism vs. shtetl frugality, and more.

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Gordon, Noah. The Jerusalem Diamond. Time Warner Paperbacks. 1979. AISN/ISBN: 0445046848.

A story set in America, Europe, Africa and Israel. A New York diamond dealer investigates the history of a yellow diamond that was buried in a temple and has caused conflict over the centuries. The novel also deals with his love for two women. By the author of "Shaman" and "The Physician."

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Potok, Chaim. The Book of Lights. Fawcett. 1997. AISN/ISBN: 0449245691.

Potok explores fundamental issues of faith and good and evil in a profound, touching story.

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Potok, Chaim. The Chosen. Fawcett Books. 1996. AISN/ISBN: 0449213447.

Potok's most widely read book is about two Jewish boys, one Orthodox, one Hassidic, growing up in Brooklyn, NY during the period of the Israel War for Independence. It depicts the power of friendship in a coming-of-age story.

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Ragen, Naomi. The Covenant. St. Martin's Press. 2004. AISN/ISBN: 0312291191.

Ragen, an American writer who's lived in Israel for more than 30 years, blends tragedies of the past with headline news of today in her gripping, emotionally charged sixth novel. It's 2002, and the Margulies family oncologist Jonathan; his pregnant, American-born wife, Elise; and their daughter, Ilana are contentedly living in a Jerusalem settlement, until one day, on their way home, Jonathan and Ilana are kidnapped by Hamas. Elise's frantic call to her Bubbee Leah in Brooklyn reunites four women now grandmas and great-grandmas who, as girls, made the titular covenant: if they survived Auschwitz, they would become "one person, risking everything, giving everything, to help each other live in happiness all the days of our lives." Leah gathers up fellow New Yorker Esther, now a cosmetics millionaire; Paris nightclub owner Ariana; and Polish political activist Maria to help find the kidnap victims. It's a race against time, as the women wield their considerable influence and the Israeli army desperately tries to intercede with the kidnappers before the captives are killed. Ragen weaves in deeper, more serious undertones than the thriller plot suggests, touching on the stubborn pride and the serious purpose that keeps Israelis fighting (or, in some cases, not fighting) for their fragile country, "the land that God promised to the Jewish people in his Covenant to Abraham."

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Roth, Henry. Call It Sleep. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1991. AISN/ISBN: 0374522928.

This story is of a Yiddish-speaking eastern-European immigrant family who came to "the Golden Land" and settled on New York's Lower East Side in 1907. It is a brilliantly told tale of the dark side of the immigrant saga complete with a dysfunctional family.

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Schram, Peninnah. Stories One Generation Tells Another. Jason Aronson. 1996. AISN/ISBN: 1568219806.

Jewish folk tales are retold by a leading contemporary Jewish storyteller. They range from fables and parables to midrashic interpretations on biblical portions to hasidic stories and more, all conveying the essence of Jewish culture and customs.

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Steinberg, Milton. As a Driven Leaf. Behrrnan House Publishing. 1996. AISN/ISBN: 0874411033.

This historical novel of one man's struggle for faith in ancient Israel is an illumination of the Jewish mind of its time: one that hungered for that absolute proof by which it claimed the universe and without which it was desolute. It is a story for every age.

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Uris, Leon. Exodus. Bantam. 1983. AISN/ISBN: 0553258478.

Uris wrote this historical novel establishing a whole genre of literature on Israel and Zionism. This work is about the birth and birth pains of the modern state of Israel.





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