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Home > Index: Building a Jewish Library > Building a Jewish Library: Reference

Building a Jewish Library


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Jewish Holidays
Jewish Thought
Prayer Books and Guides
Talmud and Rabbinic Literature
Women's Voices and Ritual


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Baron, Joseph (ed.). A Treasury of Jewish Quotations. Jason Aronson. 1996. AISN/ISBN: 1568219482.

Arranged topically and including the sayings of philosophers, writers and wits from 25 centuries of Jewish literary sources, this classic contains proverbs and comments by Jewish authors and/or on Jewish themes.

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DeSilva, David Arthur. Introducing the Apocrypha: Message, Context, and Significance. Baker Academic. 2002. AISN/ISBN: 080102319X.

The Apocrypha is an endless source of fascination for the scholar and lay reader of scriptural texts. This roundup of current scholarship by deSilva is thorough and effective, and his appreciation of the texts is palpable. This work is well informed but boasts the accessible prose we have come to expect from this publisher. After explaining the value of studying the Apocrypha and surveying the historical context from which these writings emerged, deSilva proceeds through each book of the Apocrypha (as found in the NRSV). Using all the tools of a skilled interpreter, he provides the necessary background details (date, circumstances of writing, etc.) before surveying the content and message of each book. Along the way, readers are introduced to connections between the Apocrypha and the Old and New Testaments and are encouraged to embark upon their own exploration of these fascinating books. The books of the Apocrypha are a witness to faith, specifically the faith of Jewish people living from 200 B.C.E. to 100 C.E. They provide essential historical background for understanding the Judaism of Jesus' day and the Jewish matrix of early Christianity. Readers should note that deSilva's approach is Christian, albeit respectful of the Jewish origins of most of the Apocrypha's works. A very useful book for most collections.

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Douglas, J. D. (ed.). New Bible Dictionary. Tyndale House Publishers. 1982. AISN/ISBN: 0842346678.

This highly recommended reference book is more like an encyclopaedia than simply a dictionary. The scholarship is first-rate and the book is an essential resource for those who are conducting more in-depth study of the Bible. It contains a number of articles from scholars on a wide range of topics found in the Bible. This book is an invaluable resource for both layperson and biblical scholars, and would be useful to anyone who is involved in Bible study.

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Friesel, Evyatar. Atlas of Modern Jewish History. Oxford University Press. 1990. AISN/ISBN: 0195053931.

Contains Jewish history, geographic distribution, demography, and intellectual developments from the 17th century to the 1980s.

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Gilbert, Martin (ed.). Illustrated Atlas of Jewish Civilization. Wm. Morrow. 2004. AISN/ISBN: 0681606630.

Detailed maps provide insight into every aspect of the 4,000 years of Jewish history. The text discusses why Jewish identity, dispersed throughout many cultures, traditions and races, has survived.

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Green, Arthur. The Language of Truth. Jewish Publication Society. 1998. AISN/ISBN: 0827606508.

The Sefat Emet achieved wide popularity both within and without hasidic circles. In a community openly hostile toward non-Orthodox Jewry, the Sefat Emet embraces the nontraditionalists. Professor Arthur Green, one of the leading scholars of Hasidism and modern Jewish theology, has brought together a wide selection of the Sefat Emet's teachings. The Language of Truth is a remarkable work of Jewish scholarship. Now for the first time, Professor Green has brought to light these marvelous teachings and made them accessible to the "uninitiated and non-Hebrew reader" alike... No matter what the Jewish denomination the reader may be, Green's book provides a response to the pressures of the then approaching 20th century even as we envision our entry into the next millennium.

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Gribetz, Judah. Timetables of Jewish History. Simon and Schuster. 1994. AISN/ISBN: 0671885774.

A chronology of the most important people and events in Jewish history and the relationship of the Jewish people to the larger story of world civilization.

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Holtz, Barry W. (ed.). Schocken Guide to Jewish Books: Where to Start Reading About Jewish History, Literature, Culture and. Schocken Books. 1993. AISN/ISBN: 0805210059.

Experts in the major categories of Jewish literature discuss Jewish life and experience with suggested books for followup. Topics include the Bible, Jewish life, Israel, Hebrew and Yiddish literature and more.

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Olitsky, Kerry and Ronald Isaacs. A Glossary of Jewish Life. Jason Aronson. 1991. AISN/ISBN: 0876685475.

This work contains brief biographical sketches of important thinkers, teachers and leaders who helped shape the American Jewish experience, and provides concise definitions of terms and value concepts.

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Pritchard, James B. (ed.). Collins Atlas of the Bible. Borders Press. 2003. AISN/ISBN: 0681970634.

This is a folio-sized book that shows the features of ancient Israel and the Near East using maps and illustrations derived from recent archaeological findings, ancient and modern texts, and contemporary research. It is organized chronologically and is divided into the periods mentioned in the Bible.

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Roth, Cecil (ed.). Encyclopedia Judaica. Keter. 1994. AISN/ISBN: 0685362531.

This work is an indispensable resource for anyone wishing to study Jewish community and historical life. Its articles, often written by important scholars in the field, are drawn from their scholarly works. This is a major Jewish work that belongs in every serious Jewish library. A great work, and until superseded, the best encyclopedia on Jewish life, culture, and history.

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Schreiber, Mordecai, Alvin I. Schiff, and Leon Klenicki (eds.). Shengold Jewish Encyclopedia. Schreiber Publishing. 1998. AISN/ISBN: 1887563431.

This is a concise, easy-to-use all-purpose volume for young adults and families.

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Siegel, Richard and Carl Rheins. The Jewish Almanac. Bantam Books. 1980. AISN/ISBN: 0553340034.

This book is amazing! Full of information and pictures; however, it needs to be updated as it is over 20 years old.

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Telushkin, Joseph. Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things To Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People and Its His. Wm Morrow. 1991. AISN/ISBN: 0688085067.

This volume covers trends and concepts of Jewish history, religion and culture, ethics, great personalities and life cycle events. It is an anthology of Jewish scholarship in concise, readable segments.

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Unger, Merrill and William White. Nelson's Expository Dictionary of the Old Testament. Thomas Nelson. 1980. AISN/ISBN: 0840751796.

This comprehensive study tool will help the student without Hebrew training trace the root and development of biblical words from the original tongue. This work describes over 500 of the most important Hebrew terms, arranged by their English equivalents. It gives the root of each word, its use in various contexts, and its impact upon biblical theology. This work includes scholarly introductory material about the basic mechanics of the Hebrew language and a panel of outstanding scholars have written the text. This essential reference work will open up a "treasure house of truth contained in the Bible."

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Weiner, Miriam. Jewish Roots in Poland: Pages from the Past and Archival Inventories. Routes to Roots Foundation. 1997. AISN/ISBN: 0965650804.

By a leading Jewish genealogist, the book presents a large-format book which is both a travel guide and a how-to genealogy guide with photos, maps and documents covering 1,250 towns in Poland with Jewish histories.

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Werblowsky, Zvi and Geoffrey Wigodor. Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion. Oxford University Press. 1997. AISN/ISBN: 0195086058.

With 2,400 alphabetically arranged entries in this 764-page volume, the dictionary provides a comprehensive reference to Judiaism.

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