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But the list is so long, where should I start?

For a basic understanding of Judaism, start with Prager and Telushkin's The Nine Questions People ask about Judaism, as well as Telushkin's Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know About Judaism. As mentioned above, the Jewish Catalog series (3 volumes) provides more than enough information, as well as providing pointers to even more sources. Siegel and Rheins The Jewish Almanac also provides useful high-level information. For a deeper understanding, continue with Donin's To Be a Jew and To Pray as a Jew. For some historical perspective, read Prager and Telushkin's Why the Jews?. General history is covered well in Grayzel's A History of the Jews and Wein's Triumph of Survival: The Story of Jews in the Modern Age, 1650-1990. For a discussion of the emotional, social, and lifestyle aspects of becoming an observant Jew, read Steinsaltz's Teshuvah.

Readers are also urged to explore Jewish audio-tape lending libraries, such as those run by Aish HaTorah, Etz Chayim, Chabad (, Beis Chana in Minnesota and various other Jewish outreach groups. Tape series on Jewish History, Jewish Law, (all levels), Torah, Talmud, and other subjects are available. For those of you with backgrounds in Liberal Judaism, audio-tapes are also available from the Union of American Hebrew Congregations ( Contact your local Rabbi, or the library at a local synagogue, for more information.

[Got Questions?]Our goal is to keep this list useful for its readers. To that end, suggestions of books to add to the list are always welcome. In your suggestion, please be as complete as possible; we need author, title, publisher, publishing date, and ISBN number. We also welcome a one paragraph short summary of why the book is of interest. Please send your suggestions to the FAQ maintainer at

The soc.culture.jewish Reading Lists have associations with and Artscroll. The presence of an Amazon ([Buy At Amazon: URL...]) or Artscroll ([Buy at Artscroll: URL...]) tag on a list item means the item is available from the indicated vendor. There is always the possibility that the items status has changed since the tag was added; in particular, items may have moved to special order, backorder, or on-order status. If you have corrections to the tag, or want to provide a synopsis of the book, please drop a note to

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© (c) 1993-2001 Daniel P. Faigin <>