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Shma Koleinu: A Jewish People's Commentary on the Siddur
by Rabbi Steven Schwarzman


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by Dov Peretz Elkins and Steven Schwarzman


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Encyclopedia Judaica, Second Edition (21 Volume Set)
Encyclopedia Judaica, Second Edition (21 Volume Set)

Building a Jewish library

There is such a wealth of Jewish books. Where do you start in building your own Jewish library?

Here are our recommendations for books that no Jewish home should be without:

  • A Hebrew Bible, with translation and commentary. We like the Artscroll editions, either The Chumash: The Stone Edition (the Torah - with lots of commentary) or the Tanach: The Stone Edition (the whole Hebrew Bible - more material, less commentary). The Conservative movement recently published a new edition called Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary.
  • A siddur - a prayerbook,  with commentary and explanations. Most siddurim also have birkat hamazon (grace after meals) and other prayers that are recited in the home as well as the synagogue. We like The Complete Artscroll Siddur, because it has lots of explanations on every page, not just a translation.
  • Encyclopedia Judaica. It's not cheap, but if you are starting out in your path to Jewish knowledge, you'll find practically everything in these 16+ volumes. It's a masterpiece of scholarship on practically every Jewish subject.
  • The First Jewish Catalog: A Do-It-Yourself Kit - still a very comfortable introduction to Jewish living for those who are getting started. Hmmm...takes us back more than a few years to when we were just starting out. Great book.

And after you've finished these? Then add to your knowledge with more books from the categories that interest you. As Hillel said, go and learn!


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Just starting out in exploring Jewish books? Try the official Jewish Book Mall recommendations for beginners: Building a Jewish Home Library.

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