At Jewish Book Council, we see hundreds of new Jewish titles each year and, unfailingly, these books explore a wide spectrum of ideas about Jewish life, identity, practice, community, and history.
And as we consider each book that lands on our collective desks, we imagine the conversations it might spark and how a particular book might strengthen the Jewish community and provide guidance for how we think about and shape our future.
When considering book recommendations for Sight Line readers, I wanted to make sure to highlight titles that focused on inclusivity, expanding access to Jewish community, digital learning, using the past to guide us into the present, and how the pandemic has impacted, and perhaps forever changed, how we think about Jewish life and practice in the twenty-first century.
With all of that in mind, here are my personal picks for Jewish educators, Jewish learners, and anyone concerned with where the Jewish community is headed.
Published in late 2021, the essay collection Warm and Welcoming: How the Jewish Community Can Become Truly Diverse and Inclusive in the 21st Century (edited by Warren Hoffman of Association for Jewish Studies and Miriam Steinberg-Egeth of Hadar) is an inspiring, important, and instructive addition to the bookshelves of those looking to rethink how Jewish institutions create spaces of inclusion for diverse populations. The book features essays by individuals who themselves were turned away from Jewish community, each one seeking to answer questions about how leaders in the community–and the community itself–can learn from these experiences to create a more welcoming and inclusive community moving into 2022 and beyond.
Two additional resources for educators looking to specifically examine the role of the pandemic on our community include the 2020 publication When We Turned Within: Reflections on COVID-19, edited by Rabbi Menachem Creditor and Sarah Tuttle-Singer, and the 2021 winner of the National Jewish Book Award for Modern Jewish Thought and Experience, Torah in a Time of Plague: Historical and Contemporary Jewish Responses, edited by Erin Leib Smokler.
Learn more about these three titles over at Jewish Book Council:
By Naomi Firestone-Teeter, Executive Director, The Jewish Book Council, for The Covenant Foundation