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  • Writer's pictureNora Curry

A Jewish American Heritage Month Reading List

While Book Talk by the Sea recently highlighted Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, AAPI is not this month's only month-long heritage observance. May is also celebrated as Jewish American Heritage Month, a way of acknowledging the history and culture of Jewish Americans and their contributions to this country. It was born of a 2006 grassroots effort begun in Florida to achieve such recognition. As with AAPI month, the Library of Congress, NARA, National Endowment for the Arts, and other institutions and organizations maintain a virtual exhibit of multimedia and documents to explore Jewish history and culture. You can access it at

Novels and histories of the Holocaust are published in abundance and often quite popular, and certainly a great deal of them are worth our attention, but there is far more of the Jewish experience that can be and has been conveyed through literature. Please explore the reading list below to discover novels, histories, memoirs, cookbooks, poetry, and more related to Jewish heritage. Click on the links to learn more about each book and/or to request them in our catalog.


Rashi's Daughters, Maggie Anton

Florence Adler Swims Forever, Rachel Beanland

Milk Fed, Melissa Broder

People of the Book, Geraldine Brooks

Margot, Jillian Cantor

The Yiddish Policemen's Union, Michael Chabon, Nathan Englander

Everything Is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer

The Lost Shtetl, Max Gross

The World That We Knew, Alice Hoffman

Eternal Life, Dara Horn

The Weight of Ink, Rachel Kadish

Forest Dark, Nicole Krauss

The Complete Stories, Bernard Malamud

The Chosen, Chaim Potok

American Pastoral, Philip Roth

Maus, Art Spiegelman

Love and Treasure, Ayelet Waldman

Memoirs, Biographies, and Other Nonfiction

The Light of Days: the untold story of women resistance fighters in Hitler's ghettos, Judy Batalion

Jew-ish: reinvented recipes from a modern mensch: a cookbook, Jake Cohen

The Choice: embrace the possible, Edith Eva Eger

One of These Things First, Steven Gaines

Letters to Auntie Fori: the 5000-year history of the Jewish people and their faith, Martin Gilbert

Kaddish and other poems, 1959-1960, Allen Ginsburg

The People and the Books: 18 classics of Jewish literature, Adam Kirsch

Little Book of Jewish Sweets, Leah Koenig

Genius & Anxiety: how Jews changed the world, 1847-1947, Norman Lebrecht

999: the extraordinary young women of the first official transport to Auschwitz, Heather Dune Macadam

What They Saved: pieces of a Jewish past, Nancy K. Miller

When Time Stopped: a memoir of my father's war and what remains, Ariana Neumann

Morality: restoring the common good in divided times, Jonathan Sacks

The Story of the Jews: finding the words, 1000 BC - 1492 AD, Simon Schama

The Story of the Jews: belonging, 1492-1900, Simon Schama

Inheritance: a memoir of genealogy, paternity, and love, Dani Shapiro

Little Failure: a memoir, Gary Shteyngart

The Cut Out Girl: a story of war and family, lost and found, Bart Van Es

The Jewish Americans: three centuries of Jewish voices in America, Beth Wenger

Night, Elie Wiesel

Kaddish, Leon Wieseltier

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