What To Read During Jewish American Heritage Month
May is Jewish American Heritage Month, in which we recognize how Jews have contributed to American culture for over 350 years. Now, what would you tell your bubbe if she asked you to pick some books for her in honor of this month, hmm? She’d say, “mammele, I want to learn more about contemporary Jewish writers who are churning out the fiction and the non-fiction. A shanda it is that I don’t know where to begin!”
Well, you don’t want to disappoint your ol’ bubbe now, do ya.
But seriously, if you’re interested in reading more Jewish American writers or learning about Jewish history, here are some places to start. (BTW, you can thank my mama for a lot of these recs, since she scours the bookstores for Jewish novels and histories).
The Rise of David Levinsky (1917) by Abraham Cahan
Bread Givers (1925) by Anzia Yezierska
Jews Without Money (1930) by Michael Gold
The Natural (1952) by Bernard Malamud
Goodbye, Columbus (1959) by Philip Roth
My Name is Asher Lev (1972) by Chaim Potok
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (2000) by Michael Chabon
Everything is Illuminated (2002) by Jonathan Safran Foer
Rashi’s Daughters (2005-2009) by Maggie Anton
The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (2007) by Michael Chabon
People of the Book (2008) by Geraldine Brooks
The Angel of Losses (2014) by Stephanie Feldman
Love and Treasure (2014) by Ayelet Waldman
“The Jewish Cemetery at Newport” (1852) by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“To be a Jew in the Twentieth Century” (1944) by Muriel Rukeyser
Kaddish (1961) by Allen Ginsberg
“Yom Kippur 1984” (1984-5) by Adrienne Rich
Maus (1980) by Art Spiegelman
A Bintel Brief: Love and Longing in Old New York (2014) by Liana Finck
American Jewish Women’s History: A Reader (2003), ed. Pamela S. Nadell
The Jews of Prime Time (2003) by David Zurawik
The Jewish Americans: Three Centuries of Jewish Voices in America (2007) by Beth Wenger
Little Failure (2014) by Gary Shteyngart
Here’s a lengthier bibliography of books related to Jewish culture and history: https://www.ajhs.org/essential-readings
Leave your recs below!
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