Rabbi Schonbrun’s Bookshelf

The Rabbi’s Bookshelf

Below are some books that I find useful in my daily Jewish practice. I hope that you find them meaningful as well!

Conservative Judaism

Conservative Judaism: Our Ancestors to Our Descendants, by Elliot Dorff

Conservative Judaism: The New Century by Neil Gillman

Taking Hold of Torah, by Arnold Eisen

Tradition Renewed, A History of The Jewish Theological Seminary of American, Volumes 1-2, edited by Jack Wertheimer

Jewish Values and Ethics

A Code of Jewish Ethics, Volumes 1 & 2 by Joseph Telushkin

Love Your Neighbor and Yourself: A Jewish Approach to Modern Personal Ethics, by Elliot Dorff

The Book of Jewish Values, by Joseph Telushkin

The Way Into Tikkun Olam, by Elliot Dorff

To Do the Right and the Good: A Jewish Approach to Modern Social Ethics, by Elliot Dorff

Introduction to Judaism

Choosing Judaism, by Lydia Kukoff

It’s a Mitzvah!, by Bradley Shavit Artson

Jewish Literacy, by Joseph Telushkin

Keeping Kosher: A Diet for the Soul, by Samuel Dresner

The Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism, by Prager and Telushkin

The Shabbat Seder, Ron Wolfson

To Life: A Celebration of Jewish Being and Thinking, Harold Kushner

Why Be Jewish? David Wolpe

Holidays, Life Cycles, and Jewish Living

Bar and Bat Mitzvah

Danny Siegel’s Bar and Bat Mitzvah Mitzvah Book (A Practical Guide for Changing the World Through Your Simcha), Danny Siegel

Putting God on the Guest List: How to Reclaim the Spiritual Meaning of Your Child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah, Jeffrey Salkin

Tough Questions Jewish Ask: A Young Adults Guide to Building A Jewish Life, Edward Feinstein

Whose Bar/Bat Mitzvah Is This, Anyway?, Judith Davis

Celebration and Renewal: Rites of Passage in Judaism, edited by Rella Geffen

Tears of Sorrow, Seeds of Hope: A Jewish Spiritual Companion for Infertility and Pregnancy Loss, Nina Beth Cardin

The Comprehensive Dictionary of English and Hebrew First Names, Kolatch

The Jewish Pregnancy Book, Sandy Falk, M.D., and Rabbi Daniel Judson

The New Jewish Baby Book: Names, Ceremonies & Customs – A Guide for Today’s Families, Anita Diamant

Death and Loss

A Time to Mourn, a Time to Comfort: A Guide to Jewish Bereavement, Ron Wolfson

Consolation: The Spiritual Journey Beyond Grief, Maurice Lamm

Making Loss Matter: Creating Meaning in Difficult Times, David Wolpe

Overcoming Life’s Disappointments, Harold Kushner

To Begin Again: The Journey Toward Comfort, Strength and Faith in Difficult Times, Naomi Levy

When Bad Things Happen to Good People, Harold Kushner


Divorce Is A Mitzvah, Perry Netter

When There Is no Other Alternative, A Spiritual Guide For Jewish Couples Contemplating Divorce, Sanford Seltzer


A Day Apart: Shabbat at Home, Noam Zachs Zion and Shawn Fields-Meyer

A Guide to Jewish Religious Practice, Isaac Klein

The Jewish Holidays: A Guide and Commentary, Michael Strassfeld

The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays, Irving Greenberg

The Sabbath, Abraham Joshua Heschel

The Tapestry of Jewish Time: A Spiritual Guide to Holidays and Life-Cycle Events,  Nina Beth Cardin

Jewish Living

A Book of Life: Embracing Judaism as a Spiritual Practice, Michael Strassfeld

Life’s Daily Blessings, Kerry Olitzky

The Rituals & Practices of a Jewish Life: A Handbook for Personal Spiritual Renewal, edited Kerry Olitzky and Daniel Judson


Beyond The Chuppah, A Jewish Guide To Happy Marriages

The New Jewish Wedding, Anita Diamant


The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children, Wendy Mogul

How To Be A Jewish Parent, Anita Diamant and Karen Kushner

Parenting as a Spiritual Journey, Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer

Parenting Jewish Teens: A Guide for the Perplexed, Joanne Doades

Raising a Mensch, Shelly Kapnek Rosenberg


Introducing My Faith and My Community: The Jewish Outreach Institute Guide for the Christian in a Jewish Interfaith Relationship, Kerry Olitzky

Jewish Holidays: A Brief Introduction for Christians, Kerry Olitzky and Daniel Judson

Making A Successful Jewish Interfaith Marriage: The Jewish Outreach Institute Guide to Opportunities, Challenges, and Resources, Kerry Olitzky and Joan Littman


Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present, Michael Oren

Saving Israel, Daniel Gordis

Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East, Michael Oren

The Case For Israel, Alan Dershowitz

The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land, Donna Rosenthal

The Jewish Connection to Israel, the Promised Land: A Brief Introduction for Christians, Eugene Korn

Social Action

There Shall Be No Needy, Pursuing Social Justice through Jewish Law and Tradition, Jill Jacobs

Righteous Indignation: A Jewish Call For Justice, edited by Or Rose, Jo Ellen Green Kaiser and Margie Klein

Spirituality and Mysticism

A Book of Life: Embracing Judaism as a Spiritual Practice, by Michael Strassfeld

Climbing Jacob’s Ladder, by Alan Morinis

Jewish Spiritual Practices, by Yitzhak Buxbaum

Modern Trends In Jewish Mysticism, Gershom Scholem

Reclaiming Judaism as a Spiritual Practice, by Rabbi Goldie Milgram

The Way Into Jewish Mystical Tradition, by Lawrence Kushner

The Jewish Lights Spirituality Handbook, edited by Stuart M. Matlins

The Seven Questions You’re Asked in Heaven: Reviewing and Renewing Your Life on Earth, Ron Wolfson

Yearnings: Embracing The Sacred Messiness of Life: Kula

Tefillah / Prayer

Entering Jewish Prayer: A Guide to Personal Devotion and the Worship Service, by Reuven Hammer

My People’s Prayer Book Series, Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries- Volumes 1-9, edited by Lawrence Hoffman

Making Prayer Real: Leading Jewish Spiritual voices on Why Prayer is Difficult and What do Do about It, Mike Comins

Or Hadash: A Commentary on Siddur Sim Shalom for Shabbat and Festivals by Reuven Hammer

Or Hadash: A Commentary on Siddur Sim Shalom for Weekdays by Rueven Hammer

Talking to God: Personal Prayers for times of Joy, Sadness, Struggle, And Celebration

Theology and Jewish Thought

Healer of Shattered Hearts, David Wolpe

Jewish Wisdom, Joseph Telushkin

Jewish Theology In Our Time, A new Generation Explores the Foundations and Future of Jewish Belief, Elliot Cosgrove

Judaism and Modern Man, Will Herberg

Knowing God: Jewish Journeys to the Unknowable, Elliot Dorff

Sacred Fragments, Neil Gillman

Searching for Meaning in Midrash, Michael Katz and Gershon Schwartz

Swimming in the Sea of Talmud, Michael Katz and Gershon Schwartz

Teaching Your Children About God, David Wolpe

The Way Into Encountering God in Judaism, Neil Gillman

To Life: A Celebration of Jewish Being and Thinking, Harold Kushner

When Bad Things Happen to Good People, Harold Kushner

Who Needs God, Harold Kushner

Torah Study

Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary, edited by David Lieber

How to Read the Bible, Marc Zvi Brettler

The Bedside Torah, Bradley Artson

The Contemporary Torah: A Gender-Sensitive Adaptation of the JPS Translation, edited by David S. Stein

The Five Books of Moses: A Translation with Commentary, Robert Alter

The Jewish Study Bible, edited by Adele Berlin, Marc Zvi Brettler and Michael Fishbane

The Modern Men’s Torah Commentary, edited by Jeffrey Salkin

The Torah: A Women’s Commentary, edited by Tamara Cohen and Andrea Weiss

Transformation of Synagogues

Becoming A Congregation of Learners by Isa Aron

Rethinking Synagogues: A New Vocabulary for Congregational Life, Lawrence Hoffman

Synagogues In A Time of Change, Zachary Heller

The Self-Renewing Congregation, Isa Aron

The Spirituality of Welcoming, How To Transform Your Community Into A Sacred Congregation, Ron Wolfson

This House We Build: Lessons for Healthy Synagogues and the People Who Dwell There, Terry Bookman and Bill Kahn