Gather the Jews is proud to present our DC communal mini-library! This is a resource for anyone interested in picking up some new reading material – at no charge.
Stop by our North Dupont office to check out our selection or even to just hang out!
Is there a book here that you think would be a great addition to our collection? Let us know in the comments below…
The Bedside Torah guides you into the wisdom, counsel, and holiness of the sacred text that is the center of Jewish spirituality. Rabbi Bradley Artson, one of the truly inspirational and knowledgeable teachers of Torah of our time, weaves together the insights of ancient rabbis and sages, medieval commentators and philosophers, and modern scholars and religious leaders. The reflections in this collection offer three different commentaries on each of the 50 Torah portions, enlightening you into the Torah’s infinite layers of meaning and offering opportunities to discover interpretations of your own.
54 leading Jewish writers, artists, photographers, and screenwriters, plus actors, an architect, a musician, and more grapple with the first five books of the Bible, giving new meaning to the 54 Torah portions. Edited by Roger Bennett, one of the founders of Reboot, UNSCROLLED is a gathering of engaging, diverse voices that will speak to anyone interested in Jewish culture and identity. In stories, poems, memoirs, plays, infographics—plus a Web search, a graphic novel, and a psychiatric transcript—it offers a fresh take on the Torah, its value, and its place in our lives.
Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the most familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis that are about her father, Jacob, and his dozen sons. Told in Dinah’s voice, this novel reveals the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood–the world of the red tent. It begins with the story of her mothers–Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah–the four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that sustain her through a hard-working youth, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land. Dinah’s story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate connection with the past. Deeply affecting, The Red Tent combines rich storytelling with a valuable achievement in modern fiction: a new view of biblical women’s society.
Weaving together Jewish lore, the voices of Jewish foremothers, Yiddish fable, Midrash and stories of her own imagining, Ellen Frankel has created in this book a breathtakingly vivid exploration into what the Torah means to women. Here are Miriam, Esther, Dinah, Lilith and many other women of the Torah in dialogue with Jewish daughters, mothers, and grandmothers, past and present. Together these voices examine and debate every aspect of a Jewish woman’s life — work, sex, marriage, her connection to God and her place in the Jewish community and in the world. The Five Books of Miriam makes an invaluable contribution to Torah study and adds a rich dimension to the ongoing conversation between Jewish women and Jewish tradition.
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl’s theory-known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos (“meaning”)-holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.
Called “enriching” and “profoundly moving” by Elie Wiesel, The Jewish Way is a comprehensive and inspiring presentation of Judaism as revealed through its holy days.
In thoughtful and engaging prose, Rabbi Irving Greenberg explains and interprets the origin, background, interconnections, ceremonial rituals, and religious significance of all the Jewish holidays, including Passover, Yom Kippur, Purim, Hanukkah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, and Israeli Independence Day. Giving detailed instructions for observance—the rituals, prayers, foods, and songs—he shows how celebrating the holy days of the Jewish calendar not only relives Jewish history but puts one in touch with the basic ideals of Judaism and the fundamental experience of life.
In Putting God Second, Rabbi Donniel Hartman tackles one of modern life’s most urgent and vexing questions: Why are the great monotheistic faiths—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—chronically unable to fulfill their own self-professed goal of creating individuals infused with moral sensitivity and societies governed by the highest ethical standards?
To answer this question, Hartman takes a sober look at the moral peaks and valleys of his own tradition, Judaism, and diagnoses it with clarity, creativity, and erudition. He rejects both the sweeping denouncements of those who view religion as an inherent impediment to moral progress and the apologetics of fundamentalists who proclaim religion’s moral perfection against all evidence to the contrary.
In this compassionate and deeply personal work, Rabbi Harold S. Kushner distils his experiences as a twenty-first-century rabbi into nine essential takeaways. Offering readers a lifetime’s worth of spiritual food for thought, pragmatic advice, and strength for trying times, he gives fresh, vital insight into belief, conscience, mercy, and more. Grounded in Kushner’s brilliant readings of scripture, history, and popular culture, Nine Essential Things I’ve Learned About Life is practical, illuminating, and compulsory advice for living a good life.
Mussar is an illuminating, approachable, and highly practical set of teachings for cultivating personal growth and spiritual realization in the midst of day-to-day life. Here is an accessible and inspiring introduction to this Jewish spiritual path, which until lately has been best known in the world of Orthodox Judaism. The core teaching of Mussar is that our deepest essence is inherently pure and holy, but this inner radiance is obscured by extremes of emotion, desire, and bad habits. Our work in life is to uncover the brilliant light of the soul. The Mussar masters developed transformative teachings and practices—some of which are contemplative, some of which focus on how we relate to others in daily life—to help us to heal and refine ourselves.
At thirteen, Danya Ruttenberg decided she was an atheist. As a young adult, she immersed herself in the rhinestone-bedazzled wonderland of late 1990s San Francisco-drinking smuggled absinthe with wealthy geeks and plotting the revolution with feminist zine makers. But she found herself yearning for something she would eventually call God.
Surprised by God is a memoir of a young woman’s spiritual awakening and eventual path to the rabbinate, a story of integrating life on the edge of the twenty-first century into the discipline of traditional Judaism, without sacrificing either. It’s also an unflinchingly honest guide to the kind of work that goes into developing a spiritual practice-and it shows why, perhaps, doing this in today’s world requires more effort than ever.
For too long, Jews have defined themselves in light of the bad things that have happened to them. And it is true that, many times in the course of history, they have been nearly decimated: when the First and Second Temples were destroyed, when the Jews were expelled from Spain, when Hitler proposed his Final Solution. Astoundingly, the Jewish people have survived catastrophe after catastrophe and remained a thriving and vibrant community. The question Rabbi Jonathan Sacks asks is, quite simply: How? How, in the face of such adversity, has Judaism remained and flourished, making a mark on human history out of all proportion to its numbers?
Joseph B. Soloveitchik, the rabbi known as “The Rav” by his followers worldwide, was a leading authority on the meaning of Jewish law and prominent force in building bridges between traditional Orthodox Judaism and the modern world. In The Lonely Man of Faith, a soaring, eloquent essay first published in Tradition magazine in 1965, Soloveitchik investigates the essential loneliness of the person of faith in our narcissistic, materially oriented, utilitarian society.
A Code of Jewish Ethics, Volume 1: You Shall Be Holy is the initial volume of the first major code of Jewish ethics to be written in the English language. It is a monumental work on the vital topic of personal character and integrity by one of the premier Jewish scholars and thinkers of our time.
With the stated purpose of restoring ethics to its central role in Judaism, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin offers hundreds of examples from the Torah, the Talmud, rabbinic commentaries, and contemporary stories to illustrate how ethical teachings can affect our daily behavior. The subjects dealt with are ones we all encounter. They include judging other people fairly; knowing when forgiveness is obligatory, optional, or forbidden; balancing humility and self-esteem; avoiding speech that shames others; restraining our impulses of envy, hatred, and revenge; valuing truth but knowing when lying is permitted; understanding why God is the ultimate basis of morality; and appreciating the great benefits of Torah study. Telushkin has arranged the book in the traditional style of Jewish codes, with topical chapters and numbered paragraphs. Statements of law are almost invariably followed by anecdotes illustrating how these principles have been, or can be, practiced in daily life. The book can be read straight through to provide a solid grounding in Jewish values, consulted as a reference when facing ethical dilemmas, or studied in a group.
A Code of Jewish Ethics, Volume 2: Love Your Neighbor as Yourself is a consummate work of scholarship. Like its acclaimed predecessor, which received the National Jewish Book Award, it is rich with ideas to contemplate and discuss, while being primarily a book to live by. Nothing could be more important in these strife-torn times than learning how to love our neighbors as ourselves. The message of this book is as vital and timely now as it has been since time immemorial.