What books do you turn to for education, ideas, and inspiration? There are so many out there, and what each person needs is different. Here are just a few of my favorites (Jewish version – secular to come, bli neder).
How does SHE Manage?: Four Very Different Women Swap Ideas on Managing Home and Family, by Yael Wiesner. This is a relatively new book that looks at four different kinds of Jewish women and how they run their homes. It’s written as a conversation with each women contributing their ideas to different aspects of running a household, from laundry to spirituality. I find a little of myself in each of the characters and liked the multiple approaches so every reader can find their own solution.
How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household, by Blu Greenberg: If you are learning about Jewish observance, on your way, or maybe even a veteran, this is a good read. It’s a little outdated, but I have referred to it over the years. It’s written in a down-to-earth way, and gives some good insights.
The Blessings of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children, by Wendy Mogel. This is a parenting book written from a culturally Jewish perspective. It’s got some really good things to think about in it, and it’s a pretty easy read. Some of these lessons are very inspiring!
Strength and Dignity, by Naomi Zirkind. This is a collection of writings from the author introducing excerpts from the Lubavitcher Rebbe. It’s organized parsha by parsha, and even though I’m not Lubavitch and not all of it is relevant to me, I still find this interesting and quick – the chapters are just a few pages.
I would love a more in depth book with parsha inspired learning for women (and by in-depth, I mean more like 10-15 pages a week, not a 400 page brick). Does anyone know of anything like that?
If you are looking to read online, here is a link to some recommended in the comments: Ner Nechoma. These are online books by an inspirational Lubavitch shlucha, with good information for anyone, whether you are Lubavitch or not (just skip what doesn’t apply).
And of course, what Jewish book list would be complete without some cookbooks? Here are my two specifically Jewish favorites:
Olive Trees and Honey, by Gil Marks. This is an amazing journey through traditional vegetarian Jewish foods from all around the world. It’s got interesting ways to deal with all different kinds of vegetables and tons of variations. It’s my go to book for pretty much anything that’s not meat.
Spice and Spirit: The Complete Kosher Jewish Cookbook, by Esther Blau, Tzirrel Deitsch, and Cherna Light . (Also known as the Purple Cookbook.) This is a staple for Jewish basics as well as tips and tricks about a kosher kitchen and life. During one of my Sheva Brachot dinners shortly after our wedding, I discovered this cookbook when I asked for a recipe (that was Sweet and Sour Meatballs, p 214, and still beloved here). And since I hadn’t cooked a lot of the foods my (new!) dh liked, I turned to this tome for help.
Some recommendations from Facebook (you like OJH on Facebook, right?) are biographies or memoirs. Any specific suggestions?
In the comments (below – did you check them out?), I learned about a new book called It’s About Time: The Guide to Successful Jewish Homemaking, by Nechama Berg (Buy new on Artscroll.com or used on Amazon.) Sounds interesting, and it’s going on my wishlist!
I would LOVE your input here. What are your favorite Jewish books?