Books

We recommend the following works of non-fiction, fiction, poetry, and cookbooks that explore the intersection of race, ethnicity, and Judaism.

Please note: Children's books are collected on their own page and can be found here.

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Black, White, and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self

The Civil Rights movement brought author Alice Walker and lawyer Mel Leventhal together, and in 1969 their daughter, Rebecca, was born. Some saw this unusual copper-colored girl as an outrage or an oddity; others viewed her as a symbol of harmony, a triumph of love over hate. But after her parents divorced, leaving her a lonely only child ferrying between two worlds that only seemed to grow further apart, Rebecca was no longer sure what she represented. In this book, Rebecca Leventhal Walker attempts to define herself as a soul instead of a symbol—and offers a new look at the challenge of personal identity, in a story at once strikingly unique and truly universal.

How Jews Became White Folks and What That Says About Race in America

The history of Jews in the United States is one of racial change that provides useful insights on race in America. Prevailing classifications have sometimes assigned Jews to the white race and at other times have created an off-white racial designation for them. Those changes in racial assignment have shaped the ways American Jews of different eras have constructed their ethnoracial identities. Brodkin illustrates these changes through an analysis of her own family's multigenerational experience. She shows how Jews experience a kind of double vision that comes from racial middleness: on the one hand, marginality wit regard to whiteness; on the other, whiteness and belonging with regard to blackness.

JewAsian: Race, Religion, and Identity for America’s Newest Jews

JewAsian is a qualitative examination of the intersection of race, religion, and ethnicity in the increasing number of households that are Jewish American and Asian American. Helen Kiyong Kim and Noah Samuel Leavitt’s book explores the larger social dimensions of intermarriages to explain how these particular unions reflect not only the identity of married individuals but also the communities to which they belong.

Judaisms: A Twenty-First-Century Introduction to Jews and Jewish Identities

What does it mean to be a Jew in the twenty-first century? Exploring the multifaceted and intensely complicated characteristics of this age-old, ever-changing community, Judaisms examines how Jews are a culture, ethnicity, nation, nationality, race, and religion. With each chapter revolving around a single theme—Narratives, Sinais, Zions, Messiahs, Laws, Mysticisms, Cultures, Movements, Genocides, Powers, Borders, and Futures—this introductory textbook interrogates readers’ understanding of the Jewish community. Written for a new mode of teaching—one that recognizes the core role that identity formation plays in our lives—this book weaves together alternative, marginalized voices to illustrate how Jews have always been in the process of reshaping their customs, practices, and beliefs. Judaisms is the first book to assess and summarize Jewish history from the time of the Hebrew Bible through today using multiple perspectives.

Lovesong: Becoming a Jew

"Lovesong" is the moving account of a life and a spiritual odyssey, of a major writer's path from his boyhood as the son of a black Methodist minister in the South to his conversion to Judaism.

The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York

A monumental work that traces the development of both Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jewish communities and their cuisine over the centuries. The 800 magnificent recipes, many never before documented, represent treasures garnered bu Roden through nearly 15 years of traveling around the world.

Yarmulkes & Fitted Caps

In this ground-breaking collection of poems, Samuels examines the beauty and contradictions of his own mixed identity with gut-wrenching narratives, humor, and passionate verve.