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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A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr

These prohetic words, uttered the day before his assassination, challenged those he left behind to see that his "promised land" of racial equality became a reality; a reality to which King devoted the last twelve years of his life.

Abayudaya: The Jews of Uganda

Told with captivating images and haunting music, here is the remarkable story of a group of rural African people who converted to Judaism eighty years ago and, despite ensuing hardships, have stuck by their faith. Abayudaya features 100 full–color photographs and a CD filled with powerful music and songs.

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.

Bukharan Jews and the Dynamics of Global Judaism (Indiana Series in Sephardi and Mizrahi Studies)

Part ethnography, part history, and part memoir, this volume chronicles the complex past and dynamic present of an ancient Mizrahi community. While intimately tied to the Central Asian landscape, the Jews of Bukhara have also maintained deep connections to the wider Jewish world. As the community began to disperse after the fall of the Soviet Union, Alanna E. Cooper traveled to Uzbekistan to document Jewish life before it disappeared.

Chinese Jews

A compilation of matters relating to the Jews of Kʻai-fêng Fu.

Einstein on Race and Racism

Nearly fifty years after his death, Albert Einstein remains one of America's foremost cultural icons.

Encyclopedia of the Jewish Diaspora: Origins, Experiences, and Culture 1st Edition

See "Jews of Kaifeng, China" (2009) pages (1160-1167). "Jews in China" (2009) pages (1155-1159). "Jews in Shanghai"(2009) pages (1172-1176). "Jews in China"(2009) pages (1182-1185).

Farewell Espana: The World Of The Sephardim Remembered

They number barely a million today, less than one-tenth of the world Jewish population. But long ago, on Iberian soil, they were the magisters of their people, and the leaven of Mediterranean civilization altogether.

From Abraham to Obama: A History of Jews, Africans and African Americans

This book is a long awaited work on discovering and re-discovering the long standing relations, at times warm and supportive, and at other times, conflicted and troubled linkages between Jews and African Americans in the context of American history.

From Empire to Empire: Jerusalem Between Ottoman and British Rule (Space, Place and Society)

The history of Jerusalem as traditionally depicted is the quintessential history of conflict and strife, of ethnic tension, and of incompatible national narratives and visions. It is also a history of dramatic changes and moments, one of the most radical ones being the replacement of the Ottoman regime with British rule in December 1917.

From Sinai to Ethiopia

Some two thousand years ago, a group of Jews settled in Ethiopia and was for millennia cut off from the rest of world Jewry, preserving its heritage with great self-sacrifice. When this community, the Beta Israel, ultimately made its way to Israel to rejoin its brethren in the late twentieth century, a host of complex dilemmas emerged.

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.

Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean: How a Generation of Swashbuckling Jews Carved Out an Empire in the New World in Their Quest for Treasure, Religious Freedom–and Revenge

The tale of an unlikely group of swashbuckling Jews who ransacked the high seas in the aftermath of the Spanish Inquisition. The most adventurous among them took to the seas as freewheeling outlaws. They attacked and plundered the Spanish fleet while forming alliances with other European powers to ensure the safety of Jews living in hiding.

John Offenbach: Jew: A Photographic Project

Some years ago John Offenbach decided to embark on a series of portraits of Jews from different ethnicities, such as those from India and China and Ethiopia. Not just the great and the good, it had to include the homeless Jew, as well as the rich Jew. The incarcerated Jew, and the heroin addict. Offenbach took inspiration from People of the Twentieth Century, the series of portraits of German people of the 1920’s by the Cologne-based photographer August Sander, but unlike Sander, he decided not to include the background or the setting for any of portraits, as he didn’t want this collection to be documentary in style or intention; Half way around the world to each other but surprisingly close.

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.

Race Matters

This classic treatise on race contains Dr. West’s most incisive essays on the issues relevant to black Americans, including the crisis in leadership in the Black community, Black conservatism, Black-Jewish relations, myths about Black sexuality, and the legacy of Malcolm X.

Recipes of My 15 Grandmothers: Unique Recipes and Stories from the Times of the Crypto-Jews during the Spanish Inquisition

Recipes of My 15 Grandmothers is a collection of recipes and stories from the times of the Crypto-Jews who were hiding and pretending to be Catholic during the Spanish Inquisition while practicing their Judaism underground through the present. The grandmothers of the family devised clever ways to disguise the fact that they were still keeping kosher while appearing to be eating pork.

Sephardi Religious Responses to Modernity (The Sherman Lecture Series, Vol. 1)

Norman Stillman's Sephardi Religious Responses to Modernity is a sympathetic attempt to describe religious aspects of the Sephardi and Oriental encounter with "modernity" and the consequences of that encounter.

Shared Dreams: Martin Luther King, Jr and the Jewish Community

Many people are familiar with the story of Jewish support for the American civil rights movement, but this history has another side―one that has not been fully told until now.

Siddur Masorti

Siddur Masorti is the world's first Hebrew-English egalitarian Sefaradi prayerbook! Our first volume features the entire weekday prayer service in a beautiful four-column layout (text, translation, transliteration, commentary). Amongst the prayers you'll find seven custom-made plates of beautiful calligraphic artwork done by Noam Sienna.

The Baghdadi Jews in India: Maintaining Communities, Negotiating Identities and Creating Super-Diversity (Routledge South Asian Religion Series)

This book explores the extraordinary differentiation of the Baghdadi Jewish community over time during their sojourn in India from the end of the eighteenth century until their dispersion to Indian diasporas in Israel and English-speaking countries throughout the world after India gained independence in 1947.

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.

The Color of Love

An unforgettable memoir about a mixed-race Jewish woman who, after fifteen years of estrangement from her racist great-aunt, helps bring her home when Alzheimer’s strikes.

The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South

A renowned culinary historian offers a fresh perspective on our most divisive cultural issue, race, in this illuminating memoir of Southern cuisine and food culture that traces his ancestry—both black and white—through food, from Africa to America and slavery to freedom.

The Jewish Cookbook

A rich trove of contemporary global Jewish cuisine, featuring hundreds of stories and recipes for home cooks everywhere The Jewish Cookbook is an inspiring celebration of the diversity and breadth of this venerable culinary tradition. A true fusion cuisine, Jewish food evolves constantly to reflect the changing geographies and ingredients of its cooks.

The Jews in China

A fascinating photographic record that illustrates four historical migrations of Jews to China: Yuan dynasty Jews in Kaifeng, mid-nineteenth century Baghdadi merchants in Shanghai, early twentieth century migrants from Russia, and mid twentieth century refugees from Nazi Germany. Black and white photographs, Chinese and English commentary throughout.

The Seventh Heaven: Travels Through Jewish Latin America (Pitt Latin American Series)

Internationally renowned essayist and cultural commentator Ilan Stavans spent five years traveling from across a dozen countries in Latin America, in search of what defines the Jewish communities in the region, whose roots date back to Christopher Columbus’s arrival. In the tradition of V.S. Naipaul’s explorations of India, the Caribbean, and the Arab World, he came back with an extraordinarily vivid travelogue.

Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement

The son of an Alabama sharecropper, and now a sixth-term United States Congressman, John Lewis has led an extraordinary life, one that found him at the epicenter of the civil rights movement in the late '50s and '60s.

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.