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Jewish Books: 18 Essential Texts Every Jew Should Read

First Posted: 10/24/2011 2:49 pm   Updated: 12/24/2011 4:12 am

Jews are known as the "People of the Book" for good reason. The Torah, otherwise known as the Hebrew Bible, has inspired debate and sparked imaginations for thousands of years, and the Talmud is itself an imaginative compendium of Jewish legal debate. Throughout the centuries, reflections and commentaries on these texts have continually expanded and transformed the way Jews understand their religion, their history and the possibilities of their future.

Given how much has been written by Jews, for Jews on the subject of Judaism, we thought it would be good to get guidance on where those looking for quintessential Jewish knowledge and wisdom should start. We asked some of our Jewish bloggers to submit their top picks for books that every Jew should read. From the good Five Books and the wisdom of the Sages to mystical musings and a feminist Jewish treatise, this list spans the ages and tastes of Jewish thought. But it is by no means comprehensive. That's one debate we don't wish to ignite.

What's your favorite Jewish book? Send us your suggestion at religion@huffingtonpost.com, and we may add it to the list.

Tanakh (The Hebrew Bible)
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Specifically Genesis/Exodus and Kings 1 and 2. The first to appreciate the Jewish dream for a perfect world, the second to appreciate how messy and complicated it is when you use real political and military power in pursuit of that dream. (The Tanakh was picked by Brad Hirschfield)
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Filed by Josh Fleet  |