The Best Books for Hanukkah, recommended by Dara Horn

Hanukkah means ‘a dedication’ and the celebration of the Jewish holiday towards the end of every year commemorates the success of the Jewish revolt against the Seleucid Empire and the re-consecration of the Temple of Jerusalem in the second century BCE. Here, award-winning novelist Dara Horn recommends books that speak to the powerful themes of Hanukkah and explains why Jewish people are encouraged to light menorahs publicly around the world.

Allegra Goodman recommends the best Jewish Fiction

Jewish literature doesn’t have to be written by Jews, says the novelist, but it does have to speak to the Jewish experience. She tells us about the Jewish writing, from Chaim Potok to George Eliot, that means the most to her.

The best books on Jewish Humour, recommended by Ruth Wisse

Ruth Wisse, Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Comparative Literature Emerita at Harvard and author of No Joke: Making Jewish Humour, identifies Tevye the Dairyman as the first standup comic and Sigmund Freud as Jewish humour’s greatest analyst.

The best books on Jewish Vienna, recommended by Brigid Grauman

In the late 19th and early 20th century, Vienna had a vibrant intellectual and cultural life, embraced and at times led by key figures in its large Jewish community. All that would disappear with the rise of anti-Semitism and the Anschluss. Many Jews fled or committed suicide. Others were deported to concentration camps. After the war some went back, but Vienna would never be the same. Here Brigid Grauman, whose father’s family were assimilated Jews from Vienna, recommends books that evoke that poignant, tragic period that ended with World War II.

The best books on The Bible, recommended by Nicholas King

The Bible is not always an easy read—nor is it always obvious how or where to start reading it. Here, Nicholas King, a Jesuit priest and biblical scholar, chooses five books to help you start getting to grips with what is, arguably, the world’s all-time bestselling book.